Overwhelming democracy

The US military will be introducing a “Star Wars” style gun in Iraq next year, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety. MSNBC reports: “The Active Denial System weapon, classified as “less lethal” by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds. The idea is that people caught in the beam will rapidly try to move out of it and therefore break up the crowd.”

New Scientist has published concerns about the weapon. “How do you ensure that the dose doesn’t cross the threshold for permanent damage?” asks Neil Davison, coordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at Britain’s Bradford University. “Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?”

Is this the kind of weapon Australian troops may be using during their deployment in Iraq? Will any journalists actually ask the Defence Minister this question? Unlikely. Much easier, as the Sydney Morning Herald pontificates today, to simply mouth official platitudes and champion the US goal of bringing democracy to the country, whatever the costs.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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