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gay bomb also love bomb

noun [countable]

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.'

Boston Herald 15th January 2005

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.

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'.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 26th September 2005.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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