COMMENT 4 October 2015 

Another mass shooting in the USA – a 15 year old appeared to have randomly shot a police civilian employee and was then shot dead by armed police in Sydney, Australia  - US forces appear to have bombed a hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan – Russian forces have been launching air strikes in Syria.

What do these incidents have in common? The stupid, unnecessary and tragic use of lethal technology. It was exploding chemicals – in bullet cartridges, bombs and  strike missiles – which generated the lethal energy that killed young students, a civilian police employee, medics and patients in Afghanistan and various people in Syria.

No doubt a few extremist jihadis were killed in Syria, but almost certainly ‘innocent’ civilians died too. It’s doubtful if the airstrikes have done anything to curb Islamic State and may well have made matters worse.

If we really wanted to, we humans could control this rogue technology. So far we haven’t made the commitment to do so.

COMMENT 6 September 2015 

It’s been over two months since the last comment. (This writer has been occupied with other matters during this period). Armed conflict has however continued in various places round the world, although there have been no dramatic developments.

The moral of this is that it’s all too easy to forget about warfare if it’s not on your doorstep. But in the last week or so we have seen floods of Syrian refugees passing through Hungary. (This is a reminder of the last ‘Comment’ which mentioned Refugee Week.)  Syrian government forces have continued to bomb Syrian cities, while ISIS and similar groups have continued killing civilians in other areas of the country. It’s no surprise that the exodus of refugees continues.

The United States is now considering extending its airstrikes in Iraq over the border into Syria. Australia may take part.

Lethal warfare of this kind has shown no signs of deterring ISIS. It just seems to make matters worse. More civilians will be killed  or maimed to no good purpose. Further grief and anger will result.

The solution? A political and diplomatic approach is necessary. If we had a strong international peace force (protected by and employing nonlethal technologies) this could intervene in the meantime and stop the bombing and shooting. All combatants would be constrained until a negotiated solution was achieved. An impossible dream?

Not at all. Humans have all the skills and the resources needed to achieve nonlethal resolution of international conflict. We just need the will.


If you haven’t seen it, here’s Nina Paley’s excellent animation of the history of lethal warfare in the Middle East:

This Land of Mine…  (3min 30sec)




2015 is the Year of Committing to Nonlethal Technology in War. Lethal weapons – like fossil fuels – are becoming obsolete. Weapons cause huge grief and quite often they don’t resolve conflict.   ‘Clean green’ nonlethal technology will ensure peace across the world without killing people. Just as we’re changing from burning coal and oil to sustainable ways of generating energy we can start to move from bullets and bombs to devices which keep us safe but don’t kill. During 2015 we must start making the move to a new nonlethal technology of war.

1915 – the Centenary of Gallipoli – also saw the start of World War One’s industrial scale slaughter by rifles, machine guns and artillery: over 100,000 dead at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, over 420,000 at the Battle of Loos and nearly 120,000 at Gallipoli, including some 8,000 Australians.

In the century since then the weapons of war have become ever more deadly. There is less ‘major’ warfare at present, but the ongoing lethal conflict in the Middle East puts us at risk of a nuclear war, triggered by terrorists or failed states.

In this Centenary Year, we need a commitment by nations around the world to begin the serious development of nonlethal technologies which can protect us from aggression and ensure peace and justice without death and injury.

(See Media Release http://www.tamingwar.com/media-releases)


The April 2015 Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign Newsletter is now out.



The overall purpose of the Nonlethal Security for Peace Campaign is to reduce the damage of war, specifically to:

  • Reduce death and injury in warfare by promoting the use of non-damaging technology in conflict resolution
  • Influence peace-keeping agencies (such as the UN) to move progressively from lethal to non-lethal weaponry
  • Subsequently influence defence forces in nations around the world to make the same transformation to non-lethal defence
  • Over the course of time, change world culture from lethal to non-lethal conflict resolution, with the result that the nuclear weapons that threaten our species will finally be eliminated
  • By removing lethality from conflict resolution, help to lower the overall level of violence in society, promoting a more peaceful and just world.

Why do we need to develop Nonlethal Security?



  • One day, except as curios, guns designed for killing people will be illegal

(Sporting guns – for responsible shooters – will be OK)

  • Explosives will only be used in mining, engineering and fireworks.


Comment at 14 November 2014

Just a day or two ago the Philae space probe landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The technology that achieved this is quite astounding. The Rosetta module had to journey over seven billion kilometres around the solar system, with a scheduled period of hibernation, before it was finally able to rendezvous with the comet and launch Philae.

If humans can successfully design and manage such a system, surely they can easily design technology to constrain international aggressors without killing them. In comparison to Rosetta/Philae nonlethal security should be a piece of cake.

(See recent article in New Matilda)


The 8th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons is scheduled  for  May 18-20 2015 at its usual location in Ettlingen, Germany. The theme for the symposium will be ‘obstacles still faced in fielding non-lethal technologies’. The closing date for abstracts is October 6th 2014. For the conference brochure go to www.non-lethal-weapons.com .

(Details of 7th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons)



(earlier Comments)


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