Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Habitat for Whatever

Jimmy Carter inarguably has done great work for this country. His string of public service was only broken one documented time, that being the four years he was President.
I was absolutely certain that the Carter administration was almost completely without monumental historical worth until this morning.
There is a "Rural-Urban" legend around South Carolina of a place off the coast called "Monkey Island". The story is that thousands of monkeys live there and are routinely harvested by the hundreds for medical research purposes. For the most part, they just run wild on an undeveloped island, only visiting the shoreline to meet the monkey chow boats which regularly visit to ensure the monkeys are getting adequate nutrition.
It sounds weird, but it turns out to be true.
The place is Morgan Island off the coast of Beaufort County. I couldn't make up that place name if I tried.
Anyway, at the end of the Carter administration, rhesus monkeys were imported and released on the island in a super-secret wildlife relocation project. And certainly hundreds of healthy monkeys are removed from the island at a time and sold to medical research facilities and military institutions. The monkeys (which now number close to 6000) produce about 750 young a year.
The area is marked with signs prohibiting people from landing on the island. It is also shrouded in an Area 51-like veil of secrecy.
But why?
I'm not a fan of animal testing, but it isn't a secret.
We all know it happens and we have to assume the animals come from somewhere.
I'm going to come right out and say it.
Sure, some of the monkeys are removed every year for research.
But the majority stay.
No one lands on the island ever and the monkeys which are collected are collected pretty much right from the monkey chow boats.
The secret is related to the original 1979 reason for the creation of this monkey space.
The Jimmy Carter administration started Operation: Monkey Island, SC for the training of a Top Secret force of Ninja Assassin Monkeys, possibly as a slow-moving strategy to mitigate the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Operation Eagle Claw failed, the Carter Presidency was on the ropes and Carter wanted to risk no more American lives.
Had the ninja training moved at a faster pace, Ronald Reagan may never have been elected President.
This doesn't mean that the project ended with Reagan's inauguration, though.
Reagan was a pragmatist, and he wasn't one to give up easily on things designated "impossible" by most sane people.
Also, there is some evidence that the guy loved monkeys anyway.
I am certain he authorized the continued training of these deadly ninja monkeys, and possibly added glowing blue LED stripes like in TRON or, more likely, robot parts like in Short Circuit.
We can't forget that Reagan had a lot of Hollywood contacts, so it is no stretch to assume he had access to the same resources that filmmakers had.
The fact that we are left with is that only a monkey's inability to swim separates the East Coast from a devastating attack from surly, poo-flinging, semi-robotic monkey ninjas.
Anyone intent on upsetting our national security only needs to drop 6000 pairs of water wings on Morgan Island, South Carolina and wait.

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