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US Air Force to Test Hi-Tech Weapons on Americans? 670

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the people-for-the-ethical-treatment-of-americans dept.
GayBliss writes to tell us CNN.com has an article about how the US Air Force secretary proposes testing new 'non-lethal' weapons on American citizens before deploying them to the battlefield. New weapons like a high-power microwave device are designed to incapacitate people or sometimes even electronic devices. From the article: "The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne."
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US Air Force to Test Hi-Tech Weapons on Americans?

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  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:19PM (#16098787)
    Hey, I think the military has a point. If we ain't willing to use it here somebody doesn't really believe it is all that safe and 'non-lethal'.

    Besides, this will give hippies a chance to do their part in the GWOT! Just stage another mass protest and do what comes natural.... toke up, get rowdy and start smashing stuff. If the bright boys have done their stuff right nobody gets permanently damaged and we have a new shiny toy to use against the barbarian hordes. If they screwed up the hippies can unleash the lawyers.

    Of course if they get wind they will already be inventing the strange symptoms they will claim to suffer and even have a cute name for the syndrome.... which can only be cured with a huge cash settlement.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      Well, only if we the public have access to these same weapons, and can fire back.

      :-)

    • by daniil (775990)
      Or maybe it should be used on "real American patriots": Ask not, what your country can do to you; ask what you can do for your country :7
    • Happy Hippy Hunting Season?

      I smell reality/sitcom!

      An amazing generation those "hippies", 40 years down the road they still ruffle feathers
    • I was all set to be offended, but it's a good laugh. I don't think he's actually dissing hippies here so much as just poking fun. So knock it off with the troll mods. That kind of oppression is so uncool, man, I mean, if we can't laugh at ourselves, we need to smoke more pot, am I right? The dude may be too square to realize that you don't generally get rowdy and smash stuff when you toke up, but that doesn't make him a troll. Come on, mods, don't be like The Man here, putting your negativity onto this poor dude, let him be himself.

      Jmorris42, shine on, you crazy diamond.
      • by Scrameustache (459504) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:25PM (#16099476) Homepage Journal
        Use it on hippies first!
        I think the military has a point.
        this will give hippies a chance to do their part
        and do what comes natural.... toke up, get rowdy and start smashing stuff
        the barbarian hordes
        inventing the strange symptoms they will claim to suffer and even have a cute name for the syndrome

        The dude may be too square to realize that you don't generally get rowdy and smash stuff when you toke up, but that doesn't make him a troll.


        Flamebait [slashdot.org] -- Flamebait refers to comments whose sole purpose is to insult and enrage. If someone is not-so-subtly picking a fight (racial insults are a dead giveaway), it's Flamebait.

        Troll [slashdot.org] -- A Troll is similar to Flamebait, but slightly more refined. This is a prank comment intended to provoke indignant (or just confused) responses. A Troll might mix up vital facts or otherwise distort reality, to make other readers react with helpful "corrections." Trolling is the online equivalent of intentionally dialing wrong numbers just to waste other people's time.
  • How about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kalirion (728907) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:19PM (#16098788)
    testing these weapons on the people in charge of the project? I mean they're non-lethal, so what's the problem?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      testing these weapons on the people in charge of the project? I mean they're non-lethal, so what's the problem?

      Exactly, test them on yourselves. Test them on volunteers. Don't use the citizenry as guinea-pigs; that's just a scary precedent. "Three protesters were killed today in a test deployment of non-lethal alternatives."

      You built 'em, you go on record (and on video) having personally been subjected to them numerous times. Make everyone who built them do the same thing. When you've tested it a few t

      • by daniil (775990)
        What makes you think they gaven't tested these weapons on individuals already? Maybe they just want to test them in real-life situations, like demonstrations gone out of hand or riots?
        • Re:How about (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:43PM (#16099050) Homepage
          What makes you think they gaven't tested these weapons on individuals already? Maybe they just want to test them in real-life situations, like demonstrations gone out of hand or riots?

          Yeah, but have they tested them enough? From TFA ... "The Air Force has paid for research into nonlethal weapons, but he said the service is unlikely to spend more money on development until injury problems are reviewed by medical experts and resolved."

          You know, we damaged the testers, and we need medical people to tell us how likely this is to happen when we hose down protesters.

          Wanna test it in a riot scenario, pay yourself a bunch of Army recruits to stage a riot under controlled circumstances. Disarm/disable them. Do it enough to be statistically significant. Find out all those little injury problems and resolve them. Don't take something you haven't adequately tested on willing volunteers and send it out on protesters in Free Speech Zones or who have decided Free Speech doesn't have zones.

          I understand why they would publically state one shouldn't be so callous as to try this out on foreign nationals without having tested it; but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be testing it on the people who are building it or will be using it in real life. And it sure as hell doesn't mean you should put a bunch of your own citizens into harms way so you can feel better about deploying it abroad. There's a big gulf in between those two, and I don't think they've addressed it.

          As I recall, pretty much every police office is going to get sprayed with pepper spray so they understand what it does to you. Likewise, if you're going to give them some of these other things, they should be trying to create realistic situations in which to test them; not just one volunteer standing still under optimal conditions.

          Cheers
          • Re:How about (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Com2Kid (142006) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:51PM (#16099130) Homepage Journal

            Wanna test it in a riot scenario, pay yourself a bunch of Army recruits to stage a riot under controlled circumstances.


            Hell with that.

            You know those carnival/fair events where you get to dunk "Insert Person Here"?

            I say we make the congress critters + president and cabinet sign up for non-lethal weapon tests performed by citizens who buy tickets to fire off said weapons. The more painful weapons have higher ticket prices.

            Make all of them rotate through the program until the national debt is paid off.

            I bet you that as a side effect, the budget would get balanced REALLY quick.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by thewiz (24994) *
              I like your idea.

              I'd recommend charging more for crotch-shots especially with the heat ray-gun.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Com2Kid (142006)
                Holy crap.

                People would take out (another!) mortgage on their house for that.

                My state (Washington) has an initiative process, I wonder if this is a valid initiative to have passed.

                Yo, anybody down in Cali, you all have initiatives as well, get on this!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          What makes you think they gaven't tested these weapons on individuals already? Maybe they just want to test them in real-life situations, like demonstrations gone out of hand or riots?

          Then they don't need to be 'testing' them on the general population, because they've already had the opportunity to test them. Unless they're afraid the weapons for some reason wouldn't work on 'those people.'

          No, after reading the article they're not interested so much in TESTING as they are in USING - that is - police usin

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by daniil (775990)
            encouraging the use of force is probably not a good idea.

            Unfortunately, if you're dealing with large crowds, it's usually a lot easier to use force than to try and solve the situation in a peaceful manner.
      • by Vancorps (746090)
        Yeah, I agree with you completely. It's scary as all hell and smacks the face of the constitution.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Shihar (153932)
          I think you misunderstand what is being proposed. All that air force guy was saying was that if we are going to give soldiers 'non-lethal' weapons, they better damn well be non-lethal. The best way to prove that they are non-lethal is to be willing to use them on your own people. It isn't like they are going to go out and 'test' them on a random crowd that is getting rowdy. They are proposing that the non-lethal weapons be able to meet US standards for use by law enforcement. If after you go through th
      • Re:How about (Score:5, Informative)

        by Amouth (879122) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:46PM (#16099082)
        that is what the guy to invented the bullet proof vest did..

        he made it and no would would buy it.. so he video taped him self shooting him self in the gut.. and sent the tape to the police departmnets - and well we all know how well that worked out...

        hell i would take a bullet to have that credit to my name
    • Re:How about (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vancorps (746090) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:28PM (#16098901)
      I'm not sure you know how right you are here. I have a friend that worked in a maximum security prison as a sniper. He learned about pressure points and whatnot and the chief requirement for learning is that you have to allow the instructor to do it to you so you understand how it feels. That way you understand the level of pain your inflicting on your opponent. If it's non-lethal then they should go right ahead!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Culture (575650)
        What is especially cool about sniper training is how they apply pressure to these points from a distance as great as 1000 meters. I mean, think of how hard it is to apply the vulcan nerve pinch from point blank range. Now imaging the same thing from even 10 meters, much less 1000! Amazing!

        In my opinion snipers are at least as awesome as ninjas.

    • Re:How about (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:32PM (#16098935) Journal
      Because even a non-lethal weapon is going to kill Dick Cheney?

      FTFA: "If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

      Riiiight. Just like tazers & stun guns are "non-lethal" and never injure people in a way that was not intended.
    • Re:How about (Score:5, Interesting)

      by twofidyKidd (615722) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:38PM (#16099001)
      Actually, I've had such a system (millimeter wave emitter) tested on me. I voluteered myself, as did the people in charge of the project. The thing hurts like you're being cooked alive, and stops immediately once you're out of the way, but leaves no physical trace of injury.

      I work for Raytheon. [raytheon.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Reducer2001 (197985)
        Cool. Next time, put some unpopped kernels of corn in your pocket and let us know what happens.
      • Re:How about (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:10PM (#16099314)

        The thing hurts like you're being cooked alive, and stops immediately once you're out of the way, but leaves no physical trace of injury.

        I think the CIA just found a new favored method of information extraction / recreation.

        Mod me down if you will, but you have to admit that that's a torturers dream - hurts like hell but won't leave evidence or run the risk of killing the subject prematurely. And with any luck it will also destroy any video tapes and photos of the incident.

        • Re:How about (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Suidae (162977) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:38PM (#16099577)
          You're right, and if you enemy is pretty low-tech you can play up the 'magical' aspects of the infliction of pain, using incantations and hand-waving to really scare the bajesus out of them. With some other cutting-edge special effects you could develop some heavy-duty supernatural questioning techniques.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by b0s0z0ku (752509)
          I think the CIA just found a new favored method of information extraction / recreation.

          Information extracted under pain has limited value. A lot of people will say/confess to anything just to stop the pain.

          -b.

      • Great for torture! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PontifexPrimus (576159) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:15PM (#16099375)
        [...]but leaves no physical trace of injury.
        So if you had, say, a "suspected terrorist" (read: anyone looking vaguely arabic) you could just tie him down on a chair, and with those things readily available leave him "boiling alive" for a couple of hours with no visible damage done? Really great, you can do it over and over and over again! And since it leaves no marks it is impossible to prove he was tortured!
        I see this going over great with your current administration - a torture device that the Spanish Inquisition would have killed for in the hands of people who have proven they're not to be trusted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dachannien (617929)
      Many police departments that use Tasers include subjecting their officers to being shocked with the Taser as part of their training.

      I find it interesting that the OP picked and chose his quotes to obfuscate what Wynne was getting at. He was actually trying to say that if we use these non-lethal weapons on (potentially) civilians abroad, we'd better also be willing to have them used in situations like riot control at home. Never let the truth stand in the way of politics, though.

      Personally, I've been waiti
    • FUD, FUD, FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lbrandy (923907) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:55PM (#16099174)
      I mean they're non-lethal, so what's the problem?

      You should try reading the article. The Air Force is saying that it's not going to "test" these weapons that everyone THINKS are non-lethal in a combat area and find out they are, in fact, NOT non-lethal. The air force is saying that if the governemnt (read: US population) wants them to use non-lethal weapons, then it better go about PROVING their non-lethality and willingness therein so far as to use it on themselves. The Air Force is saying that if the US conscience wants to the US to use non-lethal weapons, it better be willing to stick it's own neck on the line in the face of such non-lethal weapons.

      This is the military being responsible... not the other way around. This is all-time great FUD. Slashdot should be ashamed for buying into this bullshit headline and quoting the wrong parts. Militaries KILL PEOPLE. That's what they do. The conscience of the American people want the military to NOT-KILL-PEOPLE, so they are promoting non-lethal weapons. The Air Force response by saying, "Once you test them on yourselves, American population, we will agree to use them on our enemies... they are nonlethal, after all?".

      The air force is agreeing with you. The yellow journalist and sensationalistic title on this piece is seriously disheartening.
  • by Stile 65 (722451) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:19PM (#16098789) Homepage Journal
    ...but I'd probably be hit with a skull-splitting sonic weapon or something.
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:20PM (#16098791) Homepage Journal
    ....they need to test it in foreign countries that have FAR fewer lawyers!!!1
  • Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

    by xihr (556141) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:20PM (#16098792) Homepage
    How dare we use non-lethal methods on our own citizens. Instead we should stick to lethal ones, right?
    • Oh...they're needed to stop 'riots', eh? Man on the ground will say "It's a riot", out come the weaponry, and a few weeks later the cops who killed citizens with 'non-lethal' weapons will be charred corpses in their own beds...their wives and children smoldering down the hall...while the easily-led 'middle-americans' cry and weep for the death of their masters.

      Our gov't doesn't need more ways to subjugate us.
  • that's the group of americans who supposedly non-lethal weapons should be tested on, the commanders who would authorize their use.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by legoburner (702695)
      But I think we know that will not happen. Instead wait for the interesting footage from the next 'free speech zone' at the next republican national congress [wbai.org].
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by d_54321 (446966)
      That line of thinking does seem reasonable, but since its practice has weeded out all commanders who saw your logic (using weapons that were previously untested and uncertainly non-lethal), we're left with what we have today.
  • 'Unruly crowds?' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Sarcastic (109765) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:21PM (#16098814)
    Hmmm... if there are crowds of protesters who disagree with this idea, then it's a ready-made opportunity!

    <IRONY=0%>

    Dammit, did I leave off the "IRONY=100%" tag again?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by A Commentor (459578)
      Why wait until them gather in crowds? With all the wiretapping the government is doing, I'm sure they can just find the people that are opposed to this, and use it on them.

           
  • by johnny cashed (590023) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:22PM (#16098821) Homepage
    If they feel that this is the right way to go about testing new non-lethal weapons. Who is this enemy they are developing these "non-lethal" weapons for? The public? Americans who don't buy the party line? Iraqis? Disgruntled union workers?
  • read this earlier (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thefirelane (586885) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:22PM (#16098822)
    I read this earlier, I couldn't think of a better example of "damned if you do, damned if you don't"

    Military uses them first on US citizens:
    OMG the Military is testing weapons on US citizens!

    Military uses them first on non-US citizens:
    OMG the Military is testing weapons on non-US citizens! What are those people worth less to you racists?

    Military doesn't develope these weapons:
    OMG the Military is using deadly force against civilians
    • by Dr Caleb (121505) <thedarkknight@hu ... il.com minus cat> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:28PM (#16098894) Homepage Journal
      "OMG the Military is using deadly force against civilians"

      The question you should be asking is "Why is the Military being used for civillian law enforcment?"

      • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:52PM (#16099145)
        The question you should be asking is "Why is the Military being used for civillian law enforcment?"

        They're not. Here's a scenario for you:

        You're with a platoon of Marines assigned to guard a US Embassy, or perhaps to support the local military in their protection of a local elected official (say, the Interior Minister of Carjakistan, who is friendly to democracy but tends to have angry mobs pointed at him by his local political opponents in the city where they're trying to put together a function municipal government that doesn't involve daily beheadings). A couple of busses pull up with that day's duly designated Angry Mob(s). They start screaming, throwing rocks, etc. Then, some shots ring out from the crowd, at the Marines.

        So, they can fire over the heads of the crowd, hoping to disperse them. The people willing to attack some Marines don't really care about that tactic one way or the other, so that's something of a non-starter. Or, they can fire into the crowd, making them disperse into smaller body parts, and hopefully also killing the people who are shooting at whatever building they're in. That works, but has the unfortunate side effect of killing the people who were bussed in as angry-crowd-cover by the militants. Marines look bad on CNN for that one. Or, they can trot out a new toy or two that makes it pretty much unbearable to be in that crowd in the first place, AK-47 under your cross-dressing burkha or not. Unarmed civilians don't die, and Interior Minister gets to go to work on the police force that's ultimately supposed to handle these situations.

        If I'm a Marine, I'm all for this. Likewise Air Force MPs (who are often guarding facilities that get swamped with representatives from Unruly Crowd Central Casting), etc.
        • by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @06:04PM (#16100150) Homepage
          If I'm a Marine, I'm all for this. Likewise Air Force MPs (who are often guarding facilities that get swamped with representatives from Unruly Crowd Central Casting), etc.

          I am a Marine, one who's done a tour in Iraq already, and I can tell you we are literally dying to have something like this. The current ROE is such that you're severely limited in the action you can take when somebody starts shooting at you or your convoy. You basically can either choose not to respond at all (i.e. disengage) or you can choose to excercise deadly force. There is no option three.

          With all the reporters crawling around just hoping for a dead baby with an M-16 bullet lodged in it just in time for the evening let's-bash-the-U.S.-military evening newscast, I can assure you we all spend far too much time debating about pulling that trigger. We have dead Marines because of it, and because our enemy chooses to hide amongst civilians hoping we'll kill some of them. These people are animals, barbarians, sub-human scum, but don't get me started.

          With a reliable, ranged, non-lethal weapon of this type, we could be much more indiscriminate about how we apply it. Don't take that the wrong way; I don't mean we run around zapping everyone in sight. Instead, when a threat develops, we could "stun" the person without fear of wounding or killing non-combatants. Fewer dead Marines, fewer dead civilians, and (maybe) fewer dead terrorists (captured alive instead and then used as a useful source of intelligence). Only the stupidest Peacenik would oppose the availability of such a weapon. It would save lives no matter how you look at it.
    • Military tests them on animals, sensor-lined dummies.
      OMG the Military is... wait, what?
      PETA: testing them on ANIMALS!
      Everyone Else: Oh go away PETA.
      Dummies: OMG the Military is testing them on us!
      Everyone: OH SHIT ZOMBIE DUMMIES KEEP FIRING AT THEM! GET THE LETHAL WEAPONS BACK HERE!
  • Major Flaw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WebHostingGuy (825421) * on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:22PM (#16098824) Homepage Journal
    The major flaw in this is that the entire premise is based upon the fact that the military wants to win a public relations war rather than the real thing.

    Who cares if you are in a *war* and you hurt the enemy?

    Give me a break. When you get to the point where you are trying to care about what people think about you in a war you are losing. War is for one thing only--the destruction of your enemy.

    If you are very efficient and eliminate your enemy very quickly you can just write (rewrite) any PR you want to.
    • by lawpoop (604919)
      "Who cares if you are in a *war* and you hurt the enemy?"

      How about if you are bogged down in a peace-keeping and rebuilding operation where 90% of the population wants you out of their country and the Prime Minister has said it's okay to kill American troops? What if the only way out is to win the hearts and minds of the people so that they think they are better off than before you conquered their country? What if you need to disperse and angry and violent crowd without killing anyone so that you don't tur
    • Re:Major Flaw (Score:5, Informative)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:39PM (#16099002) Journal
      Give me a break. When you get to the point where you are trying to care about what people think about you in a war you are losing. War is for one thing only--the destruction of your enemy.
      Wars have always been fought for things other than destruction of your enemy.

      Independence (which doesn't require destruction of enemy.
      Territory (ditto).
      Other scarce resources (food, water, oil, gold, etc. -- doesn't necessarily require destruction of your enemy).

      War isn't about destroying your enemy (that's genocide you're thinking of, there). War is typically about the control of resources, and one of those resources is popular opinion. Plenty of wars have been fought for PR reasons -- an external enemy is one way of helping ensure you don't have to deal with an internal enemy.
    • Re:Major Flaw (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HarvardAce (771954) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:55PM (#16099166) Homepage
      Give me a break. When you get to the point where you are trying to care about what people think about you in a war you are losing. War is for one thing only--the destruction of your enemy.

      And this is why we're losing -- or at least not winning -- the "war" in Iraq. Wars in the last millenia are not like the ones you get in Civilization games -- they rarely (if ever) result in the total annihilation of the enemy, nor is that usually the goal of a war either. Wars with that goal in mind (e.g. the Germans in WWII) are doomed to fail because there are always more "them" than "us."

      Wars these days are as much ideological wars as they are wars over territory or economics. Especially in the war on terror, public relations is a huge issue (and perhaps the most important one). The problem we are currently having is that the insurgents are recruiting people faster than we can neutralize (either by killing or capturing) them. If we were to use unethical or excessive force in dealing with the insurgents, we will only succeed in driving more and more people to the insurgent's cause. Events such as the prison abuse scandal have hurt our efforts in Iraq and in neighboring regions. Some people will be driven to the insurgency regardless of what we do in the Middle East and across the globe, but we must take whatever steps possible (and reasonable) to limit the number of people who join the insurgency.

      If winning a war was just about destroying the enemy without regard to any reprecussions, we would just drop a ton of nukes on Iraq and Afghanistan and call it a day. Obviously the world does not work like that, and hasn't since the middle ages.

      • Re:Major Flaw (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @05:43PM (#16100037)
        Especially in the war on terror, public relations is a huge issue (and perhaps the most important one). The problem we are currently having is that the insurgents are recruiting people faster than we can neutralize (either by killing or capturing) them. If we were to use unethical or excessive force in dealing with the insurgents, we will only succeed in driving more and more people to the insurgent's cause. Events such as the prison abuse scandal have hurt our efforts in Iraq and in neighboring regions. Some people will be driven to the insurgency regardless of what we do in the Middle East and across the globe, but we must take whatever steps possible (and reasonable) to limit the number of people who join the insurgency.


        What's interesting is that in the past 50 years we've fought two or three such wars, losing every one and we still have optimists who believe "This time for sure!".

        You can't fight a war this way. The fundamental problem is not the rules have changed, but rather you start with a false assumption.

        This is not to say military might is not necessary. But it is necessary in the classic sense that you rejected and say is no longer possible. It exists in the sense of when all else has failed. It exists in the sense of the Powell Doctrine, that when you go you go balls to the walls. You throw everything at the war and end it quickly.

        Sun Tzu understood this. The Romans understood this. This is not a new concept.

        The problem is, in a republic like ours, war of this nature has to be justified. The President has to go to the people and say "We need your sons and daughters. We need your wealth. We need the sweat of your brow. With all these things, we can win this war." Franklin Roosevelt did that. No other President since has. It's interesting that FDR won WWII in not much more time than we've been in Iraq.

        So the problem is either the cowardice of Presidents to make that argument, or the lack of a proper justification of war, or maybe both. It's not because the rules changed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stalyn (662)
      Give me a break. When you get to the point where you are trying to care about what people think about you in a war you are losing. War is for one thing only--the destruction of your enemy.

      There is a difference between a war and an occupation. If in an occupation for every insurgent you kill you create 3 more you will never keep the country*. That is why in an occupation "winning the hearts and minds" is more important than military victory.

      *There is another option that have been proven throughout history to
    • I always thought... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd (1658)
      War is for one thing only--the destruction of your enemy.

      ...that war was about achieving strategic and tactical goals, preferably by causing minimal damage in the process. That destruction - whether of people, installations or anything else - is invariably going to cost so much more in the long-term (and encourage hostility, vengence, etc) that it is vastly cheaper to win without harming anyone or anything than it is to cause widespread devastation. That more wars were lost by slaughtering the enemy and wi

  • Sounds like a good idea! I vote we let pentagon officials test them on themselves before the rest of us, as a show of good faith.
  • From the article:

    "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press"

    You know, 'cause we're so well respected now. We wouldn't want to tarnish the US' image in the international community.

    • Why does he care more about the opinions of the world press than he does the opinions of the American press? Or, for that matter, why does he care more about the opinions of the world press than he does for the potential safety of American citizens?

      Sad to say it, but there already is a group to test these weapons on: American soldiers. Whether or not that's the way it should be, the government has been using solders as lab rats for decades. There have to be soldiers willing to volunteer to test (potentia
  • ...what they don't tell you is that there are plenty of brown "islamic" Americans who go to mosques and are likely to blow themselves up given half a chance.

    Or so they'd have us believe.

    This war on Humanity has driven me past the boundaries of sanity. Hand me my pills.

  • ...it would be a little bit of a doublespeak to say "Here are the fancy new non-lethal weapons we've been working on... but um, we'd rather use the old ways on US citizens." That means you either think they're ineffective and would rather use a gun, or they're only non-lethal in the most literal sense of the word and US citizens could make too much of a fuzz. In any case, I think "eating your own dogfood" would be a good way show that these weapons really are as good as claimed.
  • Really he's right.
    They are tested and documented less lethal weapons. Even if there is no intention to use them by the military, domestic use might help save lives and reduce injuries.

    If they really are less lethal they should be deployed domestically.
    It's good for Americans because it allows one more step before employing lethal weapons.

    It's politically safer to use them outside the US after they've been used domestically.

    With domestic riots they have a few options to control, adding another somewhere betw
  • To me, it sounds more like they're trying set a precedent for using microwave weapons against US citizens, and they've just decided this is the nicest way of going about doing that.

    Maybe I'm just paranoid. But it doesn't seem like a good idea.

    One day, it will be used to quell a violent outburst from some crowd. And, from then on, it could be used to take away our right to assembly. As if tear gas and rubber bullets weren't enough.

    I'm all about keeping a crowd under control, but we can't allow something that
  • Why stop now? They've been doing things like this for years, especially to the military. Anthrax shots, nuclear testing, yellow fever, etc. Since at least 1943 they've been biological tests [raceandhistory.com] on people, typically without their knowledge.

    Luckily I never had to take any of the anthrax shots while in the Navy, but I remember talking to another Navy guy who said part of the enlistment contract requires service members to accept drug testing on them. That's why the anthrax shots were so debilitating; they were
  • War is heck? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hahnsoo (976162) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:33PM (#16098947)
    This is one of those news stories that can be easily spun to be pro- and anti-Military, pro- and anti-American, pro- and anti-Democracy, etc. Is it really such a big deal? There are many forms of non-lethal measures out on the market already being used by law enforcement and even civilian populations. There are FAR more lethal measures both in use by law enforcement and civilians (everything from kitchen knives to a Honda Accord). After spending many years using science to develop new and exciting ways to kill each other, it's odd that there would be a controversial story about using science to develop new and exciting ways to NOT kill each other. Being hit by a Thomas A Swift Electric Raygun isn't fun, but at least I know I have a good chance of surviving it.
  • "The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations"

    There are so many things wrong with this quote, that that I'm having trouble even starting to comment. Except maybe to say that I sincerely hope that most US citizens remember remarks like these when they go to the polls this fall.

    This is unbelievable, even in this administration where sadly, one has come to expect this type of mentality. BTW - Let me say that I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      AquaBoy wrote:

      This is unbelievable, even in this administration where sadly, one has come to expect this type of mentality. BTW - Let me say that I am a registered Republican before I get flamed by all the NeoCons.

      That you are a registered republican, I find forgiveable. What you (Mr Republican) and I (Mr Socialist) have in common is this: we believe in the rule of law and the government as a utility for positive public policy. You and I can (and will) disagree with a WIDE range of what the .gov should

  • After all the liberty limiting, rights abolishing moves, now your administration, in conjunction with the military, is preparing to literally beat down u.s. citizens.

    What a wonderful entourage is that you voted to govern your country !!!
  • When the new high-power sonar systems were being tested, they asked for SCUBA divers to participate. This was at a certain test location that is literally out in the middle of the ocean. It wasn't like they took you out there. You were either already there or you weren't. Among other things, the time that divers were in the water, and the exact spot were requested, along with personal experiences and observations of what the "wildlife" was doing. Since the location is a remote base, they were pretty
  • From TFA:

    Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

    It isn't about the military testing it on civilians at all, nor is it about the military using it on US Citizens either (you may not realize this but the military (Army/Navy/Air Force/Coast Guard/Marines) does not get deployed against civilian populations; at worst it'd be the National Guard which is sup

  • From the article:

    Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices.

    On another subject, Wynne said he expects to choose a new contractor for the next generation aerial refueling tankers by next summer...


    So only 1/3 of the article is actually about non-lethal weapon testing. Seems like right about where they should have given more details about the new weapons,
  • Air Force Techie #1: We've got some new non-lethal weapons we need to test before sending them out into the field. Any ideas?
    Air Force Techie #2: Hmmm....yeah, actually. * Goes and posts on Slashdot *
    Slashdot Hordes: Onoes! They're planning to use weapons against American citizens! We should start a riot!

    ...outside weapons lab...

    Angry Mob: We demand you don't use those weapons on American citizens!
    Air Force Guard #1: That mob is getting pretty close. Guess we should get on with it then.
    Air For
  • Out of context (Score:4, Informative)

    by liak12345 (967676) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @03:42PM (#16099042)
    I think he just stated his point poorly. It isn't that he wants to test them on US citizens, it is that- If we're developing weapons to use on civilians that are supposed to be non-lethal BUT we're afraid to use them on our own citizens THEN we're not really sure that they're non-lethal and shouldn't be used. If we are secure enough in their safety that we would be willing to use them at home then they are ready to be used overseas. He isn't advocating rounding up citizens to shoot guns at. He's focusing on safety.
  • Wasteful (Score:4, Funny)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:07PM (#16099275) Homepage
    This is why we Americans invade small countries: to get test subjects! Why waste them?
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @04:31PM (#16099515)
    You want to test your new weapons on Americans exercising their constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Perhaps it's time we test our old weapons on governments who have forgotten that they work for us.

    Using this stuff on Americans is about the quickest and surest way to guarantee that the second scenario happens.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @08:10PM (#16100746)
    It would make a change from the current policy of testing them out on foreigners.
  • by Wiseleo (15092) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:16PM (#16101091) Homepage
    How about 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C.?

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