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Long gone are the days when war was governed by an “anything goes” system. As weaponry has become more advanced, so have the rules of warfare. Practices that involve excessive torture of the enemy are not only frowned upon, but have also been made illegal on the international stage.
Now, weaponry is governed by the Geneva Convention, which has outlawed scores of weapons because they cause unnecessary suffering. But here are five that surprised us.
Though these sound pretty medieval, spike pits were in use as late as the Vietnam War. However, Protocol II of the 1979 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons finally banned their use altogether. During World War II, the Japanese were known to coat bamboo spikes with animal feces so that even if the spikes didn’t kill you, an infection certainly would.
Though flamethrowers aren’t entirely banned, you can’t use them to fry your enemies, according to Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. This clause prohibits the use of incendiary weapons on people. You can, however, use them to clear foliage.
Plastic Land Mines
Militaries are no longer allowed to set up land mines that can’t be detected by x-ray. Under Protocol I of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, there is a requirement that all weapons must use metallic fragments that can be seen via x-ray. In addition, mines placed outside of fenced and cordoned areas are required to use self-destruct mechanisms set to go off after a certain period of time. There is also an ongoing campaign to ban the use of land mines internationally through the Ottawa Treaty; however, it has not yet passed. China, Russia, and the United States have yet to sign it.
During the 1898 Hague Convention, it was decided that militaries would no longer be able to drop bombs from balloons; however, the practice survived well into World War II. One family in Oregon — including a pregnant woman and her five children — was killed by one of these balloons while picnicking. They are the only people to be killed in the contiguous United States during World War II. The weapon itself is mostly useless as there isn’t enough impact to set the bombs off as they drift from balloons.
You might not think of pepper spray as a weapon for warfare. But because of the Hague Convention’s ruling on aerosol chemical weapons that disrupt breathing, you can’t bring your pocket mace to the battlefield … not that you should. It’s not exactly an effective weapon, but more like an unpleasant deterrent.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.
Trump's statement to reporters about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came as the Democratic leader of a key congressional panel said the pursuit of Trump's impeachment may be the "only remedy" to the situation.
The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.
These CIA officers were the first US boots on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11 — and one was 'Marine Todd'
Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.