Foreign Policy magazine is not a tabloid publication given to bizarre flights of fancy. It is not “The Onion”, reveling in shaking things up with outrageous imagined headlines.
As noted on Wikipedia, “Contributors for Foreign Policy include former US diplomat Peter Galbraith, Pulitzer Prize-winning military reporter Tom Ricks, international bestseller Stephen Walt, blogger Daniel Drezner, former Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks, Condoleezza Rice's longtime chief speechwriter Christian Brose, 9/11 Commission director Philip Zelikow, ex-senior White House aide Peter Feaver, top Pentagon official Dov Zakheim, John McCain's foreign policy adviser Steve Biegun, award-winning journalist David Bosco, and Washington journalist Josh Rogin (who specializes in investigative reports on national security and foreign policy).”
Therefore I was somewhat taken aback when their web edition published an article yesterday titled, “Exclusive: The Pentagon Has a Plan to Stop the Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously.”
The article was subtitled, “Everything you need to know about the U.S. military’s defense strategy to protect humanity from the walking dead.”
The article’s author, Gordon Lubold, observes “Incredibly, the Defense Department has a response if zombies attacked and the armed forces had to eradicate flesh-eating walkers in order to ‘preserve the sanctity of human life’ among all the ‘non-zombie humans.’”
He proceeds to note that, “Buried on the military's secret computer network is an unclassified document, obtained by Foreign Policy, called ‘CONOP 8888.’ It's a zombie survival plan, a how-to guide for military planners trying to isolate the threat from a menu of the undead -- from chicken zombies to vegetarian zombies and even "evil magic zombies" -- and destroy them.”
What, you fans of “The Walking Dead” may ask, is a chicken zombie?
The Foreign Policy article provides an answer.
Under "Zombie Threat Summary," the plan highlights the different kinds of zombie adversaries one might find in such an attack. They include not only vegetarian zombies ("zombie life forms originating from any cause but pose no direct threat to humans because they only eat plant life"); evil magic zombies ("EMZs are zombie life forms created via some form of occult experimentation in what might otherwise be referred to as 'evil magic'"); and also chicken zombies.
"Although it sounds ridiculous, this is actually the only proven class of zombie that actually exists," the plan states. So-called "CZs" occur when old hens that can no longer lay eggs are euthanized by farmers with carbon monoxide, buried, and then claw their way back to the surface. "CZs are simply terrifying to behold and are likely only to make people become vegetarians in protest to animal cruelty," CONOP 8888 notes.
The DOD, however, does not limit its response plan to this limited scope of proven zombie types.
The catalog of the walking dead also includes zombies that come from outer space; those deliberately created by Frankensteinian bio-engineers; and humans that have been invaded by a pathogen that turns them into zombies.
The plan reviews, extensively, the various phases of saving the world from zombie rule and reads not unlike the phases of a counterinsurgency campaign: from "shape" to "deter" to "seize initiative" to "dominate" to "stabilize" and, finally, in the final, confidence-building phase, "restore civil authority." That final phase includes the directive to "prepare to redeploy the forces to attack surviving zombie holdouts."
Finally, "[a]s directed by POTUS and SECDEF…provide support to federal, state and tribal agencies' efforts to restore basic services in zombie-related disaster areas."
I would be negligent in reporting on this if I did not include this proviso contained in the report:
Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for Strategic Command, acknowledged the document exists on a "secure Internet site" but took pains to explain that the zombie survival guide is only a creative endeavor for training purposes. "The document is identified as a training tool used in an in-house training exercise where students learn about the basic concepts of military plans and order development through a fictional training scenario," she wrote in an email. "This document is not a U.S. Strategic Command plan."
Right. And Barack Obama isn't a creation sent by Xenu to help Scientology advance its agenda of world domination.