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The Soldier of the Future 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the phased-plasma-rifle-in-40-watt-range dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Land Warrior, the Army's wearable electronics package, was panned earlier this year by the troops who were testing it out. They were forced to take the collection of digital maps and next-gen radios to war, anyway. Now, Wired's Noah Shachtman reports from Iraq, those same soldiers are starting to warm up to their soldier suits of the future."
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The Soldier of the Future

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  • by Divebus (860563) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:53PM (#20762581)
    Where do you clip the iPod?
  • Let's see, Apple is building an entire business around user friendly appliances and have a pretty good reputation for user interface design. Why not see what they can do with it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I suspect that many of the Apple designers might take issue with developing more efficient ways to kill.
      • by russellh (547685) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:50PM (#20762937) Homepage
        As much as I want to agree with that sentiment, being anti-war, it should be obvious that it isn't about killing. It's about not getting killed, not killing the wrong people, and getting to our troops that need assistance. The more information and the more communication the better -- always. The fact that we're in Iraq is a reality. We're there and no matter what you want and no matter what you think is right, we're still there. Anything that saves American lives is good with me, even if I think we shouldn't be there and I want us to get out. Getting out is going to suck and I'm sure we'll need all the communication and positioning we can afford when we do it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189)
          Whenever we (humans) are stronger than others we take advantage of that strength.

          In the end, being able to fight more safely will end up with us killing more people.

          ---

          However, the longer we put off killing people, the worse the mess is going to be when we start again. We will forget and at least one nation is going to start up something really nasty during the next 50 years. Probably a billion people will die.
          • by SQL Error (16383) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:42PM (#20763733)
            Recent history suggests that this is no longer true.

            WWII started just over 20 years after WWI.

            Since 1945, there has been no direct conflict between major powers, no use of nuclear weapons. My mother once told me that she seriously expected WWIII to begin in the 60's. It didn't happen; it still hasn't happened. Maybe we've learned - a little.
            • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

              by Maxo-Texas (864189)
              Do you feel there will not be another world war in the next 1000 years?

              You are correct that we have not had a large war for an unusually long period.

              Let's hope for the best and plan for the worst.

        • by linguizic (806996) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:51PM (#20763779)
          Having really good interfaces may save lives, but it will also make it easier for troops to take lives, and that's what I think some developers at Apple would have problems with. In my field there is allot of research being funded by the military that I don't want to have anything to do with, even though it is pure research and is not applicable to weaponry. However, it is applicable to military intelligence which is used to track people down and kill them which I don't want to have anything to do with. Sure it might save the lives of a few US soldiers, but I'm more worried about the innocent civilians that are in the same building with the target. Soldiers have signed up to fight and possibly dye, however in modern warfare it's civilians who seem to do much of the dying.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by russellh (547685)

            Having really good interfaces may save lives, but it will also make it easier for troops to take lives, and that's what I think some developers at Apple would have problems with

            I agree

            However, it is applicable to military intelligence which is used to track people down and kill them which I don't want to have anything to do with. Sure it might save the lives of a few US soldiers, but I'm more worried about the innocent civilians that are in the same building with the target. Soldiers have signed up to fig

        • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ConanG (699649) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @01:15AM (#20764359)
          Of course it's about killing. The only reason for a soldier not to get killed is so they can do more killing. It's only a bonus that they get to come home in one piece.

          As for saving American lives... why does it matter if their American? I'm for saving lives period. I've lived on the other side of the great divide. I've been in the military. I've since decided that it's wrong to think about being just an American citizen and defending this country. To truly move forward we must think of ourselves as global citizens and care for all people. It's when we divide ourselves into groups (American, Iraqi, etc...) that we forget to see the humanity in others.
          • Re:Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:36AM (#20766953)
            As an American Soldier who has been to Iraq twice, it's not about killing. Killing has (almost) never been the point of war. The point is to reduce your enemies ability to defend themselves to the point where they cannot resist your will. This often times is accomplished by killing, but it's not the point. The Land Warrior system (and its older brother FBCB2) is designed to be a "combat multiplier" which simply means increasing the soldiers' combat effectiveness.

            This also includes preventing fratricide as well as more precisely labeling enemy combatants. If you are calling in a grid from an old map with a radio and a set of binoculars, there is a margin for error that can lead to the loss of civilian life. Put a laser range finder, GPS, and a digital compass on the soldier and suddenly the individual soldier can call in pinpoint strikes reducing civilian loses.

            Honestly, the average soldier over there doesn't want to kill anybody, they just want to help the country rebuild to give the people a better life and come home. I would say that the folks fighting the evil Americans kill more civilians who just want to live their lives like you and I than the US has in this conflict. I was blessed to never have shot at, or been shot at by anybody in the two years I spent over there, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

            For the record however, given that the Militant Islamists have killed more civilians for not believing in their cause than the Americans have. Given the choice, I'd rather have their ability to make war diminished far more than ours because I want my children to grow up with at least some freedom and live with significantly less fear as opposed to what they would receive under a regime dominated by Militant Islam.
    • iPods have a hard enough time being in the city without getting all scratched up and having their batteries die prematurely.
    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:29PM (#20762807)
      "Let's see, Apple is building an entire business around user friendly appliances and have a pretty good reputation for user interface design. Why not see what they can do with it?" .. and then you drag the Enemy into the trash can.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Oh, great, just what we need, iRifles and iTanks. They cost twice as much, and only work with AT&T :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Waffle Iron (339739)
      The Pentagon has already evaluated an Apple-based combat system. They rejected it because it turned out that the combination of black turtleneck sweater uniforms and shiny white weapons resulted in extremely poor camouflage.
    • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:19AM (#20764699) Journal
      Attack          >
      Defend          >
      Settings        >
      Shuffle Tactics >
      Helmet Light    >
  • New soldier suit + orange visor = Master Chief [google.com]
  • by prxp (1023979) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:03PM (#20762655)

    Latest reports tell us about a malfunction in the stealthy mode functionality (nicknamed Invisibility Cloak). In some cases, it renders the soldier naked.
    • From what I've read, it doesn't exactly render the soldier naked. Instead of making him invisible, it just makes his clothing invisible, making him look naked. Now, if we only had enough women using it...
  • hmmmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:04PM (#20762665) Homepage
    Now, Wired's Noah Shachtman reports from Iraq, those same soldiers are starting to warm up to their soldier suits of the future.

    The soldiers aren't warming up to the suits because they like them. The soldiers are warming up because the suits use Sony batteries.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BosstonesOwn (794949)
      No they have quad core procs running windows vista ultimate soldier edition.

      Didn't you read the article about the soldier with the dead unit ! Geez read the article !

    • by MrSteveSD (801820)
      Hey, don't dis Sony Batteries! And extra grenade always comes in handy.
  • by j. andrew rogers (774820) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:05PM (#20762669)
    ...will be a machine, which may or may not be controlled by a techie in an air-conditioned office.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:16PM (#20762725) Homepage Journal
      Armies of high-tech nations have always gone through fits of believing this, and always been proved wrong. The kind of mil-tech that makes the Tom Clancy crowd cream their jeans is great (except when it isn't) but in the end it comes down to the grunts.
      • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:21PM (#20762755)
        Hats off to our soldiers. It can't be easy to conduct a counterinsurgency campaign when you're dressed like a cyborg.
      • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:50PM (#20762941)

        The kind of mil-tech that makes the Tom Clancy crowd cream their jeans is great (except when it isn't) but in the end it comes down to the grunts.
        By that math China is the world's sole superpower, since they can field the most grunts.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by samkass (174571)
          By that math China is the world's sole superpower, since they can field the most grunts.

          There's something to be said for numerical superiority, but only if you can project that power. In terms of supply lines, transportation, air cover, mobile communications, etc., China probably can't effectively "field" as many soldiers as the United States. (You haven't really "fielded" anyone if they're sitting in a bunker all day hungry and without enough ammunition.) And when you also take into account technologica
        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          The kind of mil-tech that makes the Tom Clancy crowd cream their jeans is great (except when it isn't) but in the end it comes down to the grunts.

          By that math China is the world's sole superpower, since they can field the most grunts.

          No, you're oversimplifying things. It doesn't come down to simply how many grunts. Technology is a force multiplier, and the "force" in question is essentially manpower. You don't win simply by having more guys, as the effect of assorted force multipliers can make one of hte enemies guys worth five of yours. You can't win with no guys, no matter how much you have in the way of force multipliers, as anything times zero is still zero.

          Victory in warfare always comes down to one man standing in front of anot

          • by megaditto (982598)
            Hmm, the smartest thing a Chinese soldier would do is surrender! I'd like to see the Americans trying to feed and guard 1 billion POWs.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by n dot l (1099033)
              Nah. They'd be smarter to find a way to get their enemies to fight them on their own land. Kind of like the Russians did against Napoleon and in WWII (not sure about WWI - I understand that was kind of a mess due to the revolution). They just kept falling back until winter set in or the invading force is so overstretched that they could easily be crushed. Both times they won with inferior forces (though admitadely at great cost).

              After all, you don't have to project power when your enemy is willing to come t
        • The kind of mil-tech that makes the Tom Clancy crowd cream their jeans is great (except when it isn't) but in the end it comes down to the grunts.
          By that math China is the world's sole superpower, since they can field the most grunts.

          That's what won WWII, grunts. Although one might get the impression from watching some TV documentaries that are currently circulating that WWII was won on the beaches of Normandy by British and US soldiers, Normandy was simply the coup de grace. The offensive power of the German army was mostly broken at Kursk in July 1943 by Soviet soldiers who man for man were worse trained than the Germans and who drove T-34 tanks that were qualitatively and technologically inferior to state of the art German equipmen

    • by Tribbin (565963)
      Human or machine; the soldier of the future will be certain and plenty.
    • by fractoid (1076465)

      ...will be a machine, which may or may not be controlled by a techie in an air-conditioned office.

      Not until said machine is cheaper, more reliable and more versatile than a human in a flak jacket. Which is to say that, for ground work, the infantry are here to stay. Now, if they'd only hurry up and design some workable Mobile Infantry [wikipedia.org] suits... ;)

    • by Matt_R (23461)
      ...will be a machine

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Five [wikipedia.org]

    • by DrVomact (726065) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:28AM (#20765109) Journal

      ...will be a machine, which may or may not be controlled by a techie in an air-conditioned office.

      No, he will be a guy in "civilian" clothes, with maybe a few magazine pouches clipped to his belt, carrying an AK variant. When the Pentagon's soldiers come hunting, he will not be there. When they aren't expecting trouble, he will suddenly appear to cause them grief. He will deliver his bombs in old Toyotas, instead of planes so expensive that only a handful of them can purchased in any given year by "the world's only remaining superpower". This "soldier of the future" will observe the tactics of his enemies, and will think of cheap ways to thwart them. He will devote most of his waking thoughts to new ways of shorteinging the lives of his technological "superiors"—or perhaps of just making them miserable. Perhaps most importantly, he will keep fighting until he dies, and he is certain that his sons and his sons' sons will keep fighting because his belief in the moral superiority of his cause is unshakeable.

      Oh, that's not what you were talking about? You wanted to talk about the gee-whiz high-tech "soldier of the future" because he's the one with the cool toys? Oh, sorry—my mistake. I thought the "soldier of the future" was the one who was going to m> win .

  • by lobiusmoop (305328)
    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. "
    • Actually there will be too much knowlage, technology and industralization just lying around for that to ever happen. After all every car has an altinator that can be jury rigged to generate electricity and once you have power you can get things running again.
      • by megaditto (982598) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @01:12AM (#20764345)
        I'll all rust in a couple of decades [slashdot.org]. Even in your example, the cavemen would need to find some wires and a lightbulb, plus know how to hook all that up and rotate the alternator at the same time. Plus, they would need to have a use for it (check out a story about the steam turbine remaining just a toy to the people that lived 2000 years ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolipile [wikipedia.org] ) And so your alternator will remain a neat toy until the lightbulb burns out.

        For any artifact to generate progress, the people that find it would need the tools to take that thing apart, understand it, and replicate it. Can you, right now, go out there, make your own shopping list, and make an alternator? In theory you could, but in reality you probably can't. I am not even going to ask you to go out there and make your own 8088 chip or even a damn transistor for that matter!
        • by sqrt(2) (786011)
          If even one library survives, you've pretty much got enough knowledge there to do whatever you want. Eventually. The problem is, even simple electronic components like the 8088 represent more man-hours of total development than you could contribute in your entire lifetime working alone. Simple things like guns though, those actually aren't very difficult to understand and make (at least simple ones). Either way, I'm sure the WW-IV soldier will be able to do better than simple sticks and stones, it's instant
    • Maybe it's just quibbling over terminology, but the way I figure, we're already in World War IV.

      The Cold War wasn't "almost" WWIII, it was WWIII. The "almost" applies to the end-of-the-world (TM) nuclear war scenario that, thankfully, didn't happen. But the fact that that disaster didn't happen doesn't mean the entire conflict doesn't "count" as a "war". Otherwise, how come we call it "the Cold War"? And it was certainly global in scope, so I figure it deserves to be counted as the next in the series of "Wo
  • A bit misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:12PM (#20762709) Homepage Journal
    Yeah ... they're starting to warm up to it ... kinda ... except it's still too heavy and it doesn't work right ... and a bunch of stuff has been taken out of the original concept ... but yeah, it's great!

    IOW, it's still a POS, just not quite as much a POS as before. And, oh yeah, it costs money the Army doesn't have.

    Jesus. I was a grunt back in the dark ages (late 80's) and I can't tell you how glad I am that we didn't have to lug that crap around with us. The amount we did have to carry was already a killing load; the senior NCO's, who got their start in Vietnam, always told us exactly what we should throw away, and were unanimous in their opinion we were still carrying too much stuff. (And they had heard the same thing from their Korea-veteran sergeants.) Sorry, I don't believe that today's infantrymen are that much bigger and tougher than we were -- the human body hasn't changed, but the amount of crap the brass wants to load onto it keeps going up and up. And this is in the desert! Pretty soon the Iraqis won't have to kill American soldiers, just wait for them to drop dead of heatstroke.
    • Hear hear. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Iraqis run around with just guns and walky talkys, and they seem to be doing just fine...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrFalkyn (102068)

        The Iraqis run around with just guns and walky talkys, and they seem to be doing just fine...
        Yeah nothing like a 1-20 kill-to-death ratio...
      • The Iraqis run around with just guns and walky talkys, and they seem to be doing just fine...

        Consider that in their mind dying in battle is "doing just fine".
      • by fractoid (1076465)
        ...but every one of them that dies *helps* their cause, in terms of the bleeding hearts brigade in America, whereas every US soldier that dies both boosts the home team's morale, AND hurts said bleeding hearts. Also, all Iraqis look enough alike (when compared to the so-obviously-alien US troops) that they again have the advantage of a human shield of civilians around them that the US troops can't harm (but again, much of the violence is perpetrated against other Iraqi factions rather than the occupying tro
    • Re:A bit misleading (Score:4, Informative)

      by budgenator (254554) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:24PM (#20762783) Journal
      Don't worry any weight saved by new gear is automaticaly consumed by either more new gear, or ammo, grunts have carried the same load since Christ was a corporal.
    • To me it sounds like they are up to version 1.1 of a hardware/software system. Still new, not tested enough. Still getting debugged.

      Plenty of Systems seem crap in Version 1.

      But give it 5 years.
      Let it evolve from being a Lisa into an iMac.
      Things get lighter and more robust and more tested and streamlined. It will eventually work well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Divebus (860563)

        Just before the U.S. turned South Vietnam's "security" over to their own inept government, Americans were testing early "television guided" munitions, laser targeting systems and other outlandish items on North Vietnamese bridges and buildings. One shot, one kill. That was version 0.8b of what we have now. The Soviets wanted the Vietnam war to end more than anyone as they watched advanced battlefield technology, which they couldn't replicate, being developed and tested by the Americans.

        All this came to fru

        • by AoT (107216)
          The dissolution of the USSR happened the same year as the First Gulf War. It was already on its way down and Afghanistan, the graveyard of conquerors for thousands of years, that was the biggest cause. The Ruskies just really wanted a warm water port in Pakistan.
          • by Divebus (860563)

            True. The Soviet backward slide possibly started in earnest as far back as 1980 with Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement gaining traction, causing them to eventually lose their grip on the "Iron Curtain" holdings. They exited Afghanistan in 1988 with a little help from CIA supplied Stingers and some other advanced hardware. Desert Shield/Storm was between August 1990 and February 1991. The shooting, and CNN's vivid coverage, started in January. The Soviet Union was dissolved nearly a year after Operatio

    • Excess Crap (Score:5, Informative)

      by Irvu (248207) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:30PM (#20763225)
      You aren't the first one to make that comment. Bill Mauldin the World War II cartoonist commented about the "efficient dime-store salesmen" who sold all the crap to the army that the grunts were supposed to lug around, crap that the grunts often shed as they walked simply because there was too much to carry and walk let alone fight.

      One of his cartoons depicts two grunts walking down a road littered with discarded gas masks with one saying to the other "I see that C company got the new type gas masks."

      He noted that the Brits were much leaner in part because they issued less and in part because they punished company CO's for "waste".

      It's always been easy to agree to an extra 6 ounces of gear while sitting at a desk eating lunch. Carrying it and the other 50 6 ounces, now that's a bitch.
    • > IOW, it's still a POS, just not quite as much a POS as before. And, oh yeah, it costs money the Army doesn't have.

      No, it is getting it's first real field test. Theory is meeting reality and as usual reality is winning. Sounds like the right things are happening. The soldiers are ditching the parts that aren't ready for the real world, keeping the parts that work and getting bug fixes and features added to address problems. Give it a rev or two and it will be ready for wider use.

      And forget the weigh
    • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:23PM (#20763617) Homepage Journal

      I was a grunt back in the dark ages (late 80's) and I can't tell you how glad I am that we didn't have to lug that crap around with us. The amount we did have to carry was already a killing load; the senior NCO's, who got their start in Vietnam, always told us exactly what we should throw away, and were unanimous in their opinion we were still carrying too much stuff. (And they had heard the same thing from their Korea-veteran sergeants.)

      I was a grunt in the early 90s, and it was of course the same problem. I was in a "light" infantry battalion. You know the joke there, of course.

      SLA Marshall, in his esteemed study of combat load and its effect on battlefield performance, figured that the average soldier's load shouldn't exceed 1/3 of his weight. I recall that during one NTC rotation in the lovely Mojave Desert, all of my normal load plus my "fag bag" full of maps and code books and assorted crap, and the transmitter they forced platoon leaders to lug around, I was hauling 110 pounds. Of course it was all "necessary".

      Grunts from the time of the Roman Legions have probably been complaining about excessive load.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:33PM (#20762839) Homepage
    I certainly hope the brass have read Arthur C. Clarke's 1951 short story, Superiority. Anthologized in Clifton Fadiman's Fantasia Mathematica, which a lot of libraries still have.

    A rueful officer explains how his advanced army with a brilliant research division was "defeated by the inferior science of our enemies."

    The story describes how they were continually being equipped with new and advanced weapons. They were constantly delayed while their ships were being refitted. They are constantly discovering that gadgets that seemed wonderful in tests and demonstrations have minor glitches that basically render them useless until the relatively small problems can be solved with them can be solved.

    "Given time we might even have overcome these difficulties, but the enemy ships were already attacking in thousands with weapons which now seemed centuries behind those that we had invented...."
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:47PM (#20762915) Journal
      It's not a new idea. When the Germans were making their last big push into Russia near the end of WWII, they brought forward their newest toughest tanks; near indestructable even to the venerable T-34's that were winning the war for the Soviets.

      You know how the russian soldiers defeated them? They poured gasoline on them and set them on fire. They didn't have any anti-tank weapons that were effective, but the gas did the trick fine.

      It's easy to get sucked in by wanting the "best" but the best is expensive, and expensive is always in short supply. Get functional and available first, before you try the sexy crap.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        And there's also an issue, if you're fighting real wars against real opponents, that bigger guns and better armour aren't always the most effective choices. In a FPS, carrying 50 rockets and a launcher might make you the baddest guy on the level, but in real life, it just makes you slow and an easy target. Ask people who've been on the front lines whether they'd rather have a light pack and mobility or a whole bunch of extra armour but only be able to move literally at a crawl, and I imagine you'll get pret

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's not a new idea. When the Germans were making their last big push into Russia near the end of WWII, they brought forward their newest toughest tanks; near indestructable even to the venerable T-34's that were winning the war for the Soviets.

        You know how the russian soldiers defeated them? They poured gasoline on them and set them on fire. They didn't have any anti-tank weapons that were effective, but the gas did the trick fine.

        The trick Russians themselves learned from the Finns during the Winter Wa

    • by FleaPlus (6935)
      A rueful officer explains how his advanced army with a brilliant research division was "defeated by the inferior science of our enemies."

      There's some truth to do this, but when it comes down to it the advanced technology available to the US military is a big reason for why its casualty rates are so low compared to what it's been in the past.
  • So is that the purpose of technology? To be more vicious and powerful beasts? If so, we are doomed. We'll never be able to keep up with our own abilities to destroy ourselves. Homo sapiens evolves at a ridiculously slow pace compared to the speeds at which our technologies are developing.

    We're probably already dangling over the pit now. No, I don't think we could actually exterminate ourselves with nuclear weapons--though the survivors of a nuclear war might well prefer that they had died cleanly. However,
    • by russellh (547685)
      What is the purpose of your comment? We don't need technology to be vicious. And our worst weapons of all are never used. The flame thrower, for instance, has been retired, because it is too scary and evil, even if that is just for PR purposes. Peace in Iraq would be easy if we rolled back our moral standards to those of the ancients. Ancient generals might cut off the right hand of every male, kill all the babies, etc. Nuclear weapons would be a straightforward solution if we were interested in just killi
      • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:43PM (#20763337)

        Peace in Iraq would be easy if we rolled back our moral standards to those of the ancients

        Even though there are those that are trying that it won't work so let's look at the other questionable options. Chemical weapons? Iraq used those a great deal on Iran and still lost. Nukes? Pick a steep mountain valley and hope your nuke kills more than a few goats and that the guys you are after are not in the next valley (mostly talking about the problems of potentially using them in the Afgan campaign which is one reason they were ruled out in 2001) - or nuke a city and have nothing left to hold but a nuked city and your enemies spread out in the hills just got a powerful new recruitment tool and the goodwill of half the world.

        we could threaten to nuke Mecca

        You are talking about dropping nuclear weapons on the city of an ally. You really are not paying attention.

      • by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:56PM (#20763815)
        I was under the impression that the flamethrower was retired because of the severe reduction in life expectancy that results from carrying around 70 pounds of highly explosive flammable liquid in a tank on your back.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:22PM (#20763163)

      If you believe that computers will ultimately possess high intelligence, then you had better prey they don't develop with the morality of the Dick Cheney and his neo-GOP friends. If so, the next day after the computers realize they don't need us and can defeat us will be the last day of mankind. We had better hope they develop with something more like the morality of Gandhi.

      Indeed. I believe it was Gandhi who said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." For a nation with such Christian traditions, the leaders the US elect sure don't act like they believe in Christian values, and even as someone who isn't religious by nature, I'd rather people respected values like "thou shalt not kill" wherever realistic.

      • by aminorex (141494)
        I believe it was Christ who said that Satan comes to "kill, steal and destroy". That pretty much sums up US foreign policy.
    • by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:24PM (#20763189) Homepage
      "more like the morality of Gandhi."

      So instead of neo-GOP racists we'll have Gandhi's racism? Sweet.

      You look at Dick and the neo-Cons but you never look at actual REAL conservatives.
      • by Tungbo (183321)
        If you are criticizing the comment on Christians who don't act like Christ, please be aware that it's directed at a group of religious adherents and not a race. Furthermore, he was mainly concerned with India's colonial masters who self identifies as Anglican Christians. Do you think Christ would support colonialism?
    • by petrus4 (213815)
      The point is that human beings don't have to live that way. We can decide to be reasonable and rational and agree to set rules on the competitions short of life and death battles to the death. We don't have to breed like rabbits, live like pigs, and ultimately die like dogs. We are human beings, and we can make choices and live by them.

      You and maybe another 5% of the population tops, maybe. The rest? Forget it. Try hanging out in almost any of the WoW forums for a few hours...you'll see exactly this sort
    • by gd2shoe (747932) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:19PM (#20763585) Journal
      quote

      The point is that human beings don't have to live that way. We can decide to be reasonable and rational and agree to set rules on the competitions short of life and death battles to the death. We don't have to breed like rabbits, live like pigs, and ultimately die like dogs. We are human beings, and we can make choices and live by them.

      You're a naive philosophical ostrich. That level of civilization is not yet possible. It will not ever be possible as long as we have people such as:
      • Adolf hitler
      • Joseph Stalin
      • Osama Bin Laden
      • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (On Monday: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals")
      • Kim Jong-il
      • Fidel Castro
      • ... etc ...
      • arguably, most current politicians (to a lesser degree)
      • and of course, the people who listen to them
      Please stop spouting off garbage until we can resolve the real problem (political greed).
      • by dbIII (701233)
        It is perhaps time to remind you that the Iranian mentioned above has far less power and credibility in Iran than Cheney has in the USA. The more trouble he stirs up the more relevant he will seem - he'll only get a lot of political power if the USA attacks Iran and he can say "I told you so!".

        The current fuss is a good example - "our figurehead President we put there to look a bit democratic is hated by American sodomites so he must have scored a moral victory over them" is probably the line getting pushe

        • by gd2shoe (747932)
          You idiot. You don't realize that your argument emphasizes mine. Assuming this is all true (and much of it is), then you can add the American politicians to the list (as I already did).

          I refuse to single Cheney out in a conversation like this, as both parties are crammed with corrupt power mongers. Single him out in a conversation about him specifically, if you must.

          Oh, and the "loony religious right" in Iran is nothing like the "loony religious right" in America. Be very careful to refer to the "{loony
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by dbIII (701233)
            I'll try again since the Cheney bit sent things on an irrelevant tangent. The Iranian "President" is no Stalin even if he dearly wants to be - he's a Quayle trying to become relevant by making a lot of noise.

            As for the other bit - the context should be obvious even if you can use loony to describe other people with extreme and sociopathic views.

    • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:32PM (#20763677) Homepage
      We can decide to be reasonable and rational and agree to set rules on the competitions short of life and death battles to the death.

      Pacifism leads to death unless you have non-pacifists around to protect you. Being reasonable and fair is fine and good, and we should strive for that path, but one must also be willing and able to use deadly force in defense. Even in modern times, over a small number of generations, we have seen a population split, the two halves become isolated, one become pacifist, and when the two halves reestablish contact the pacifists are murdered and/or enlsaved by their blood relatives. Sorry, read this in a book so I don't have a link handy, the people were Pacific islanders, timeframe 19th century IIRC.
  • What scares me far more than the advancement of weapons technology is the advancement of ignorance...

    Captain Jack Moore, the commander of the 4/9's "Blowtorch" company, peers into his Land Warrior monocle. Inside is a digital map of Tarmiyah, a filthy little town about 25 kilometers north of Baghdad that's become a haven for Islamists.

    Islamists, are not the problem it's the crazy ass people with guns that are the problem.
    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/09/when-the-soldie.html [wired.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TimSSG (1068536)
      So you think people wishing to replace the Iraq government with religious government should not be considered a problem.

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamism [wikipedia.org]
      "Islamism is a term used to denote a set of political ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system and its teachings should be preeminent in all facets of society. "

      Tim S
  • by Veetox (931340) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:22PM (#20763165)
    1. This com system seems to be much more valuable (once debugged) than plenty of other gear the soldiers are carrying, so I would pose the question: Do any experienced soldiers see the benefit in ditching ten pounds of old gear for this gear? 2. Anyone arguing that the Iraqis are doing just as well should reconsider: they're lambs to the slaughter in a gunfight versus our trained military, and most of their successful kills result from sacrificing themselves. I'll leave the obligatory quote by Paton out - I'm sure you can guess... 3. Could it be that this is one more reason that we got into this war in the first place - to test the 'beta' designs of military research? 4. The real downside for us is this: micro-evolution; our soldiers might start using such advances as a crutch, get lazy, and then succumb to a more savvy fighter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      (1) There are some things you CAN'T ditch. Guns, ammo, and body armor for one. Basically this replaces a field radio with more and heavier gear.

      (2) As far as Iraqis (not foreign fighters) there's something to be said for knowing the neighborhood in urban warfare, knowing the language, and actually having local friends. That's why guerilla war works. And remember that the death of an Iraqi can be used to recruit more fighters there, while a US death will work *against* recruiting.

      -b.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There are some things you CAN'T ditch. Guns, ammo, and body armor for one.

        2 for 3. Armor adds weight, weight hinders mobility, and mobility protects you better than armor.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:30PM (#20763221)
    No matter what they end up paying for the system, the guy wearing it is going to be killed by someone eating rice or falafel who cost all of $200 to train and equip. What kind of kill ratio do you need for an even trade-off, 1000:1?
    • by aminorex (141494)
      If the US is deemed to be winning in Iraq, then the kill ratio must be about 300:1.
       
  • Army spends 15 years developing a system that looks good on paper and kind of works in exercises but your grunts hate because they don't see the point.
    1 year into a real war and jaded grunts begin to see the advantages of the system while the designers learn how to make it more useful.
    Sounds like iterative design to me!
    Take that you UML/waterfall supporters!
  • If only for the fact that I get amused whenever I hear about it due to the descriptions of a similar system in 'world war z'.
  • There seems to be something that many people here are overlooking. Regardless of whether or not relatively primitive technology can defeat all this high-tech equipment is irrelevant because the United States is actually testing it on a real battlefield. It really seems like the military is testing every piece of hardware they can get their hands on in Iraq. I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't already F22s flying around out there.

    It's a unique opportunity that few other military powers have had access to

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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