978-0-312-19416-1 / 9780312194161

Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Modern Warfare


Publisher:Thomas Dunne Books



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About the book:

"Non-lethal weapons" may sound like an oxymoron, or something found only on Alice in Wonderland battlefields. In reality, however, they are important security tools for armies and law enforcement officials (think tasers and tear gas). Author John Alexander describes all the justifications for non-lethal weapons: they come in handy during peacekeeping operations, help combat terrorism, and head off revenge before it is sought. ("They thank you when they wake up and they're not dead," a Las Vegas cop tells Alexander.) The most fascinating parts of Future War, however, are the descriptions of cutting-edge weapons. The sticky foam gun, for example, immobilizes targets by spraying a powerful gluelike adhesive on them. Acoustic blasters issuing low-intensity pulses can cause "perceptual disorientation" among troops. One antivehicle technology called the Silver Shroud "is a ballistically deployed polymer film that literally wraps up a targeted vehicle." A set of accompanying photographs--illustrations are one of Future War's attractions--shows a car becoming enveloped in a sheet of aluminum foil. Perhaps the most bizarre non-lethal weapon in this fascinating book involves scattering pheromones (a chemical substance that evokes sexual responses in members of the same species) on an area to make it uninhabitable. Writes Alexander, "Imagine trying to sleep or work in an area that is attracting every ant, cockroach, or spider from miles around." No thanks: better to lose a battle than fight that kind of enemy. And that's exactly the point. --John J. Miller

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