In the latest attempt to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan, the United States is considering using a new non-lethal weapon called the “Active Denial System.” Basically, it’s a giant microwave beam that gives the skin a sensation of being on fire. According to AOL News:
An Air Force military officer and a civilian employee at the Air Force Research Laboratory told AOL News at an industry conference here [in Tampa Bay, Florida] that the Active Denial System, which heats the top layer of skin via millimeter waves, was in Afghanistan for testing. The sources were not able to offer details on how or whether the weapon was being used in combat.
The weapon is designed to shoot an invisible beam of energy at people, creating an intense burning sensation that forces them to flee. The Air Force has called it the “goodbye effect.” It has not been used before in military operations.
Military spokespeople claim that the weapon hasn’t been used yet, but its development has been a long and, at times, startling process. More from AOL:
Though the Air Force says years of testing have proved its safety, in 2007 an airman acting as a test subject was severely burned. The Air Force later that year released a heavily redacted report describing the accident, which required the airman to be airlifted to a burn center. A copy of the full report later provided to Wired.com revealed that the lack of proper operator training and missing safety equipment contributed to the accident.
Perhaps with a great new non-lethal alternative like this, the military won’t have to worry so much about collateral damage and civilian casualties. Sure, a couple women or children may be the victim of excruciating pain or psychological trauma, but if it means being able to fry a couple extra terrorists without having to worry about pesky things like distinguishing terrorists from civilians, its just another step towards an Afghanistan free from terror, right?