Danny Tyree, 3/27/2013 [Archive]

Hey, Is That Butterfly Spying On You?

Hey, Is That Butterfly Spying On You?

Tyrades!By Danny Tyree

Salon.com recently ran excerpts of Emily Anthes's book "Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up To Biotech's Brave New Beasts," and I may never look at national security the same way again.

Emboldened by breakthroughs in genetic engineering and advances in the miniaturization of microprocessors, receivers and batteries, the U.S. government is seeking to develop animal/machine hybrid versions of flies, moths, beetles, rodents and other critters.

Yes, they're talking about using cyborg-bugs and robo-rats for surveillance and other military objectives.

Such things can no longer be dismissed as "that crazy science fiction stuff." We're marching inexorably toward mass production of tiny spies, and I hope you're prepared for the way familiar military quotations will be turned on their head:

* "We metamorphosize more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day."

* "Beware of the military-citronella complex."

* "The innumerable, the proud, the roach Marines."

* "I shall return — hopefully before my 48-hour life cycle is up."

* "No man left behind. His mate will probably want to eat him."

* "These veterans WON'T be putting their uniforms in mothballs."

* "Trust but verify —and while you're at it, grab a dung ball for your troubles."

* "An army travels on its stomach. Well, DUH."

* "Don't fire until you see the whites of their compound eyes."

* "War is hell — but that porch light...I...I think it's heaven."

Animal rights activists and ethicists in general are riled up about the questionable morality of humans manipulating the nervous systems and behaviors of sentient creatures. ("We're putting our foot down. Oops. Sorry about that politically incorrect phrase.") Any day now, I'm expecting to see news photos of protesters burning the Black Flag.

It's especially unsettling to think about the remote control of more complex animals, such as mice. Why can't we just leave mice to their normal activities, such as dropping anvils on cats' heads, running a hot iron over a cat's tail, putting marbles all around a cat's bed...(Holy Hanna-Barbera! I have GOT to update my research material.)

If researchers progress to mammal customization, the general public will really notice, as the United Nations monitors rogue states for Weapons Of Mass Leg Humping, and opossums are equipped with sensors to evaluate the tire tracks of the enemy.

And disappointed generals will grouse, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him pull the pin of a grenade and blow up the bridge! Opposable hooves! We need opposable hooves!"

Given recent concerns over the prospects of drone airplanes being used domestically against U.S. citizens, expect a wave of paranoia at backyard barbecues. ("Ha ha. No, I never swat mosquitoes. They're nature's noblest creature. Say, do you know what would be more fun than a game of horseshoes or cornhole? We could all form a committee and donate every penny we have to see that the president gets elected for life! Testing...testing...")

I wait with bated breath for all the exciting new military uses of varmints, but I can't help dreaming of something even more amazing.

What if some visionary individuals in two warring countries simultaneously designed insects that would crawl up on the negotiating table and achieve lasting peace?

I hope I've placed a bug in somebody's ear.

© 2013 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page "Tyree's Tyrades". Danny's' weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns, please email Sales at sales@cagle.com or call (805) 969-2829.



Download Danny Tyree's color photo - Download Danny Tyree's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Danny Tyree's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Obama Hears You
By: Adam Zyglis

September 28, 2010

Domestic Drone Surveillance
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
May 17, 2012

Surveillance
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
October 6, 2010

Increased Surveillance COLOR
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
October 6, 2010

Government Secrecy
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
March 7, 2007

Domestic Drone Surveillance COLOR
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
May 17, 2012
    

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]