a chemical weapon which makes enemy soldiers sexually attracted to one another
‘The Gay Bomb, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed yesterday, was a real proposal – an idea floated by Air Force researchers to render enemy troops ineffective by rendering them homosexual.’
In January 2005, it was revealed that the US military had in recent years investigated building one of the most bizarre types of weapon ever conceived – a concoction of hormonal chemicals unofficially coined the gay bomb. The gay bomb, also known as the love bomb, is an ‘aphrodisiac’ chemical weapon intended to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to one another. The idea was that promoting widespread homosexual behaviour among troops would disrupt enemy discipline, providing a blow to morale described as ‘distasteful but completely non-lethal’.
the expression gay bomb seems likely to be ephemeral
The Pentagon had also considered various other non-lethal chemical weapons as a means of influencing human behaviour so that discipline and morale in enemy units were adversely affected. Among them was the sting me/attack me weapon, designed to attract swarms of enraged wasps or angry rats to enemy troop positions, making them uninhabitable. Another possibility was the development of a chemical which caused ‘severe and lasting halitosis’ or in other words, foul-smelling breath, so that enemy forces would be obvious when they tried to blend in with civilians. A substance which made the skin painfully sensitive to sunlight was also considered.
The expression gay bomb seems likely to be ephemeral. The Pentagon have been quick to point out that this is not an official term, and that there are no plans for further development of this kind of chemical weapon.
Pentagon plan for make love, not war, with ‘gaybomb’
US:The Pentagon has admitted that it considered a proposal to love-bomb enemy troops with an aphrodisiac that would turn them gay and encourage uncontrolled sexual activity. Chemical weapons researchers believed that, after being sprayed with the chemical, enemy soldiers would be so busy making love in mass gay orgies that they would stop fighting.
"The Department of Defence is committed to identifying, researching and developing non-lethal weapons that will support our men and women in uniform," said a Pentagon spokeswoman, who added that the "gay bomb" proposal was quickly dismissed.
A 1994 document identifies a number of proposals for "non-lethal" weapons from an Air Force laboratory in Ohio, including a chemical that would make bees angry and cause them to sting the enemy.
The lab asked for $7.5 million to develop the "gay bomb" as part of a plan for "harassing, annoying and ‘bad guy’ identifying chemicals".
Edward Hammond of The Sunshine Project, who uncovered the proposal, insists that the "gay bomb" idea was taken more seriously than the Pentagon admits.
"The truth of the matter is it would have never come to my attention if it was dismissed at the time it was proposed. In fact, the Pentagon has used it repeatedly and subsequently in an effort to promote non-lethal weapons, and in fact, they submitted it to the highest scientific review body in the country for them to consider," he said.
The idea that making soldiers gay would prevent them from doing their job is consistent with the US policy of forbidding openly gay soldiers from serving.
It is contradicted, however, by the evidence of military history – from Achilles and Patroclus in ancient Greece to thousands of fighting men and women in armies throughout the world today.
Background – gay bomb or love bomb
The gay bomb formed part of a 1994 proposal by the US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio. The laboratory sought Pentagon funding for a 6-year project, costing a potential $7.5m, which would research the development of ‘harassing, annoying and bad-guy identifying chemicals’.
In fact, the idea of using chemical weapons to cause behavioural disruption is not particularly new. As far back as 1945, government papers reveal that a very large scale stink bomb was considered, nicknamed the Who me? Bomb, which would make enemy living quarters unpleasant places to be. This idea was later abandoned because, according to the government papers: ‘people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis’.
This article was first published on 26th September 2005.