The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
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Dirty Little Secrets
Now There's A Choice: Bullets or Laser?
Discussion Board on this DLS topic
by James Dunnigan
June 7, 2006
American troops in Iraq are being issued
another "non-lethal" weapon. This one is an 11 inch attachment to their
assault rifles, that projects laser light that can "dazzle," or
temporarily blind and disorient, whoever it is aimed at. The device has
an effective range of over a hundred meters and is intended mainly for
use by troops manning checkpoints. There, it will sometimes be used,
instead of gunfire, to stop, or divert, vehicles that are ignoring
orders to halt. This happens quite a lot. About 50-60 times a week,
American troops open fire on such vehicles. Dead or wounded Iraqis
often result, and most of them are not terrorists. Some of these
drivers are confused, or seem to think they just speed through the
check point. Iraqi drivers are, even by Boston standards, reckless and
The choice to use
bullets or laser is left up to the troops, as it's a judgment call as
to whether the oncoming car might be a terrorist, or a confused driver.
Another complication is that one can buy special glasses that defeat
the dazzle effect. These are not easy to get, but terrorists could get
the special glasses, and equip their suicide bombers with them.
The troops may find other uses for the dazzler, especially against hostile, but unarmed, crowds.