Western nations must train Gen-Z soldiers for the era of meme warfare

Dearest Reader Humour

Dearest Reader,

One-hundred-six years ago, the untimely assassination of an Austrian royal, indeed chiefly celebrated by history for his death (especially if one happens to be a Yugoslav nationalist), ushered in a new kind of global conflict. Eighty-one years ago, Polish aggression on the German frontier (to hear German radio of the time tell it!) initiated another war which would spread still further to every corner of the globe, if it hadn’t already. Since these two events, it seems more has been written about them than the entire scope of human conflict before, between, or since! And yet, I do not write today to quibble about historical focus or context. For, by general agreement and by popular demand, World War III is soon to be upon us. And make no mistake, Dearest Reader: it will be a different sort of war. 

Setting aside the particulars of the Iranian debacle which inevitably heralds our demise, as well as the implications of global conflict in the nuclear age (should that become pertinent, there will be little to discuss), I turn instead to the matter of the common enlisted man or conscripted sod, for whom war has always fondly made space. As the stock of our nation’s youth is of a different bent than their predecessors in global wartime, I propose that instead of whining about the entitlement or avocado-eating habits of the generation currently at fighting age, we make good use of their (read: our) unique talents. 

To begin, I have, after consultation with a number of military planners (on Reddit, who assured me of their credentials) devised a new digital warfare scheme entitled Strategically Planned Assault Memes, or S.P.A.M. for short. In the estimation of my colleagues, the average millennial or Gen-Z soldier will have spent so many hours exchanging memes online by the time of enlistment that he or she will be qualified as a cyberwarfare specialist, in the correct context. Instead of leaving digital warfare to a small cadre of our forces, we may train all our troops to execute strategic collective meme submissions to overwhelm enemy servers. Crucially, these memes must be of the highest quality (certified ‘dank’ or better), and to assure this, each battalion shall appoint a Meme Approval Officer, preferably one who has spent the better part of civilian life administering an obscure Facebook humour page. Should S.P.A.M. assaults be found insufficient to damage servers, they will at minimum occupy the time of enemy battlefield interpreters attempting to comprehend them, or perhaps induce an existential crisis in their forces at large. 

Next, I must at least briefly touch on the new potential of our military for industrial sabotage operations. Few would contest the long and illustrious record of the millennial generation in destroying numerous industries worldwide. Indeed, judging by the wide breadth of evidence comprising many reactionary articles, we have successfully destroyed the diamond business, the laundry detergent business, and most impressively, the freelance interior decorating business which most publications otherwise credit us with initiating. It seems to me a small leap from this to enemy sabotage. 

Lastly, and I will warrant most controversially, yet still of the utmost strategic value, I propose the employment of Gen-Z infantry in massed human wave attacks. It has been argued that such tactics are ineffective, if the Soviet efforts of the Great Patriotic War and the Japanese Banzai charge are any indication. However, I posit that where the motivation to charge to one’s death for motherland or martial honour was insufficient for success, the particular emotional abandon prompted by crippling student debt, housing and climate crises, and a general enmeshing of all one’s actions in layers of memetic irony makes our generation particularly well-suited to the task. Indeed, the enormous, if still covert success of last year’s Internet-coordinated Area 51 raid serves as the perfect template for this kind of operation.

Stacked against the ‘Greatest Generation’ or the ‘Boomers’ (whose epithet at least puts one in mind of artillery), we Millennials and Zoomers may not strike one as especially fierce, as indeed those former generations have often lamented. I have heard the complaint that by and large, the current youth believe in nothing at all, yet it is this very trait I propound makes us uniquely well-suited to fight a war. And so, should the motivations of Queen and Country not be enough, come the great conflict of our time, think instead of the sweet release of death.