Non-lethal weapons for the Army? A blood-and guts general like Patton would surely wince

Give 'em hell, men, but make damned sure you don't bugger the environment.

General George S.Patton gave great advice: “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.”

Mind you, the quote is disputed. But if it wasn’t said by Patton, then it was said by George C.Scott playing Patton in the movie of that name.

The point is that George was a blood-and-guts general. A tough bastard.

He would be amazed and vexed by modern militarists who have become namby-pamby and abandoned his advice.

Sad to say, New Zealand defence chiefs are among them.

And so – according to a Defence Force media release in Alf’s electronic in-tray –

The NZ Army is hosting the 2012 Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Seminar (NOLES) where it will be promoting a greater understanding of non-lethal weapons and technology in the Asia-Pacific region.

Non-lethal, or “less lethal” systems as they are known in New Zealand, are weapons and devices designed to incapacitate a target while minimising fatalities or permanent injury.

Well, bugger me.

Whatever happened to “shoot to kill?”

The NZ Defence Force’s Land Component Commander is a bloke called Brigadier Mark Wheeler.

He explains that NOLES is an annual multilateral seminar sponsored by the US Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

Sponsored by the US Marines?

Patton was a general in the US Army, of course.

He’ll be turning in his grave nevertheless.

Anyway, this year the seminar will be held in Wellington over the period 28 – 30 March. Keynote speakers will discuss relevant topics including International Human Rights Law, the Laws of Armed Conflict, and planning considerations for the employment of less lethal weapons.

Why don’t the buggers just opt to scrap their guns and arm themselves with feather dusters?

Approximately 75 participants will be in attendance from 19 countries, making it a significant multi-national engagement with representatives from the wider Asia-Pacific region, exposing participants to current and future less lethal weapons capabilities.

“It is becoming more commonplace for military forces to be operating in conflict zones where they are required to maintain law and order, control civil disturbances, or respond to rapid changes in levels of violence, where the use of lethal force may not be justified or permissible,” says Brigadier Wheeler.

“Less lethal weapons provide military commanders with more options. They can be used to disperse large groups of hostile people, stop or disable vehicles, or deny access to important facilities.”

For a real dollop of mealy-mouthed military mush, try this –

According to Brigadier Wheeler, the use of less lethal technologies provides security forces with the ability to counter non-traditional threats, while mitigating the effects on the civilian population and the environment.

Alf remains firmly in the school that says shoot first and ask questions later.

He would be apt to give scant thought to the effects on climate change while he was doing his shooting.

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