2004-07-25

Non-lethal Weapons als Killer-Applikation?

--- Die New York Times berichtet in ihrem Magazin über eine weitere Baustelle des Pentagon, die auf den gut durchgesponnenen Namen Active Denial System hört. Die so genannten Non-lethal Weapons sollen sich demnach als "Killer-Applikation" (bzw. eben gerade als "Non-Killer-App.") auf den Schlachtfeldern in Afghanistan und Irak (und darüber hinaus) erweisen. That, in essence, is the point of a new generation of nonlethal weapons being developed by the military: to enforce and do battle without killing, or in the words of the Defense Department, ''to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel and undesired damage to property and the environment.'' Along with the Active Denial System, the military is testing bullets that disintegrate in mid-air, propelling their nonlethal payload to their targets, slimy goo that stops people in their tracks and, eventually, guns that shoot pulses of plasma energy that stun and disorient. In an era when the American military increasingly finds itself in situations where civilians and combatants can be difficult to distinguish between, and when the line between soldiering and policy has blurred, nonlethal weapons could prove useful. At the same time, such nonlethals might be abused, like any other weapon. Still, in a world where the tolerance for ''collateral'' casualties is fast diminishing and where soldiers return home haunted by their ''kills,'' such novel weapons, if made to work, could well make war less hellish.