At Issue: Weapons of War

Edited by Diane Andrews Henningfeld
Gale and Greenhaven Press, 2012
ISBN: 978073775604
http://amzn.to/wzVElw
US$22.50

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The methodology of war has changed throughout history, from the trench warfare of World War I and the use of nuclear weapons in World War II to the drone technology of today. The new At Issue anthology, Weapons of War, is a collection of opinion essays from world leaders, scholars and journalists. It examines the uses, challenges and ethics of modern war technology, ranging from discussion of advanced conventional weapons to cyber warfare.

Malcolm Fraser, a former Prime Minister of Australia, has expressed the urgent need for a binding global treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. He supports the MillionPleas campaign, a campaign started by schoolchildren in Hiroshima to encourage the nine countries in possession of nuclear weapons to free the world from such weapons, and he urges citizens to pressure political leaders to support disarmament. In contrast, John Hutten, a former British Secretary of Defense, argues that Britain must maintain its nuclear capabilities as an ultimate deterrent, believing that the “first business of Government is national security.”

The anthology also sheds light on the controversies surrounding the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and their Destruction (also known as the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention or APMBC). Essays further examine the challenges of defending against improvised explosive devices and potential biological weapons of mass destruction. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology around the world evokes discussion on the ethics involved in the development and use of precision, unmanned weapons.

New technologies are introduced, including the Active Denial Weapon, an electromagnetic beam that simulates the feeling of burning; the Long Range Acoustic Device, a concentrated high-decibel sound wave; and a naval laser defensive system. The final essay addresses the complexity of potential cyber warfare, its implications on international treaties, and the difficulties in identifying anonymous perpetrators.

Many ambiguities about the long-term implications of new methods of warfare persist. Weapons of War introduces these issues and occasionally raises questions with incendiary opinions, encouraging further study rather than providing definitive answers. J

~ Reviewed by Rachael Weber, CISR staff

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James Madison University
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Endnotes

  1. Millionpleas: to free the world from nuclear weapons. http://millionpleas.com./. Accessed 13 February 2012.