I read an article from the NYT this morning about a “bomb detection” device used by the Iraqis, which American and Western European military personnel call “virtually useless.” Yet, the Iraqi army has purchased $85 million worth of these devices over the past two years.
The device, called an ADE 651, is not used by any major developed countries today. It is not battery powered. The user must “be rested, with a steady pulse and body temperature,” and has to “walk in place a few moments to “charge” the device.” They then have to hold it at a right angle, and see if the wand moves. If it does, they search the car/person for bombs. If not, they let them pass right on through the checkpoint. Boy, I bet the Iraqi people would feel really safe if they knew that their army was swearing by bomb detection devices that aren’t even powered by electricity…..
The makers of the wand, ATSC, claim that it can “find guns, ammunition, drugs, truffles, human bodies and even contraband ivory at distances up to a kilometer, underground, through walls, underwater or even from airplanes three miles high.” Right……if you buy that, then do I have a bridge to sell you…..
And if the extreme claims made by the company aren’t enough to incite suspicion, how about the fact that just last year, “the James Randi Educational Foundation, an organization seeking to debunk claims of the paranormal, publicly offered ATSC $1 million if it could pass a scientific test proving that the device could detect explosives.” No one from the company took up the offer.
I just can’t understand how the Iraqis can be so f-ing stupid! The lives of their people and the well-being of their country are at stake, and they put all of their faith into a piece of plastic that can’t pass scientific testing to prove that it works. Just a couple weeks ago, a truck carrying two tons of explosives passed through at least one of these checkpoints before self-destructing and killing 155 people. Yet, the Iraqi officials blame the operator of the device, not the device.
I think Colonel Bidlack said it best when he stated that ““It would be laughable, except someone down the street from you is counting on this to keep bombs off the streets.”