Non-lethal Weapons--a Fatal Attraction?: Military Strategies and Technologies for 21st Century Conflict

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Zed Books, 1997 - Political Science - 158 pages
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Laser weapons, optical munitions causing blinding, electrical stunners, infrasound beams to disorient people, repeat pulse microwave devices, and a whole range of new chemical weapons (super-corrosives, super-adhesives, anti-traction and embrittling substances) - the list of new generation, hi-tech anti-personnel and anti-materield weaponry is a long one. These so-called non-lethal weapons are the subject of this remarkable book on an arms race which the general public has hardly yet heard of. Yet, in the brave new world of post-cold war 'benign interventions' - from Bosnia to Somalia - American, British and other Western armed forces are busy pursuing a variety of new devices which, they hope, will cause fewer civilian, and also fewer military, casualties and so excite less popular opposition. Various police forces are also interested as they confront increasingly alienated communities and urban riots. This book tells us what the new weapons are, how they work, and the burgeoning body of policy and doctrine relating to their deployment. It describes how this military hi-tech is already beginning to be used and the health risks, ethical implications and human rights consequences involved. The authors discuss the new notion of benign intervention as it becomes a central part of 21st century strategy for the maintenance of order in an essentially disorderly world.

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