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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Change of status of this site

I have decided not to post any other posts on this site. This is not to say that I am closing this site down, but rather will leave this site up as the archive of the earlier posts. For new posts, go to the new Military History Blog and check out the new features. As always, thank you for your readership and support.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A "Gay Bomb" proposed in late '90s

Leave it to the Air Force to come up with this concept. Usually this site's posts will be of a more serious and historical nature, but this was just too good to pass up.

Imagine you are fighting in a battle against a large enemy force. The force is so large that you decide to call in air support. The aircraft flies over and drops its ordinance. Suddenly, the force that was attacking you is now making out in various ways, exhibiting homosexual tendencies and leaving themselves exposed to your fire and eventual defeat. Sounds like something out of a odd science fiction thriller, right? Not exactly.

According to an article posted on, the Air Force has confirmed a report that in 1994 a researcher requested $7.5 million to develop a non-lethal bomb that would alter brain chemistry, causing the affected to make love. Gives a whole new meaning to "make love, not war."

The request was denied and no money was spent on this project. The idea was part of the military's effort to develop non-lethal weapons. Other ideas mentioned in the article included using chemicals to draw creatures like stinging bugs to the enemy position, as well as make them more aggressive.

The report was exposed via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by the Sunshine Project, which is a watchdog group that tracks military spending.

This article raises serious questions regarding the development and use of non-lethal weapons for the battlefield. In today's era of UAVs and other vehicles that are un-manned, it is interesting to see such a dubious proposal for a non-lethal weapon. One wonders if such a weapon was possible (perhaps this is why the request was denied). In addition, what other crazy non-lethal and lethal weapons were proposed but never acted on that are waiting for FOIA requests to uncover?

While the idea of defeating enemies without killing them is noble, we must remember that "war is hell." In order to effectively defeat an enemy that is trying to destroy you, that enemy must be destroyed, or you will wind up in a box six feet under. Thank you to the researcher for coming up with such a unique idea for a weapon and for giving this blog a humorous post. This leads to the creation of the Military History Blog Humor Award. The researcher who proposed the "gay bomb" is given this honor in recognition of their ability to incorporate humor into recent military history, and for the conception of such a dubious idea.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Future of Military History

I have been reading articles from the magazine National Review that were linked by the Military History Foundation website. The articles raise an important issue in academic history, the decline of military history at our institutions of higher education. The articles note how in years past, military history was taught at most colleges and universities in America. These classes dealt with the tactics and operations of the battlefield, as well as the major figures of military history. In addition, these classes were usually the most popular amongst students. Today, many of the scholars who taught these classes have since retired and have n0t been replaced by other military historians. Instead , these scholars have been replaced by social historians, historians who focus on such mundane topics as gender, sexuality (particularly homosexuality), and minorities. The fields that replace military history are often not popular with students, and, do not resinate with the public (military history titles consistently sell well at book retailers). This is not to say that the replacement fields are not important or worthwhile, as there are people interested in those areas, but rather that they are replacing a popular subject that may be the key to enhancing student interest in history and the humanities as a whole.

This raises two questions: What is the future of academic military history and what can be done to remedy the problem? Reading the articles gives one the sense of a bleak future for the field. However, it seems that the field will enjoy popularity in the public realm, which is good. As for what can be done to reverse this trend in the academy, some scholars are working hard on behalf of the field. As noted above, the articles in question came from the website for the Military History Foundation. The creator of the Foundation is Dr. Mark Grimsley, professor of history at The Ohio State University, which has a great program in military history.

The mission statement for the Military History Foundation, according to the website, is as follows:

“The purpose of The Military History Foundation is to advance to field of academic military history by:

educating the academic community
concerning the field and dispelling outmoded negative stereotypes;

promoting the study of military history in colleges and universities by equipping historians in other fields to teach military history and to understand how military history can be integrated into their existing specializations;

fostering greater intellectual exchange between military history and other fields;

increasing the number of dissertation fellowships, post-doctoral fellowships, and faculty positions in military history, creating a synergy that advances the intellectual achievements of the field;

engaging with a wider public to help them use military history as a tool for better understanding issues of war and peace in general, and U.S. national security policy specifically.”

When contacted regarding the Foundation and how one can assist (aside from monetarily), Dr. Grimsley seemed optimistic and was pitching the Foundation to his university. Hopefully, the Foundation will succeed and foster a greater appreciation in academia for military history. While many academic historians are either children of the 1960s anti-war movement, or were taught by them, they must understand that while war is not the answer in most situations, it must be studied and understood to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Furthermore, academic historians must be more accepting of the field, as it is very popular amongst students and if classes do not fill, the professor may wind up unemployed. Military history is a fascinating field worth studying and everyone should do their part to ensure that it has a future. Ensuring the future of the field is as easy as reading this post, or starting a blog of your own, but it can also extend to joining professional organizations for the field and studying history professionally, which is what your humble blogger does. Let us all do our small part and help ensure a future for military history so that our children can learn what we love.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sister site created

I have created a "sister" site for our blog using the same name as this one. It uses the WordPress service and I find it has some options I like, which include having mutiple pages. I will therefore keep this blog up, as it is hard for me to throw away two years of work. I will update both at the same time. I invite you to check out the new Military History Blog. I hope you continue to enjoy both sites, as each has unique features with it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Banners for our blog

I thought I would share with you all a couple of banners I designed for our blog that I plan to use on other sites I belong to so that our blog will gain readers. I invite you to pick which one you like, or design your own and use it. Here they are:

Version 1:

Version 2:

I hope you all use them to bring readers to us.