Daily Archives: January 10, 2004

Implications of Nonlethal Weapons

Nonlethal weapons have a lower “use threshold,” meaning that they are more likely to be used more often. Could a war be waged with weapons that don’t kill? The logistics of taking that many prisoners would be horribly unfeasible. It’d be hard to secure any places.

Weapons of mass nonlethal destruction would have different problems. I’m envisioning a weapon that could perhaps put an entire city to sleep, or temporarily paralyze them. This would be especially effective in towns where weapons are produced. Imagine infrastructure temporarily completely shut down. Scary. Though, to be most effective, the weapon would be used simultaneously in multiple cities. Then, one could conceivably just waltz in and capture the leaders.

It’d be just like having nuclear weapons go off, only no one gets killed.

Yet, what happens when these weapons proliferate? Entire economies devastated because people in all the big cities in many countries are temporarily incapacitated. Couldn’t a whole small country be held at bay?

After the success in wars, smaller ones will be developed for civil unrest. Dictators will hold their populations hostage. First, they can be incapacitated, and the later killing is optional. Then, these same populations will be incapacitated again when they are quickly “liberated” by new forces.

Nonlethal weapons are still violent and still carry some of the same consequences as lethal violence.