This wasn’t the only method the Center suggested for taking down combatants. Other exotic, less-lethal weapons included a handheld laser gun for close-range “antiterrorist special operations roles”; a “flood” of network traffic that could overload servers and “elicit a panic in the civilian population”; and radio frequencies that could manipulate someone’s body temperature and “mimic a fever.”
The military needed weapons like these because TV news had hamstrung the military’s traditional proclivities to kill its way to victory: It now lived in a world where “You don’t win unless CNN says you win,” the report lamented. But while the Pentagon still laments the impact of the 24/7 news cycle on the U.S. military, it hardly thinks less-lethal weapons are a solution to it. In fact, the U.S. has kept most of its electromagnetic arsenal off of the battlefield, in part because the idea of invisible pain rays would sound so bad coming out of an anchor’s mouth.