Sunday 25 Feb 2018 | 07:04 | SYDNEY
Sunday 25 Feb 2018 | 07:04 | SYDNEY

The Pentagon's new suit



7 May 2008 15:33

Last weekend I saw a great new movie about international policy, Iron Man. You may think this is not really a movie about international policy (my wife similarly resisted my attempt to sell it to her as a film about a flawed but sensitive man wrestling with his demons). In that case, you should read a new paper by my Brookings colleague Peter Singer. The piece is called ‘How to be all that you can be: A look at the Pentagon’s five step plan for making Iron Man real’ and it describes a number of Pentagon programs to convert soldiers into weapons systems. Peter’s article describes a number of cool technologies, including electro-darts, insect vision and X-ray vision, ‘Luke’s binoculars’ (that’d be Luke Skywalker), exoskeletons, nanomuscle fibres and bionic boots – and also addresses the consequences of these highfalutin technologies for the militaries which deploy them and the soldiers who use them.

On the subject of Pentagon planning, the American media this week has also been full of the strange story of the scheme to develop Baghdad’s Green Zone into an upscale neighbourhood, complete with international hotel. I do not often quote Alan Greenspan, but this strikes me as ‘irrational exuberance.’

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