A U.S. Air Force research laboratory proposed in the mid 1990s creating a chemical agent that would stimulate homosexual behavior among enemy troops, but the idea was quickly shot down by the Pentagon, a defense official said Monday. "It was a proposal that essentially came out of a brainstorming session as the best analogy," Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Defense Department
spokesman, told Agence France-Presse. "The proposal was dismissed out of hand."
The comment followed the release of a 1994 document produced by the laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Sunshine Project, an advocacy group, reports AFP. The paper, titled "Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals" suggested developing "chemicals that affect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected." "One distasteful but completely nonlethal example would be strong
aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior," the proposal pointed out.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group, called the proposal "delusional, homophobic, and offensive." "Gays and lesbians serve in the United States armed forces and in the militaries of our closest allies," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. "They do so as part of a formidable fighting force. The assertion that a gay opponent would be somehow less effective in combat is outrageous. No one questioned the battle prowess of Alexander the Great because of his sexual orientation. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network calls on Secretary Rumsfeld to repudiate the prejudicial assertions implied by this proposal."
The Sunshine Project took exception to Pentagon claims the plan had never gotten off the ground, saying it was under consideration as recently as in 2000 and 2001. "These statements are untrue," the group said of the Pentagon denial. "The proposal was not rejected out of hand. It has received further consideration." It said the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate of the Defense Department prepared in 2000 a promotional CD-ROM that sought to spur further development of "nonlethal" weapons and was distributed to other U.S. military and government agencies. The CD-ROM contained ideas from the "Harassing, Annoying, and 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals" document, according to the project. A year after that, the directorate commissioned a study of nonlethal weapons by the National Academies of Science and included the document among papers submitted for consideration, the group said.