June 15, 2007 01:53pm
The US air force's Wright Laboratory in Ohio had asked in 1994 for $US7.5 million to develop a bomb containing a powerful aphrodisiac chemical that would cause "homosexual behaviour" to affect "discipline and morale in enemy units".
The document, obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act, is now drawing scorn and ridicule on the web.
The Department of Defence played down the proposal, which was unearthed by the Sunshine Project, an organisation based in Texas and Germany that monitors research and development of biological weapons.
"The DoD never 'investigated' such a concept, rather one individual provided a short concept paper with a wide variety of examples that was rejected," military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Brian Maka said.
Lt-Col Maka pointed out the idea was one of several proposals for non-lethal weapons, including a chemical product that would make enemies highly sensitive to sunlight, or another that would make bees particularly aggressive and prone to attack humans.
But Edward Hammond, of the Sunshine Project, insists the Pentagon is not being truthful. "These statements are untrue. The proposal was not rejected out of hand. It has received further consideration," he said on the group's web page.
Mr Hammond says the concept was included in a promotional CD-ROM on non-lethal weapons in 2000 and was submitted to the National Academies of Science the following year.
Bloggers are now having a field day with the love weapon.
"If we have a spare gay bomb, why not drop one in the mountains of Afghanistan," asked one blogger, who described himself as a black homosexual living in Washington.
"The idiot who came up with the idea really should be bitchslapped and forced to listen to Judy Garland records for the rest of his life," Ed Brayton wrote on the Huffington Post website.
But not everyone is amused.
"My sense is that the story speaks to the Pentagon's outdated ideas about sexuality, and about the relationship between sexuality and being a good soldier," said Aaron Belkin, a political analyst at the University of California in Santa Barbara.
"To suppose that spraying someone with a chemical can make them gay is ludicrous, and to suppose that making someone gay will turn them into a bad soldier is ludicrous as well," Mr Belkin said.
In March, General Peter Pace, the chairman of the armed forces' joint chiefs of staff called homosexuality "immoral" in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that stirred renewed controversy and rekindled debate over legislation allowing homosexuals in the military as long as they don't discuss their sexual orientation.
A Democratic motion calls for a reform of the, so called, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" legislation adopted in 1993 under then-president Bill Clinton.