Does every conflict situation need to end with the death of a human? Having considered the human/news cost of its traditional ways of shocking and awing small, oil-rich countries around the world, the American government has at least made an effort to control people without killing them. But have the experiments been successful?
Following decades of conflict with people like the Koreans and Vietnamese, the nineties saw conflict with white Europeans. Hence the need for non-lethal solutions and the US Department of Defence’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) was born.
That was 1996 and the chaps (sorry, not being sexist, most of the people in the world that try and hurt you are blokes) at JNLWD have been rather less than successful.
With an annual spend that’s reported to be in the £250M range,it is running up to 50 projects at the same time – all with the guiding principal of “Hey, wouldn’t it be nice to control people without having to kill them?”
So what have the non-lethal boffins been trying? Here’s a mini round-up of the projects they have been trying their hands at:-
- Creating pulses under water that make you feel so ill you cannot swim under a boat and plant a mine
- Lasers that you can fire gently along the wing tips of an enemy plane, causing it to turn left or right
- Changing where people (terrorists?) walk, simply by making one side of a street feel a little too warm
According to the men in Washington who ask Americans to ‘pay for weapons that don’t kill people’, this kind of solution would have been particularly welcome in Iraq, where parents driving children in cars tended not to stop in front of Marines who were trying to create a check point by waving semi automatic weapons at them. In a few years’ time, the same marines could stop any car in its tracks by firing a concentrated pulse of microwaves at the engine from an armoured personnel carrier.
Won’t that be fun kiddies.
KitGuru says: While it’s easy to poke fun at an organisation that spends billions and yet fails completely to come up with a single usable solution, the principals behind JNLWD are laudable.We wish them well in their efforts to produce nauseating products et al. Anything which, ultimately, leads to less people being killed would be nice.
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