Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.
Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions in the international community over any possible safety concerns, said Secretary Michael Wynne.
But what are these weapons anyway? According to New Scientist, the weapon causes "intolerable" pain within 5 seconds. And how safe is it?
VOLUNTEERS taking part in tests of the Pentagon's "less-lethal" microwave weapon were banned from wearing glasses or contact lenses due to safety fears. The precautions raise concerns about how safe the Active Denial System (ADS) weapon would be if used in real crowd-control situations.
The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage (New Scientist, 27 October 2001, p 26).
But have no fear, here is the air force's plans for preventing vicious burns:
People's reflex responses to the pain is expected to force them to move out of the beam before their skin can be burnt.
Okay, let me the first to say it. There is no need to use this in the US -- and who would be the targets? Two bets: liberal protesters and minorities. And there's no need for it anywhere else. This is a cruel weapon that will cause disaster for our international reputation.