WASHINGTON, D.C. - A newly released study conducted by Congress has proven once and for all that the pen is not mightier than the sword. Over a year long period, Special Operation Forces (SOF) serving in Afghanistan were outfitted with pens as their primary weapon of engagement, instead of the standard M-4 assault rifle.
The $387 billion study was the brainchild of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
"Military spending has spiraled out of control," Sen. Feinstein explained to Duffel Blog reporters. "Since the pen is mightier than the sword, as the saying goes, why not equip the military with inexpensive pens? When deciding on the cost of weapons used by soldiers to defend their lives, we must keep the taxpayers welfare in mind."
"Not only that -- no one needs a military-style, semi-automatic assault rifle to hunt Taliban," she added.
A small number of Army Special Forces and Navy SEAL teams, operating in the most hazardous areas of Afghanistan, were hand selected for the study due to their expertise in using exotic weapons.
The study initially garnered promising results.
"One positive I discovered early on was I could hide the pen in my beard," said Mike, an Army Special Forces soldier who asked only to be identified by his first name. "I usually had five or six hidden in there. It's not the first time my beard saved my life."
Complaints began to surface when it was discovered military procurement officers supplied the SOF teams with equipment from the lowest contract bidder.
"We were issued worthless, plastic Bic pens" said Jake, a Navy SEAL. "We ended up dipping into our pockets and springing for Cross pens. The sturdier material allowed us to stab the carotid artery, killing an enemy outright. Usually, it resulted in a pissed off Afghan with a pen sticking out of his neck."
The study has been deemed inconclusive due to the small number of surviving participants. Of the forty-five SOF members, only two remained to provide sufficient feedback to researchers.
Even though many have considered the study a failure, the bravery of the SOF members was unquestioned. Three bronze stars for valor (posthumous), five silver stars (posthumous), and ten distinguished service crosses (posthumous) were awarded during the year long study. Twenty-five Medals of Honor are expected to be awarded, posthumously, to family members in the coming months.
Despite the losses, Senator Feinstein remains steadfast in her pursuit of curbing military spending.
"A soldier in the Marines once told me they can do more with less. That's the attitude the entire military should adopt. In a time where taxpayers are suffering from these outrageous military budgets, we must all make sacrifices."
Sen. Feinstein declined further questions clarifying where budget cuts would be made, citing a need to vote on a bill approving Congressional pay raises for the next fiscal year. Pentagon planners are also considering issuing swords to combat troops as their weapon of choice.