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Bomb them with 'bots

"Bomb them with butter" campaigns are popular among both opponents and supporters of W's war in Afghanistan. There is some evidence that food airdrops are more about propaganda than about feeding people, but as long as we're fantasizing about humanitarian gestures we can make without getting our hands dirty, I've got another suggestion. We could bomb them with 'bots.

There are an estimated 10 million land mines in Afghanistan, enough to kill or maim over a quarter of the population. I'd like to see the mars rover people team up with the bomb-sniffer folks to make a rugged little rover that puts spray paint wherever it finds a suspected land mine -- and if possible sounds an alarm and detonates the mine as well. I say make 'em cheap and sow the country with millions of sniffer bots so those land mines don't stand a chance. Make them out of recyclable plastic so their remnants can start a new industry in Afghanistan. And if that works, bring in the wizards at I-Bot to make more ambitious devices that target other kinds of arms as well. Turn Afghanistan into a no-explosives zone and watch the bad guys find somewhere else to play.

Ah, fantasy is a nice thing. Except that I fear that less benign fantasies are what really drives this conflict.

toys 2001.10.08 link
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