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.

Quantity and Quality

Based on the facts presented about the Zombie War, the most logical plan of action to me would be to assume a defensive strategy, voting against the plan proposed by General D’Ambrosia. The point made that “all [they] had to do was remain safe and sedentary while our enemy simply rotted away” is a very valid point (Brooks 265). Why risk more lives when they do not have to, when the zombies will eventually cease to exist? General D’Ambrosia’s reasoning behind the plan is that the civilians deserve to reclaim the land in order to preserve the human spirit and assert dominance over all other species—which seems like a virtuous motive, but actually appears to be quite selfish in this context. The plan for attack is rooted in humans’ innate reliance on fulfilling, substantial results to achieve satisfaction, and a constant desire for more power and control. When the living accepts a defensive position, many leaders view this as accepting defeat in the Zombie War because of its passive nature, but in the end, more psychologically well civilians will survive as opposed to a fraction of civilians who are living with the memory that they, like perpetrators of the Redeker Plan, “follow[ed] orders that would indirectly cause a mass murder” (Brooks 113). In addition, the implemented offensive plan induced major psychological damage in Sibera causing “dereliction of duty, alcoholism, [and] suicide”, where “one in ten officers killed themselves […] a decimation that almost brought our war effort to a crushing halt” (Brooks 295, 296). All of this effort, all of these sacrificed lives, and almost all to waste because humans physically cannot compete with zombies. Ultimately, from an ethical and social standpoint, the necessity to “prove” that they are able to defeat the zombies is egotistical and the desire for revenge on zombies petty, because zombies have no control over their actions, making sacrificing innocent lives not worth it. Not to mention, from a tactical and environmental standpoint, the war is unfeasible to be won because zombies are biologically superior to humans—they are limitless and do not have a “maximum emotional and physiological breaking point” like humans do (Brooks 273). Zombies are not affected by outside influences nor internal influences, causing them to be an incomparable match for humans.

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Visual depiction of zombie versus human. Image from hitfix.com.

The Zombie War is framed as a war for these reasons, that there is strategic planning involved and ultimately a winner and a loser. It is a world war in the sense that it involves all nations, but instead of individual nations fighting each other, the whole world is categorized into two entities—the living, and the living dead. If viewed as an epidemic, where zombification is characterized as a viral infection, the choice to stay on the defensive is made even clearer. The living humans are without the infection currently, and to stay that way, they could engage in preventative measures such as injecting a vaccine, or in the context of the zombie war, maintain a defensive strategy. It is illogical to seek out the viral infection, as an offensive position would, become infected, and then deal with the repercussions, when one could simply avoid that.

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Interesting map a reader constructed of populations after the Zombie War. A notable feature is how when China did not follow the Redeker Plan, their population decreased 90%. Image from deviantart.com.