U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates once observed, "I have seen a lot of civilians make a lot of proposals for a lot of silly military actions." In response to foreign-policy problems that resist easy solutions, the quick allure of military force is the civilian's siren song. Many proposals -- while informal or semiserious -- are preposterous and overlook even a basic understanding of political objectives, military strategy, geography, and logistics. Here are the top 10 most ridiculous military options offered up by U.S. government officials or civilian commentators over the last few decades. Thankfully, these would-be civilian follies, based on unrealistic and often dangerous notions of what military power can achieve, were quashed before they left the drawing board.
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