Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wynne Shoots Good Idea in the Foot

From CNN:
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.
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne really needs to think about what he is saying before sticking his foot in his mouth. Testing weapons, even non-lethal ones, on non-volunteer Americans sounds like a really bad idea. Stated that way it is.

However, there is a very good idea behind what Mr. Wynne was trying to say. Anyone who has been following what our military has actually been doing the last 10 years will note that they do a whole lot more nation-building, peace-keeping, and policing than actual combat. At the same time their arsenal for such non-lethal situations is woefully inadequate. They need better non-lethal weapons as an addition to their weapons mix to match the missions they now have.

How do you select which kinds of non-lethal weapons to add? It stands to reason that those which are proven effective in action should be used. What I hope Mr. Wynne was saying is that the military should be using non-lethal weapons that have been shown to be effective in police actions because those are the situations that the Air Force finds itself in.

Law enforcement agencies already have these kinds of weapons and continue to acquire new ones. They use them when necessary: No need to arrange any specific tests. Some of them do work better than others. That is where the Air Force should go to find out what works and then acquire their non-lethal weapons accordingly.

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