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Toys United States Technology

More on Next-Generation Army Gear 653

An anonymous reader writes "The Army is funding development of new super suits. From the article: 'The Army's future soldier will resemble something out of a science fiction movie'. 'The new system has the ability for each soldier to be tied into tactical local and wide-area networks with an onboard computer that sits at the base of the soldier's back' and 'The helmet has sensors that register vibrations of the cranial cavity so [soldiers] don't have to have a microphone'. The article features several photos of the suits."
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More on Next-Generation Army Gear

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  • yeah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#9870959)
    "Rico's Roughnecks, hooaahhh!"
    • Re:yeah (Score:2, Insightful)

      I don't think a single one of us who's read the book thought differently when they saw this article.
      • Re:yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) *
        I think the worst thing about the movie they made is that it'll almost certainly prevent an accurate movie translation of the novel from ever being made, and that's quite sad - there are some powerful messages in the novel. *sigh*
    • Mobile Infantry (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hellburner ( 127182 )
      "To the everlasting glory of the infantry
      shines the name
      shines the name
      of Rodger Young!"
  • Bleex? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CommanderData ( 782739 ) * <<kevinhi> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#9870966)
    From the Article:
    The uniform from the waist down will have a robotic-powered system that is connected directly to the soldier. This system could use pistons to actually replicate the lower body, giving the soldier "upwards of about 300 percent greater lifting and load-carriage capability," DeGay said. "We are looking at potentially mounting a weapon directly to the uniform system and now the soldier becomes a walking gun platform."

    I suspect that they may be calling on Berkeley for their Bleex [berkeley.edu] project on this one. The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton exists now, and I'd imagine with 10 or 15 years to work on it they could easily meet the 300% lifting and load carrying requirements. Of course the Japanese have envisioned soldiers as walking gun platforms for years. I wonder how long it'll be before we see Mecha Warriors in real life...
    • Re:Bleex? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by strictnein ( 318940 ) * <strictfoo-slashdotNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:37PM (#9871024) Homepage Journal
      How about the nano-fibers they're going to produce to increase strength by 25-30%? I'm assuming they'll actually figure that one out at about the same time we get our flying cars.

      Ok, some of this stuff would be pretty damn rad. And the idea that the combat gear that will be available in 2020 will "absorb unlimited numbers of machine-gun rounds" is all nice and everything (although, the fact that Jean-Louis "Dutch" DeGay keeps dropping the word "nanotechnology" makes me hesitant). But how the hell is this all going to be powered? Health monitors, WAN, radio, fancy optical display, etc, plus all of the other gear they need (lights, night-vision, etc), plus a power supply of some sort (battery/solar?) all super rugid and topping out at 50 pounds (~23 KG). I wish them the best, but right now, I don't think so.
      • Well, you'll need a battery that won't be damaged by impacts. Then I'd probably go with a piezoelectric power source in the shoes. I remember hearing about a guy who recharged NiCads that way.

        Or you could put a reciprocol moter powerd by air pressure generated from flexing of the gloves. Or even a simple hand crank+dynamo that you sit down and wind whenever you have the time.
      • Re:Bleex? (Score:5, Funny)

        by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:14PM (#9871475) Homepage
        But how the hell is this all going to be powered?

        It is obvious. By the two wheeled battery cart the soldier pulls behind him/her.
      • Re:Bleex? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ePhil_One ( 634771 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:19PM (#9871523) Journal
        ...all super rugid and topping out at 50 pounds (~23 KG).

        Hence the need for a powered exoskeleton that increases carrying capacity 300%. 50% of the increase will be devoted to carrying the power/battery system.

        I'm curious about this personal armor that can take a machine gun round in stride, simple momentum tells me that isn't really possible. And speaking of momentum, I'm imagining these super soldiers having all sorts of maneuverability issues, encumbered by armor, exoskeletons, and all manner of electronics. Maybe you equip one squad as these human tanks, but you still need normal soldiers for walking to the second floor of shoddy third worls construction, entering buildings/tunnels stealthily, etc.

        Useful cool tech:

        Better/fuller armor. We don't lose as many lives, but soldiers are losing a lot of hands/feet/arms/etc. Folks are going to realize this soon.

        Video gun sights. Stay behind that wall and just stick you gun into the line of fire.

        Better communications. Securely relay each soldiers location back to tactical command so reinforcments/flanking actions/artilery hits the right spot.

        Anti-Sniper systems. Radar systems track bullets back to the sniper location and fire a response within 3 seconds of first shot. Bring a new meaning to "one shot one kill" to enemy snipers.

        Remote mini guns. Why send humans into an enemy held building. Send a team of remote controlled armored Uzi's into a the bulding.

        • Re:Bleex? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @04:07PM (#9872043) Homepage
          Simple momentum? Just how heavy do you think those bullets are?

          m1v1 = m2v2
          m1 = 20g
          v1 = 1400 mph (mach 2 - unrealisticly fast)
          m2 = 200lbs (light guy with equipment)

          v2 = 0.3 mph

          0.3 mph isn't much of a hit. And of course, the numbers are way high - if the bullet goes any distance it is probably going far slower.

          Granted, I still wouldn't want to be shot, but if the force were spread out over your entire body, you'd have no problem taking the hit at all - and of course that is all that body armor does - that and spread the impulse over more time, reducing the force.
        • Re:Bleex? (Score:5, Funny)

          by Thangodin ( 177516 ) <elentarNO@SPAMsympatico.ca> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @07:47PM (#9874309) Homepage
          Remote mini guns. Why send humans into an enemy held building. Send a team of remote controlled armored Uzi's into a the bulding.

          In which case, why send the soldier at all? Just imagine the horror of all those first person shooter afficienados, finally unleashed to control remote drones on the other side of the world.

          The ultimate low-ping bastard!

          And if you get hit, well, the respawn point is just back at the machine carrier.
      • Re:Bleex? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tgd ( 2822 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:35PM (#9871693)
        I can see into the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology out my cube window... we joke about the damn gnats in the office being nano-soldier transports.

        When they opened the ISN, they had a big shindig in the courtyard, and they were showing off some of this stuff. Its not a matter of "I'm assuming they'll actually figure that one out at about the same time we get our flying cars." its a matter of "I'm assuming they'll actually figure out how to manufacture these at a reasonable cost by 2020."

        These are plans for technologies they're already fairly along with, not pie-in-the-sky stuff.
      • It's "easy" to kill a tank. 10 inches of armour and a 20kg shoulder fired missile can still kill it.

        You can power an exoskeleton suit with batteries, fuel cell, gas turbine, whatever but all that energy you are using ends up as heat anyway, wearing it you are going to be lit up like a christmas tree in the infrared. The number of machine gun rounds it can absorb will be near irrelevant because the opposition are going to be raining anti-tank armaments down on you.

    • Why have soldiers? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:54PM (#9871251) Homepage Journal
      If you've got a robotic exoskeleton and a wide area network, why not just pilot the soldier remotely?

      Seems to make a lot more sense than still sending a real person in... plus the army would have no trouble getting recruits to play counterstrike.
    • I remember at one point the military was looking for a full robotic exoskeleton that went above and below the waist. I believe that they gave up and decided to persue lower-body-only technology because they were running into problems with the exoskeleton ripping the tendons and ligaments of those who wore the suit prototypes. The human stretch reflex is a function of the central nervous system and is designed to prevent limbs from being placed into positions that stress the connective tissues. Obviously,

    • Psssst! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Audacious ( 611811 )
      The uniform from the waist down will have a robotic-powered system that is connected directly to the soldier.

      Psssst! Wanna see my gun? ;-)

      This just really does beg to be joked about. And as for the nano-technology; I see lots of problems. For instance - how does the nanobots know the difference between the person and the clothing? Will they accidentally convert the person's skin from one thing to another? Think about it - one of the reasons crimes get solved is because all things leave traces of them
  • Heinlein (Score:5, Interesting)

    by w1r3sp33d ( 593084 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#9870967)
    Too bad the designers watched the movie instead of reading the book!
    • Re:Heinlein (Score:5, Informative)

      by magefile ( 776388 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:58PM (#9871289)
      For those who haven't read the book, or haven't seen the movie, the parent is not saying that watching the movie kept the designers from seeing the suits (which I understand were removed from the movie(, but that the book emphasized repeatedly the fact that a soldier is a soldier. That the armor is nice, but the real power is the mind inside it. There's a scene where one recruit asks (during boot camp) why they're learning to throw knives when they have rifles, machine guns, tac nukes, ad infinitum. The drill seargant's response is that an army can't let a temporary malfunction or lack of tech stop them from achieving their objective - and further, that massive tech is not always the best solution.
  • by Klar ( 522420 ) <curchinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#9870970) Homepage Journal
    Great.. now we can look-forward to our individual soldiers suits being hacked and controled by the enemy.
    • by strike2867 ( 658030 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:56PM (#9871266)
      Imagine a battlefield full of these guys all on the ground hitting themselves. A single North Korean nerd on the other side of the field. Laughing hysterically while muttering "Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself..."
    • I'd be curious to know how they're going to maintain the WAN without it being a radio beacon for the enemy to spot. Frequency hopping would help a little, but I'm sure a creative engineer could work around that.

      It's like a portable target beacon for missiles!
    • Your suit's Clock may be incorrect. Blink once to install Gator Suit Commander or Blink twice to trust our software.

      Imagine yourself in the battlefield and suddenly a red blinking popup in your eye. Is it an enemy alert, battery low maby? No, your one of the 500 lucky people, Blink once to receive....wtf?
  • One Question: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#9870972)

    Who are we going to be fighting with this stuff? Terrorists? Belgium?

    • Re:One Question: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:36PM (#9871010) Homepage Journal
      "Who are we going to be fighting with this stuff? Terrorists? Belgium?"

      Notice this is defense spending instead of offense spending. Build these things, train our soldiers on them, and nobody's gonna wanna fight us.

      (That's the theory anyway.)
      • Re:One Question: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Heh, the problem is that we cannot keep this technology exclusive forever. China is using a lot of US money to modernize it's military, and after the US pissed off a lot of countries in Europe, they want to lift the ban on trade of weapons to China.
        Nothing stays exclusive for long(unless of course it is never deployed!), from defectors to captured/dead soldiers, abandoned gear for reverse engineering, keeping military technology a secret is very difficult. Why do you think the engineers for defense contr
      • by Engineer-Poet ( 795260 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:50PM (#9871196) Homepage Journal
        Build these things, train our soldiers on them, and nobody's gonna wanna fight us.
        ... on the conventional battlefield. Truck bombs in financial districts, airliners into skyscrapers and anthrax through the mail will be quite viable weapons no matter how much better our infantry gets.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Hey Wayne, what a bummer, who's James Bond gonna fight now, man, the Guatemalans?"

      -Waynes World on SNL, around the end of the Cold War, roughly paraphrased because I was a little young at the time;)
    • The government will always make sure that we have someone to fight.
      • Re:Don't worry... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rvega ( 630035 )
        It's not a matter of whether the war is not real, or if it is, Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous ... In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact. (George Orwell, 1984)
    • Re:One Question: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DAldredge ( 2353 )
      China
    • by Blacklantern ( 658383 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:49PM (#9871180)
      Who are we going to be fighting with this stuff? Terrorists? Belgium?

      Nope we will be fighting giant squid-like robots that fly in spiral patterns.
  • by dancingmad ( 128588 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:33PM (#9870978)
    Man, they look just like normal suits with some extra crap on the front.

    I was hoping for some anime utility suit or Gundam mech you climb inside of or something.
  • by Frothy Walrus ( 534163 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:33PM (#9870983)
    When wars are fought from 15 miles up now anyway?
  • Whatever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by propellerhead_prime ( 777032 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:33PM (#9870988)
    Remember when the Army made the big announcement about everyone wearing black berets? That took damn near 18 months to implement and no batteries were required. If this happens anytime during our generation I will be stunned. What they really need are a better pair of standard issue boots...that would be money well spent for the soldiers.
  • by kisrael ( 134664 ) * on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#9870993) Homepage
    It's worth RTFA, because of some absolutely choice quotes:

    "the 2020 model will remind you of an ominous creature out of a science fiction movie"

    I love the use of "ominous"

    "When you have a uniform with this new nanotechnology, it can absorb unlimited numbers of machine-gun rounds,"

    Wouldn't that get kind of heavy?

    "We are looking at potentially mounting a weapon directly to the uniform system and now the soldier becomes a walking gun platform."

    Now THAT sounds like fun...
    • They [presumably] don't mean absorb as in the lead will become embedded in or otherwise part of the armor, they mean it can absorb whatever impact the round itself doesn't absorb, which means the round doesn't penetrate though it may deform. I'd like to know what kind and what caliber of machine gun rounds we're talking about, though. If they're big enough you're going to be knocking people over if nothing else, then while they're on their back maybe you can drop a bomb on them :) Mounting a weapon directly
  • No really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by barcodez ( 580516 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#9870996)
    The Army's future soldier will resemble something out of a science fiction movie.

    And here is my thinking they would look like something out of a period drama.
  • Linux? (Score:2, Funny)

    by dinosaurJoe ( 754892 )
    Does it run Linux?
  • Full Control? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zalas ( 682627 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:35PM (#9871004) Homepage
    Given the amount of electronics and sensors the soldier is wearing, would the army also incorporate "feedback units" like adrenaline injectors and tranquilizers or would it be too prone to hacking?
    • They'd probably do it the way it was done in Steakley's Armor (and many others, but that's the only one that comes to mind) - through physical switches only locally accessible, presumably in a totally separated system. This lets someone else in your squad come up and hit you with a painkiller or a tranq if need be.
  • Stormtroopers... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by avalys ( 221114 ) *
    The guy on the left in this [defenselink.mil] photo looks like a black stormtrooper.
    • The Army's future soldier will resemble something out of a science fiction movie

      So are they the good guys are the bad guys?

      They ought to make the suits look blue or pink or put one of those Walmart smiley faces on them :P.

  • Target wi-fi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:38PM (#9871029)
    A counter measure to this would be 'sniffers' looking for these signals. Program guided warheads/projectiles and you could have a relatively easy kill.

    Wonder if these suits will come with an excessive moisture sensor? ("I think Johnson has just entered combat - or is incontinent").
  • Look at the solider in the black [defenselink.mil]. Make it white and we're pretty damn close to having our boys overseas looking like Storm Troopers. All that remains is for Bush to claim himself Emporer, and Chaney to learn the secrets of the Dark Side and become horribly disfigured in some sort of Volcano-related accident.
  • We're Doomed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AcidFnTonic ( 791034 )
    Judging by the screenshots, they are using Windows.
    • Worse, if you look closer you'll see that they're using Windows to run Java applets!
  • by Osrin ( 599427 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:39PM (#9871051) Homepage
    ...that with the billions of dollars invested in this project that they would have chosen a manakin that still had it's nose intact.
  • I have often wondered how much of such technology is developed from self fulfilling prophecies. Science fiction writers look at present technology and wonder what it could be. Years later people influenced by said science fiction writings eventually go through school and get jobs designing such technology and wonder how they could make it work in the real world. It's a loop of sorts, creating ever higher expectations.
  • by Wizzy Wig ( 618399 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:41PM (#9871071)
    From the article: "A medic, who can be miles away, will now be able to diagnose and treat a soldier who is about to have sunstroke, without even physically seeing the soldier.

    Radio traffic: "Alpha Bravo Charlie appears to be out of action! Doctor, can you give us a report on his telemetry?

    Doctor: "Is he wearing that black, 50 pound Darth Vader suit?"

    Radio traffic: "Yes!"

    Doctor: "It's probably sun stroke."

  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:44PM (#9871104)
    From the hi-res looks of things [defenselink.mil], the year 2020 soldier (on the left in black) is gonna promote friendly fire casualties with his mask all fogged up.
  • For all X, the future X will resemble something out of a science fiction movie. So trivially it's true for X=soldiers.
  • by sanermind ( 512885 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:45PM (#9871117)
    If the soldiers on the ground are going to be so completely dependent on electrical equipment? These things don't have to be a giant explosion any more, either. I believe there has been progress in directional, possibly portable, EM-disabling weapons. I know. Let's put all the soldiers in faraday cages! Mosquito netting for the 22nd century!
  • by LowBrow ( 794091 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:45PM (#9871129)
    The Army has is all wrong. Instead of spending money and the U.S. soldier, they should just outsource the soldiers and have other nations fight for us. It works for corporations, why not the Army...
    • actually the romans tried that one, it didn't work
    • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:05PM (#9871379)
      Private security firms are operating as de facto soldiers in Iraq. Bet it makes the ground troops feel good to know the people work for Blackwater Security are earning 5x what they are.

      I like the fine staff these firms bring to the operation - like Apartheid-era South Africans with warrants in their own country for crimes against humanity.

    • Why did you get marked funny? This has been a critical point in Bush's plan.

      The Iraq war and the Afghanistan conflict are a training arena for the world's army for when we storm North Korea. Did you notice the second largest army in Iraq is now South Korea and no longer Britain? Humm... 1 + 1 = ?

      Imagine a large, well-trained, peaceful army in Iraq. That would be two large, well-trained peaceful armies in the area. Imagine how much effect they will have, even with no American soldiers within 2,000 miles!

      W
  • "In Soviet Russia, suit wears you!"


    Somebody put me out of my misery.

  • by Daedalus_ ( 38808 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:49PM (#9871184)

    "...an onboard computer that sits at the base of the soldier's back"

    People into concealed-carry handguns have been warning each other about carrying anything hard against the small of your back for quite a while. The thought is that a backwards fall could damage your spine quite nicely.

  • So now.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:50PM (#9871192)
    Terrorists will concentrate on building EMP bombs.
  • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:52PM (#9871222)
    stealth velcro [google.com].

    Yes, thats right. Back in the late 80s or early 90s the US military wanted to use velcro for pockets and whatnot on military uniforms. Unfortunately, none of the higher ups had ever used velcro, nor knew that velcro made a swwwissh ripping noise when opened, so when they arrived, the soldiers thought they might get shot if they opened their pocket for a condom or something. So they spent many more millions of dollars to invent stealth velcro.

    Today they use snaps and zippers.
  • by slusich ( 684826 ) * <slusich@gmaPLANCKil.com minus physicist> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:58PM (#9871292)
    The infantry already carries a huge amount of weight with them at this point. All of this stuff is really cool from a tech standpoint, but the last thing a soldier really needs is more wieght.
  • Quotable (Score:3, Funny)

    by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:05PM (#9871383) Homepage
    I love this quote (emphasis mine):

    "The Future Force Warrior will be a responsive and formidable member of an invincible battle space team," DeGay explained, describing the system scheduled to be fielded by 2010."

    Invincible eh? That's some pretty neat gear... does it include a quick dipping in the River Styx?
  • Dressed to die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demo9orgon ( 156675 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:12PM (#9871458) Homepage
    Politicians, bullshit artists, college kids, and people who don't have to wear/live with the bullshit can't possibly appreciate just how stupid the "future warrior" plan is.

    This whole "future" warrior schtick will complicate soldier's life (hauling 150lbs of crap everywhere you go, being accountable for it and its condition, and having to haul your wounded buddies ass out of 'the shit'), which is hard enough as it is. The Pentagon needs to leave the toys in the locker and make better decisions. The things I always thought about when I was 'humpin' around with my lpc's and m16 with alice on my back were something like this...

    Light, effective weapons (caseless ammo, call-home capability, lightweight/composite tech, and imprinting to the soldier are do-able)

    Miniturized/ruggedized commo which works with implanted chips (if you're a soldier, your ass is 0wn3d anyway) which give biotelemetry without bullshit readouts. Only the medic/commanders need to see what condition a soldier is in. They could even aggregate the data.

    Limb-replacement tech...yes, regrow your amputated bits. Rehabilitiation tech needs to pull its sorry butt into the new century.

    Immune system amping (be able to eat/drink just about anything), better treatments for bacterial infections and 'derm' tech which would give the soldier a patch that would help sustain their opitate/endorphin/adrenaline balances...combat the stress of combat. When people aren't going apeshit in-ranks casualties are significantly reduced (yes, a chemical-control cocktail). Got a buddy who has crapped himself after that last RPG took out the track behind yours? Just step on his neck and slap one of these patches on his ass and don't worry about him hosing everyone in a panic.

    Good food.

    The ability to eat anything would be helpful too.

    Oh, and having the soldiers adapt to and understand the culture they're going to be fighting with/in. There's more than one way to win a war.

    Yeah, as usual, compared to what would really make a difference (don't even go towards the "not fight in the first place" argument--humanity sucks) a bunch of neato armor bits and some computer stuff is really a very easy way out.

    Cheers.
  • Useless... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey ( 83763 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:40PM (#9871744) Journal
    Money would be better spent teaching the solders the local langauge, customs and religion. Have you seen those videos of US solders busting into Iraq homes and yelling in English?! Gee I wonder why they hate us. If they are wearing silly hi-tech suits they'll be even more alien.
  • by Hortensia Patel ( 101296 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @05:39PM (#9873016)

    There are several Funny-modded posts pointing out that the 2020 suit looks like a Darth Vader costume. Hell, even the mil spokesman describes it as "ominous". Nobody seems to see this as a drawback. The damn things look evil.

    A lot of planning nowadays assumes that the most likely conflict scenarios involving US forces are so-called "fourth-generation wars", where cultural perceptions and media strategy are as important as hardware. The intifada is still the textbook example. Those kids weren't throwing stones because they didn't have access to guns. They were throwing stones because stones against tanks makes a great video-bite for the media.

    So: on the "imperial" side we have legions of anonymous mooks in hulking black armour and face-concealing visors. Backed up by horrifying robotic killing machines. On the "rebel" side we have rag-tag, lightly-armed folk in nice earth-hued organic-looking clothing. Got that? Now put it on a TV screen. Regardless of your political views on a given conflict, there is a huge amount of cultural programming that leads Western viewers to root for the rebels. (Non-Western viewers generally don't need much convincing.)

    Another, more worrying aspect: there is a lot of experimental and real-world evidence to show that the willingness of troops, police etc to commit atrocities is strongly correlated with their anonymity. Visors and even sunglasses increase the likelihood; big bold nametags reduce it. Anything that makes eye-contact difficult also makes it harder to win the trust of any locals you have to deal with.

    And haven't these people even read the Evil Overlord List [eviloverlord.com]? It's item #1 for crying out loud!

  • by charvolant ( 224858 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @07:14PM (#9874008) Homepage
    I know that armies always prepare for the last war, but this is getting faintly ridiculous.

    Large quantities of heavy metal doesn't always achieve the objective. And the US has a consitent record of losing the lot by calling in an airstrike when a cup of tea would have done a better job. This is just more of the same.

    If you have a look at what nations with a successful peacekeeping and low intensity warfare record (eg. Finland, the UK and Australia) do, they make sure that they don't look like robocop. They take their helmets off, so that they are regarded as human beings. They're polite (well, politeish). They don't rely on sensor systems; they talk to people.

    All the technology in the world won't overcome cluelessness and myopia.

Real computer scientists don't program in assembler. They don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil.

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