NON-NUCLEAR EMP? Hidden within a Steven Den Beste essay on our upcoming war with Iraq, entitled “Whither Surprise?” is this little jaw-dropper:
I also think it is highly likely that we will turn out to have a significant new capability to use non-nuclear means to generate ElectroMagnetic Pulses (EMP), for purposes of destroying inadequately shielded semiconductors and other electronics. That’s never been used in any significant way in war before, and this may be the first. We might well demonstrate the ability to immobilize an entire column of vehicles with a single airburst which harms no one. Even an army as obsolescent as that of Iraq relies heavily on transistors. If we turn out to have the ability to destroy transistors in a wide area, we could turn large formations of very expensive equipment into inanimate junk very rapidly. Such non-nuclear EMP weapons would be particularly interesting because they would cause virtually no casualties.
That’s just staggering. Read Den Beste’s essay for other, slightly less-staggering surprises that we may have up our sleeves, to be put on the table, fairly shortly.