The U.S. is laying a minefield in Iraq that can be controlled by a soldier with a wi-fi-enabled laptop. Details via AP.
Put aside arguments about the ethics and efficacy of landmines. Assume they exist and are being used. Given that, the question is whether radio-controlled landmines are better or worse than regular landmines. This comment, for example, seems to get it wrong:
“We’re concerned the United States is going to field something that has the capability of taking the man out of the loop when engaging the target,” said senior researcher Mark Hiznay of Human Rights Watch. “Or that we’re putting a 19-year-old soldier in the position of pushing a button when a blip shows up on a computer screen.”
With conventional landmines, the man is out of the loop as soon as he lays the mine. Even a 19-year-old seeing a blip on a computer screen is better than a completely automatic system.
Were I the U.S. military, I would be more worried whether the mines could accidentally be triggered by radio interference. I would be more worried about the enemy jamming the radio control mechanism.
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