Non-lethal Warfare

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photoThe idea sounds great--and maybe it is. Non-lethal weapons for a new era of war and conflict. Weapons that would not, in theory, kill--but would incapacitate a foe or potential attacker. Microwaves so powerful they could stop an oncoming vehicle in its tracks. Sprayable foam that would instantly harden into barriers or immobilization. Lasers and stink bombs and super-slick lubricants that would make moving anything almost impossible.

Shock waves and sound waves, and, of course, knock-out gases--with the hope that they would be less lethal than the gas that killed hostages in Moscow last month. Ambiguous conflicts call for weapons that work in a gray zone, that stop and freeze and calm without killing, says a new report for the U.S. Navy. But does all that make it too tempting to pull the trigger. Maybe on you.

Up next On Point: non-lethal weapons.


John B. Alexander, author, "Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-First Century Warfare?

Matthew Meselson, co-director of the Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons Armament and Arms Limitation

David Fidler, professor of international law, Indiana University

This program aired on November 8, 2002.


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