You may remember that the U.S. military was testing a so-called pain ray in Afghanistan. It produced some minor controversy.
Several weeks ago, site co-founder Sharon Weinberger and I started pestering the military about the decision to send a microwave heat ray gun to Afghanistan. Blasting the locals with an invisible pain beam, we suggested, might not be the optimal way to promote trust in the Kabul and Washington governments.The system was withdrawn from Afghanistan back in July. But now they found a better place to test it, on U.S. prisoners in California.
The 7½-foot-tall Assault Intervention Device emits a focused, invisible ray that causes an unbearable heating sensation in its targets – hopefully stopping inmates from fighting or doing anything other than trying to get out of its way, sheriff's officials said.This is yet another example of why I laugh at the hysterical overreaction of those who whine about the U.S. using some torture techniques on terrorist prisoners. How many times have you heard some fool bleat about how torture is "un-American," in complete ignorance or denial about not only history, but what goes on in our domestic prison system? There are numerous people who have an incredibly expansive definition of torture that encompasses almost any coercive technique, or even threats. But what about an invisible ray that makes people feel like their skin is on fire? As long as we use it to enforce compliance in U.S. prisons instead of extracting information from enemy prisoners, there's no problem.
Throughout the U.S., American citizens who have been convicted of no crime are regularly shocked into submission to police by a serious jolt of electricity from tasers. There are all sorts of nasty techniques used to control prisoners in jail -- techniques which many would consider torture. The rationale for using this pain ray is to break up fights in prison. What are the odds that it might be abused and used for other less justifiable purposes? But don't worry, it's not that big a deal, unless we were to use it in an attempt to interrogate foreign enemies who would like nothing better than to slaughter thousands of Americans.