In the movie Lone Survivor, based on a true story, a team of Navy Seals run into some civilians while doing surveillance on the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan. The civilians are presumed to be Taliban sympathizers and will give away the presence of the Seal team the first chance they get. The Navy Seals have three choices in the movie. Tie up the civilians, kill the civilians or just let them go and take advantage of the one hour or so head start the Seal team has to the extradition point. In the book that the movie is based on the narrator states that they had no ropes and even tying up the civilians was not an option. What about a technological solution to the above dilemma?
Plastic handcuffs? Well that would slow down the civilians but eventually they could use the surrounding rock to cut the handcuffs. There would be a need for legcuffs that fit around feet because a person wearing handcuffs around the hands only can still walk towards the enemy. The chain of the leg cuff could go around a tree or pole so the subject cannot walk away. I cannot imagine such kit would weigh very much and as America troops do more and more police action around the world then basic police kit makes sense. Is there another low tech solution to this problem?
How about a simple hypodermic needle that contains a sedative that knocks out the civilian for hours and hours? Should the hypodermic needle be made of metal or plastic? I think metal is more durable and better suited for field conditions but a plastic hypodermic needle in the correct container might also work. The choice of the sedative should be the subject of research. The sedative should optimally be something off the shelf, long lasting, reliable and safe. Three syringes means three civilians are out of the picture and again this sort of kit would weigh just a few ounces. The cuffs and sedative can be used in conjunction to keep a civilian out of action for hours and hours!
However, the problem is ultimately legal not technological. The Lone Survivor Dilemma shows that the current rules of engagement simply do not work for the new war against terrorism in which the line between civilians and soldiers is deliberately blurred in order to give the terrorists a tactical advantage. The brave men and women of our armed forces do not just deserve better technology but better laws for this new type of warfare. There is also a need to educate the citizenry of the US so they can affect this change from the bottom up.
I taught secondary school for five years and I would make the book Lone Survivor part of any English and/or history class I was teaching at the high school level. The next generation needs to have a clear understanding of the new threat the United States is facing and this book provides valuable insight about this new type of threat! Any concerned citizen can contact their local school district and ask that Lone Survivor be added to the recommended reading list of that district.