WASHINGTON— Sounding a measured but audible alarm as Americans celebrate the 2014 Christmas season, the Department of Defense (DoD) today announced that all service members who weren't taken in by American families to enjoy the holidays this year will have to be "humanely put down.”
Though DoD works to find homes for tens of thousands of stray and often malnourished and abused soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines during the holidays, a shrunken budget coupled with an ever smaller number of adopted troops is forcing the Pentagon to take drastic measures this year, according to outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
“While we’d love to guarantee that these brave men and women have a warm, safe place to go this holiday season, a lack of funds is forcing us to make some tough decisions,” said Hagel, who had a small litter of scruffy and unwashed uniformed service members pawing at his feet during a taped address from the DOD News Channel’s studios late last week.
“And that’s why we’re asking you, America, to open your homes and your hearts by taking in one or more of our nation’s brave heroes,” Hagel continued, “so that they might have a hot meal and some holiday cheer to look forward to, rather than just a cold needle and some Sodium thiopental, followed by immediate and certain death.”
Despite the Pentagon’s impassioned plea on behalf of its strays, however, experts are warning that the high influx of U.S. troops returning from wars overseas, coupled with the diminished media coverage of those conflicts, could make it all the more difficult for single service members to get adopted this year.
“Finding a home for all of these adorable, cuddly little patriots was never really an issue when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were something people seemed to care about, and you actually heard about it on TV,” said Eunice Martin, a spokesman for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Veterans (ASPCV).
"But now that it's 2014 and serving your country overseas is apparently old news, you could probably get more excitement generated trying to find a nice home for Kim Kardashian's ass," she continued. "At least people would have a place to set the eggnog bowl, I guess."
Others, however, argue that choosing not to adopt a stray service member has nothing to do with apathy, but rather a desire to avoid unforeseen burdens.
“We tried adopting last year, but it was just too much work,” said Becky Huelheiser, a married mother of three from upstate New York, whose family attempted to host a 21-year-old feral Marine for Christmas dinner shortly after the young man returned from Afghanistan in 2013.
“The little guy came off as well-mannered enough at first, but then he got into my husband’s liquor cabinet. Next thing you know, he was chasing our daughter around the house and peeing on our carpet,” Huelheiser continued.
“Once he started humping Nana’s leg and calling her a 'GILF', we had to put him outside.”
“There may be a few bad apples out there, but the majority of our strays drink responsibly, they're potty trained, and they respect our nation's septuagenarians,” Hagel countered, when confronted with Huelheiser’s and similar stories.
When asked a final question about whether the Pentagon had considered implementing some sort of spay/neuter program to help control the non-adopted service member population, Hagel said no plan is currently in the works.
“Except for about 90% of our flag officers,” the secretary added. “They've been getting neutered for years.”
UPDATE: In response to criticism from members of Congress and the public, the Pentagon has promised in a written statement that instead of euthanizing the troops, it will "take them to nice farm, upstate, where they can run around and play all day long."