What About Our Future?

If I were head of state in World War Z, I would have to say that I would vote for going on the offensive. In my opinion, living in the shadows fearing for your life is not the best route to follow for the ultimate survival of humans as a race. At the rate of zombification, the zombies are going to outnumber the living which is going to make it even more difficult to later eradicate the zombie population. And like how we talked in class about the Redeker plan, there may need to sacrifice the few to save the many. Without any normal living humans, there is no future for humanity as our race will be wiped out. So regardless of the potential social and ethical implications this decision may create, it is important to make the decision to go on the offensive if we even want a chance of potentially have future generations who can move on from the horrors of the Great Panic.

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Who should you save?

From a social standpoint, by taking the offensive (with an ultimate win of the war), the human spirit will change dramatically from the “Shaken, broken species, driven to the edge of extinction” (267) as described in the Honolulu Conference. When faced in an environment in which you are constantly fearing for your life and/or a loved one, your morale can begin to deteriorate. For example, for some of the humans that continue to live feel the stress and burden of those who are struggling to survive, cannot handle the “never resting, never fading, never ceasing their call to join them” (199). The guilt to being a relatively normal survivor can become a heavy burden to the point of suicide as people can not handle the emotions that people are emoting. But with the ultimate elimination of the zombie race, this emotional trauma, with time, should begin to decline until in the future, the generations can live happily and peacefully. These future generations can recover but still look back at the past as a reminder and lesson of hopefully preventing or stopping another zombie outbreak from occurring once more. Also, these future generations could actually live, not just surviving.

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The broken human spirit

Furthermore, in this zombie war, there isn’t necessarily any “comfort” any more. In Siberia, “the only comfort they could expect” (296) was dying as a group instead of individually. All this death surrounding everyone from suicide to reanimation must not have a healthy influence on members of the living community. Many others may develop similar desires to simply leave the living in order to escape from the traumas of their present. However, the winning of the war should cure all of this. For example, Joe from Washington describes the Great Panic  as a unifying experience as “anywhere around the world, anyone you talk to, all of us have this powerful shared experience” (336). There can be a newly discovered, and even more powerful, feeling of community and unity among the surviving and new generations. Humans can learn that even though they may be going through a situation in which they see no positives, they have people that they can depend upon for advice and support.

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A new sense of community amongst the living

Furthermore, from a tactical standpoint, I feel that the best method of attack would be to lure the zombie masses into one central location in which the armies could be strategically placed around to have the best angle to attack. With each zombie moan, more and more zombies would become attracted to this location which hopefully ease the burden of having to chase and find each zombie in the nearby vicinity.

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A sample location for the zombie attack

Also, by viewing this zombie attack as a “war” instead of simply an epidemic, it may promote the idea amongst the military ranks that they should have a greater involvement. Typically when I hear of an epidemic, my mind switches to a scientific side and vaccinations. However, in this scenario, there is no “cure” to quickly quarantine or eradicate the “epidemic.” Furthermore, in several cases, it is more difficult to contain an epidemic than a war. Years could be spent on research without any breakthroughs. However, with war, I feel that it is easier to see an end to it as it is easier to see the end with the decrease in the number of zombies.

 

War or Defeat

We have won the war! Listen. That has a ring, a motivational power to it. Pride is coupled with the statement; “surviving an epidemic” reminds one of desperate times. Make no mistake: the conflict with the zombies is indeed a war. They are out to destroy humanity, even if it is not a conscious decision. Labelling the Zombie War as anything else diminishes many heroes’ sacrifices, fails to contextualize the tough decisions made, and completely disregards the unity needed to defeat the virus. To win a war, one needs to attack. As the leader of a country, this is why I would vote to attack during the Honolulu Conference.

This call to attack is more than just demagoguery. It provides the best solution to the zombie apocalypse in multiple areas. Tactically, the alternative to not attacking is “remain[ing] safe and sedentary while our enemy simply rot[s] away” (Brooks 265), but General D’Ambrosia states, “[l]ock a hundred of them in a room and three years later they’ll come out just as deadly” (272). Attacking really is the only choice because the threat will remain if nothing is done. The War started with only a few zombies; not attacking now would allow the process to start much more rapidly than before because people would undoubtedly become infected due to the many zombies present. Moreover, militaries can only be content with a stalemate for so long. A lack of a clear goal (such as reclaiming a particular city) would soon develop into a distrust of leadership. If our military gives up, then even the safe zones will be in jeopardy.

There are many social and political benefits, as well. For example, reclaiming entire cities and allowing people to return back to their homes gives people hope. Victories like these–even if some defeats are present–would fix the problem of ADS (Asymptomatic Demise Syndrome). Without noticeable progress, people will “simply go to sleep one night and not wake up the next morning…because…it could only bring more suffering” (159). Politically, this would also set the stage for future governments because people will have faith in their leaders. They will see their government as an entity that actually brought positive change instead of one that cowered in the face of danger. If the world stays on the defensive, then people will always have a lingering question about why their governments have not yet done anything about the situation. Stagnation is simply not an option for a country either.

Perhaps a criticism of attacking the zombies is that we “risk even more lives, suffer even more [casualties]” (265). War has a price, however, and the people fighting in the fields understand the consequences. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of humanity, and by going on the offensive, we are valuing their sacrifice. The offensive will not be a reckless charge into danger, however. It will take the form of the “Reinforced Square” (280) formation that Todd describes in great detail. It is effective, deadly, and replicable. Labeling an offensive as dangerous and foolish is misguided. Perhaps the old way of fighting could be described as such, but the new offensive will be calculated. A loss of life would be tragic in this strategy, not just the norm.

Seeing that going on the offensive makes sense tactically, socially, and politically, I would undoubtedly endorse this plan as a country’s leader. Even the moral arguments against this strategy are limited. There’s only one thing to do now. Let’s go win a war.

Facing it Head on

When the world you live in starts crumbling into pieces, what do you do? You can’t just sit and watch it fall apart. If I were a head of state in World War Z, I would have voted yes during the Honolulu Conference. The decision of choosing to attack the zombies full-force isn’t unethical, unlike the Redeker Plan. There was no use of “human bait” (Brooks 109) in the decision to attack. There was always the concern that many lives would be lost in the full-fledged attack against the zombies, but there wasn’t a question of whether or not something is ethical in the decision made at the conference.

Basically, there are two options that the people at the Honolulu Conference could consider. Firstly, the people could have waited until all the zombies just rotted away. The problem with that would be that no one would know how long that would take. The idea of idly sitting on our hands and not doing anything would lead to anxiety and uneasiness in many people. Because the living dead “robbed us of our confidence as the planet’s dominant life form” (Brooks 267), being more powerless would not be the best solution. In order to be “the planet’s dominant life form” (Brooks 267), humans have to be in power and in control, but if humans just sat and waited for the zombies to rot away, they would not be the ones in power. In response to not being able to help the puppies at the pet store a block away from his house, Darnell said, “’What could I have done?… Something” (Brooks 292). In the future, like Darnell Hackworth, people would  wish that they did something in response to the zombie war instead of waiting.  If there was an attack on the zombies, we would at least know what was happening and going on. We would also somewhat be in control of the process of events. Therefore, the vote to attack during the Honolulu Conference would have been the faster, more efficient route towards ending this war with the disease that reanimated the dead. Even though the enemy could “simply rot away” (Brooks 265) over time, the disease could be spread again through one zombie. Even if there were a couple zombies left, only one of them would have to bite another healthy human being for them to become infected. If even a small number of the undead were left alive, there would still be chance for the disease to spread again into a full-scale epidemic.

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In addition, the world war that is being fought in this book is different from a typical world war. Typically, a world war involves two different sides fighting against each other because of their different beliefs on an issue. However, in World War Z, the healthy, living humans are fighting the infected, undead zombies. The zombies, since they don’t have brains, don’t really have a thought going through their head. The war being fought isn’t regarding a certain stand on an issue. Rather, the healthy humans are fighting an epidemic that has been brought to life through the form of zombies. Normally, an epidemic is transferred from one human to another through different routes, but it’s hard to see exactly who has the disease. Also, the disease is just an agent in the background. In World War Z, it’s extremely evident to people as to who is infected or not, which gives life to the disease. The disease is now tangible, to a certain extent, meaning that there is now a certainty that if you shoot the brain of the zombie, you know for sure that that specific zombie can no longer spread the disease anymore. The image of fighting an epidemic in an active, somewhat living form as zombies creates an image regarding how terrifying and detrimental the effects of an epidemic are.

Sources:

  • First picture- http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/06/15/dc-go-to-war-on-2-99-price-point/
  • Second picture- https://fwis191fall2016.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/2a2bc-dead-rising-3-screenshot-zombies.jpg