(Updated) Non-Lethal Nonsense
11:27 AM, Aug 30, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
WWS pal Christian Lowe has an interesting post up at Defense Tech on the Active Denial System, aka the Pain Ray. The system got a fair bit of play in the news early this year when the Pentagon invited camera crews to witness an Army test of the device and "almost cooked an AP reporter." Christian reports:
Go read the whole thing, it includes a note from one of the engineers who developed the system and is "convinced that the tragedy at Fallujah would not have occurred if an Active Denial System had been there."
This latest flap over non-lethal weapons brings to mind a similar situation that developed over the "green beam designator," which allowed soldiers to temporarily blind drivers approaching a checkpoint. There were repeated calls to deploy the device to Iraq, but fear of a backlash, as well as a 1995 UN agreement banning the use of lasers that could permanently blind, prevented the device from being rapidly put into the field. It has since made its way to Iraq, but like the Pain Ray, concerns about misuse and the possibility of relatively minor injuries were allowed to slow the process. Of course, the only other option available to most soldiers working a military checkpoint is an M-16 or a .50 cal--weapons that are likely to do much worse than blind the target.
This system has the potential to peacefully diffuse a situation that might otherwise spin violently out of control (OR NOT--SEE UPDATE BELOW). It'd be a shame if American troops weren't given access because of some Pentagon fear of lawsuits.
Update: Bill Sweetman has an alternate explanation for the Pentagon's failure to deploy the ADS. Click here to read it. The bottom line is that Iraq is apparently too hot for this technology:
I must defer to Sweetman.