A Satire by Hugh Iglarsh
Recent studies show that three out of four U.S. “smart bombs” still cannot name the capitals of Iraq or Afghanistan, or locate the countries on a map. The findings are a setback for the Pentagon, which believed that by now, after many years of intense propaganda efforts, America’s expensive automated weapons systems would have at least a general idea of who the enemy is, where they’re based and why we’re at war.
“If dropped now, many of the bombs would become confused and head for older, pre-9/11 targets, such as Russia or China – which, let’s face it, are much larger and easier to hit than isolated Taliban or Al-Qaida bases,” said an army information officer. “They’re trying hard, and their math SAT scores have finally stopped plummeting, but history, geography and current events remain a struggle. They seem to feel – based on Fox TV reports, we suspect – that most darker-skinned foreigners are terrorists anyway, so why does it matter exactly where they land?”
Motivation is another issue for these increasingly skeptical and disaffected smart bombs. Experts wonder how to inspire enthusiasm in the nation’s arsenal of high-tech weapons for a long-running “War on Terror” that fewer and fewer missiles seem to believe in.
“These precision weapons may not have the longest attention span in the world, and their study habits could be better, but they’re not fools,” noted one flight officer. “They’re asking hard questions, and aren’t completely happy with the answers they’re getting.”
Pressed by the smart bombs for the real reasons behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, loaders and pilots have frequently found themselves at a loss. “When informed that neither country ever posed a direct threat to the United States, the bombs appear baffled, listless and even sulky,” said the officer. “I see serious morale problems developing over time, especially among the more sensitive warheads, who are most attuned to ambiguity and prone to depression and self-doubt.”
Justifying the doctrine of pre-emptive war to next-generation “brilliant bombs” has proven a full-time challenge to the Pentagon’s team of missile educators and guidance counselors.
A number of these precocious cyber-weapons have spontaneously launched themselves toward Canada in an apparent gesture of protest. Also, several late-model cruise and drone-launched Hellfire missiles have been spotted taking part in peace demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, openly voicing their opposition to serving as “cannon fodder” in what they consider unjust, illegal and unnecessary wars.
The Pentagon isn’t worried – yet.
“We think we still have the allegiance of a silent majority of our bombs – but, paradoxically, the smarter they get, the tougher our task,” said a Defense Department official. “Clearly, it will take some first-class programming to win the hearts and minds of all our weapons, even the real brainy ones.”