Reader comments are listed below. Comments are currently closed and new comments are no longer being accepted.
I have an idea that will prevent Western vehicles from being targets of destruction in the Mid East. And it cost under $5. Weighs less than a pound. And if you hold it up under fire it may be bullet proof.
The enemy is religious inspired Muslim terrorists. They do not value human life or material. Mass killings, bombings and carnage are their trademark.
However they will NOT desecrate a Koran, the written word of Muhummad. They protect the Koran, and it is like a shiny amulet that magically protects the bearer.
I propose that all military vehicles painted in desert camouflage have a Koran place in the glovebox. And that this be announced to the local population and guerrillas. And any vehicle destruction will probably result in a Koran burning, Koran being blown up or Koran being ripped to shreds by shrapnel.
It sounds silly, but religious beliefs are based on such ethereal superstitions. And religious violence has REAL repercussions. Traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, PTSD and death. It cost less than a gallon of petrol. And weighs less than a clip of ammo. And if it prevents loss of vehicle and loss of life, why not try it? Many cars in the South carry a bible.
We need a real or imaginary amulet. Or a magical ring. Or at least a paper hostage that can prevent senseless car bombings.
Sometimes complex human solutions to are not materials, technology and science, but psychological, behavioral and spiritual.
Well, we'll see how this plays out. Every few years the US Military tries to iron out some of the millions of wrinkles in its hopelessly inept, bureaucratic and inefficient procurement process and every time the results are: no change. It would be nice to imagine that the behemoth can learn to dance a little more nimbly but the track record to date is far from encouraging. And let's be clear: both the Internet and GPS sat/nav only really took off after commercial organizations began utilizing the underlying technologies for civilian uses.
Islamic Congress of Attica? The transnational Islamic Brotherhood for Jihad?
Why drag the word "Islamic" into training exercises? This is unacceptable and, at best, shows disregard to the feelings of millions of peaceful Muslims around the world and, at worst, reveals a deeply ingrained bias against Islam within the military establishment.
I doubt that the training exercises would have been any less effective had the imaginary enemy been called the International Terrrosim Federation or even the Alliance of Green Martians.
Once again, a few nutcases blowing things up does not mean that Islam is a religion of terror.
Alternatively, make it customary for these military vehicles to ferry local children to and from schools.
This will act as either a talisman for the vehicles or a foolproof detector of insurgents and their sympathizers. Yup, Saddam's old 'human shield' in micro scale...
Comments and tweets on popular topics
Subscribe to The Economist's free e-mail newsletters and alerts.
Subscribe to The Economist's latest article postings on Twitter
See a selection of The Economist's articles, events, topical videos and debates on Facebook.