Robot warriors

robot dogNow, I know that you are a tactical genius and you would never engage in a war in a foreign country against an enemy who was never a threat with:

  • far too few troops,
  • an army mostly consisting of accountants and shelf-packers who thought they were signing up for a couple of weekends playing with guns in the mud back home,
  • about enough armour, weapons, and support to withstand a direct attack by the girl guides, but not from two sides at once,
  • intelligence derived mainly from interpreting the works of Nostradamus and taking every 666th letter from the Bible and rearranging them,
  • soldiers who steadfastly refuse to not get attacked, maimed, and killed at every opportunity.

Sadly, this sort of decision-making savvy takes years of experience to ignore when you’re in the U.S. military command structure and too afraid to question ridiculous orders from above.

Luckily, with the death toll of American soldiers currently standing at over one thousand four hundred and an official wounded figure slightly under ten and a half thousand, the magical line has been crossed that has finally seen those at the top of the chain of command decide to act in very nearly the best interests of their people.

Negotiated withdrawal? Er, no. More troops! Not quite. Suppress all the bad news from the Middle East while running away? Oh, if only. Don’t say robots.

It’s robots.

There are benefits to using robots. A robot with missing wheels doesn’t make people feel quite so sad as a young soldier with half a head; it does make toasters cry though. There are no systems in place to deal with robots deliberately shooting civilians, or torturing and raping relatives of captives which is good for avoiding tricky bad publicity issues. Robots don’t have any rights to expect pensions either which, admittedly, will probably put them on a level with the human soldiers, but at least you can factor in cost-saving now and that pleases shareholders. On the negative side robots are more likely to be simply stolen and broken apart for scrap. That rarely happens with your typical squaddie.

The first robots will be based around the bomb-disposal models. It’s an obvious first step but it won’t be long until necessary improvements are required.

Aibo: Fighting Dogbot!

If you want robots built then you need to look to NASA. If you want your robot to actually work then you need to look to the Japanese.

The Aibo Fighting Dogbot is designed to more easily blend into its environment than the Short Circuit lookalike it will replace. Of course, I’m assuming that the landscape of Iraq is dotted with small, robotic dogs walking slowly, turning their heads, and randomly issuing an oriental impression of "woof" because, if not, then it will probably stick out like a sore thumb. Wait, that’s no good; there are plenty of sore thumbs in Iraq. It will probably stick out like a small, robotic dog in a Middle Eastern country.

Despite the obvious advantage of a twelve month return-to-base manufacturer’s warranty there is another downside to this model: dogs are generally poor shots with semi-automatic weaponry. Man’s best friend? I don’t think so.

twikiTwiki, Mini Warrior

Do you remember when Twiki and Dr Theopolis followed Buck aboard Princess Ardala’s ship because they thought Buck was a spy? I think it was the feature-length episode where Buck also "danced" to some horrible future disco-rock fusion showing off every single curve of his paunch in that oh-so-flattering white jumpsuit three sizes too small so you can probably be forgiven for erasing it from your mind. Anyway, Twiki steals Buck’s gun at one point and threatens him with it. Buck, being none-too-bright, fails to spot that Twiki has no fingers and thus no way to actually pull the trigger and rather than simply slapping Twiki upsides the head (as 25th century manners dictate) wastes precious seconds persuading his two captors that he’s really a good guy, honest.

We can see that Twiki would be as effective as Aibo, Fighting Dogbot, when it comes to ballistic weapons but that wouldn’t stop him holding a knife making him far superior to his canine predecessor.

Other improvements include: may be mistaken for a golden child-God (this assumes Iraqis are predominantly made up of tribesmen who have spent their whole lives secluded from mankind high up in the Andes and may or may not be an accurate representation of reality); may persuade Colonel Wilma Deering to entertain what’s left of the troops; will not leave small, robotic dog shit around the place.

On the minus side Twiki has proven himself to become attached to overwight men dressed in white which might mean he could end up working for Saudi Arabia instead (note for any sheikhs who may read this: I wasn’t referring to you. I was referring to another fat sheikh. Thankyou.)

C-3PO The Gay Automaton!

C-3PO does have fingers which makes him yet another improvement in the evolutionary stages of robotic warfare (disclaimer: evolution is a theory, like gravity, and jam, and the theory that says heavy trucks squash people who step in front of them, and that one that claims Christians aren’t all toe-sucking morons, and, as such, may be freely ignored. At your peril!)

So, C-3PO can finally pick up a weapon and shoot it which should, at last, put the fear of God into the Iraqi rebels. And, if not, he can bore them to tears with tales of heroic uses of the phrase "Oh my!"

Still, with his alleged intelligence, there is a danger that C-3PO could turn on his masters and try to wipe them out. He could do that. He was this close to karate-chopping Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. Decided to be the bigger man though.

Thinking soldiers is not what the army wants – I learnt that from Biloxi Blues – which makes it highly likely that this latest non-human weapon in the War To Fund Defence Companies won’t last long before it too is superceded.

Ann Coulter Attackonoid

At first glance Ann Coulter does not appear to be a robot: she appears to be a somewhat not completely unattractive blonde woman. But peel back the skin (note: does not advocate the peeling back of Ann Coulter’s skin in case she isn’t a robot. She might be one of those aliens from ‘V’ and we accept no responsibility for your subsequent coccooning) and you just might find that under that smooth, white exterior there lives a smooth, white, metallic creature devoid of empathy and eager to further the causes of the right wing mental no-hopers. You possibly won’t find that at all. I’m just saying you might. That’s all.

Assuming she is a piece of high-tech machinery (emotionless, check!, women can’t figure her out, check!, rusts when left outside, unsure!) then it’s pretty clear that the Ann Coulter Attackonoid is the ultimate fighting weapon. Technically, I’m in a country with a "special relationship" with the United States and she scares the living crap out of me. If I was an Iraqi mujahideen and witnessed the spawness of the Republican party appear in my country armed with an army-issue rifle I can pretty much guarantee turning to a life of hermitage or taking my own life as an easy way out.

People of Iraq: be afraid. Be very afraid.

Author: Mark

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