The recently released Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Reference Book shows the current listing of mostly useless gadgets, some of which can kill or maim people, currently fielded for the US military. Some have bled into US police forces as a result of the weapons manufacturing boom and national militarization brought on by the forever war on terror. And we know how bombing fear and anxiety worldwide has worked out. Good for share value at the Raytheons!
In the past the military's non-lethal wish list was crapped up with really bad notions from the national labs and small natsec business America. These encompassed the idea you could use or develop exotic chemicals to spray on people and hardware.
This meant sticky foams, suds and various agents to allegedly corrode metal and materials or disable people. Over more than a decade none of this panned out.
Or a very few sensible people figured out spraying toxic chemicals around, in effect -- trying to imitate industrial accidents on a small scale as a way of destroying equipment and controlling crowds, was a genuinely nuts thing.
So that's gone.
In the place of it, a doubling down on trivial engineering applications in dousing people with pepper spray or blinding them with green lasers.
Does the US military (and, by extension, the police forces of this nation and those who buy from us) really need a Claymore mine redesigned to blast protesters with little hard rubber balls?
One could easily make a decent case against it.
There is also a fetish for using loud noise broadcasting devices to control crowds. Earplugs and bad weather render the dollar investment a total waste.
In the totally notional area, the US military still wants to use non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse rays. It wants to put them in drones, on small naval vessels, everywhere you can imagine for turning off all the alleged cars, boats, planes and whirring things of those on the other side of the barriers of Fortress America.
Bad photoshopping, bad wishful thinking.
However, these projects are all dubbed "conceptual."
In the real world that translates as: Can't make them work. And this is for various reasons, all having to do with over-reliance on magical thinking and limitations imposed by the laws of physics and nature.
They're kept alive mostly as high button corporate welfare for electrical and aerospace engineers.
The old-fashioned mostly non-lethal weapons. Optionally/alternatively, the Mitt Romney Blues.
This post was originally published at Dick Destiny blog.