Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Science to the Rescue!

by Jim Glover

Good news.

A microwave weapon has been developed to curb unruly crowds in Iraq. The invention will enable our brave men and women in uniform to herd unpleasant crowds in whatever direction is deemed to be in their best interests by American generals. And this is crucial, as “concern mounts over the growing number of civilians killed in fighting.”

It seems the weapon shoots a microwave –or “high-powered electromagnetic beam” – that quickly heats the water in the target’s skin. It is true that this causes “intolerable pain.” But as soon as the microwave stops, “the pain disappears.”

This does raise, for me at least, a few questions. The first is, “What if the microwave doesn’t stop?” What if one of our brave men and women in uniform decides to keep training that beam onto the face or arm or chest or genitals of some unfortunate bystander? How long would it take before the boiling of skin water causes real damage? How long until the pain doesn’t stop even when the microwave does?

Here’s another question: will inflicting unendurable pain on civilians – even if briefly – really “prevent further damage to relations between American troops and the Iraqi population”? According to the Telegraph, it will, because said civilians will be thankful they are not dead.

I also wonder about the potential use of such weapons against peaceful demonstrators right here at home or in other “allied” countries. The “Telegraph” article says the Pentagon “believes that the weapons will be particularly useful in urban conflict.” No doubt.

In any case, as America’s greatest songwriting team, Sonny and Cher, once observed, the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain. Men still keep on marchin’ off to war. Nation-states keep finding better ways to control the pesky people.

And scientists keep avoiding inconvenient questions about the fruits of their labor.

(all quotes from: