Saturday, June 19, 2010

U.S. (Not) Testing Pain Ray in Afghanistan (Updated) | Danger Room |

This article is interesting for a couple of reasons.  One, it discusses in some detail – and links to much more detail – the US Armed Forces next “non-lethal” weapon system.  For years we have been hearing about this technology that would send the enemy packing without inflicting any long-term damage.  This version, a targeted, burst microwave beam,  causes the enemy combatant targeted to feel an intensely hot sensation.  Initially, Wired reported that it is now being tested in Afghanistan, though recent updates have backed off that claim, contenting themselves just to imply that the system may have been tried earlier or elsewhere.

I’m not sure if the snark in the article is pacifist or just naive.  If the sarcasm is to do with pain inflicted by a device which creates a very unpleasant burning sensation, is that really worse than napalm, guided missiles, 10,000 20mm rounds a minute, flamethrowers, grenades or even small arms fire?  I suppose the real root of this ‘controversy’ is based in faulty logic about war.  How?  Well,  it seems to me that the best course is to attempt to resolve serious issues by other means first, and only to resort to armed conflict when either other means fail, or a time constraint escalates the urgency to a point where there simply isn’t time for other means to work – or they do not seem likely to do so.  However, it also seems to me to be common sense that if we find ourselves in armed combat, it is our moral duty to do whatever we reasonably and conscionably can to bring the conflict to a swift - and as nearly as possible - a bloodless, deathless conclusion.

When I read the scoffing tone of this article, I was perplexed.  Is it not better to aim a focused beam that agitates the nervous system to the point of causing pain, than to shoot, bomb, etc.?  Wouldn’t the enemy soldier feel the same way?  Isn’t it better to feel a temporary burning sensation that subsides as soon as one steps out of the beam, than to be shot, bombed, step on a mine, etc.?  I know my answer would be ‘YES!  YES IT IS!!!’

U.S. Testing Pain Ray in Afghanistan (Updated) | Danger Room |

So check out the article, and then take a look at this video of reporters being subjected to the beam, and tell me whether you’d choose the bomb, bullet, chemicals or schrapnel of a traditional battlefield, or a non-lethal weapon such as this beam.   Me?  I would definitely and without hesitation choose the non-lethal ray that causes discomfort until I step aside.  I can’t be the only one, can I?

Here is some video of the ray being used on some journalists at a press event.  Do these folks look tortured or scarred for life, the way traditional weapons fire might?

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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