23
Okt
2004

Superhero of the Military-Industrial Complex

Captain America

Superhero of the Military-Industrial Complex

Remote-Controlled super-soldiers whose human-ness has been all but banished

By using high technology and cutting edge biomedicine, the military hopes to create an entire army of Captain Americas -- a fighting force devoid of "Steve Rogers" or any other "Joe Average," and made up instead of super-soldiers whose human-ness has been all but banished. Monkeys, with electrodes implanted in their brains, have already been taught to use thought-power to do such things as move a robotic arm. But why stop there? A few years back, DARPA scientists succeeded in creating a "ratbot" --a living, breathing rat with electrodes implanted in its brain that could be controlled using a laptop computer. Today, DARPA researchers, not exactly heading up the evolutionary scale but evidently proceeding toward larger sized natural fighting machines, are working on a remote-controlled shark. And how long will it be until some researcher gets the bright idea of a remote-controlled soldier; short-circuiting free will altogether? The technology isn't there yet, but what happens when it is? Even if you never read the comic book or watched the hopelessly low-production-value 1960s cartoon, chances are you've at least seen the image of Captain America -- the slightly ridiculous looking superhero in a form-fitting, star-spangled bodysuit. If you're still hazy on "Cap," he was Steve Rogers, a 4-F weakling during World War II who, through the miracle of "modern science" (a "super soldier serum") became an Axis-smashing powerhouse -- the pinnacle of human physical perfection and the ultimate American fighting-man. In the 1940s comic, Rogers had taken part in a super-soldier experiment, thanks to the interventions of an Army general and a scientist in a secret government laboratory. He was to be the first of many American super-soldiers, but due to poor note-keeping methods and the efforts of a Nazi assassin, he became the sole recipient of the serum. Today, however, the dream of Captain America turns out to be alive and well -- and lodged in the Pentagon. The U.S. military aims to succeed where those in the four-color comic book world failed. By using high technology and cutting edge biomedicine, the military hopes to create an entire army of Captain Americas-- a fighting force devoid of "Steve Rogers" or any other "Joe Average," and made up instead of super-soldiers whose human-ness has been all but banished.

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=11&ItemID=6421


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