View Full Version : Iraqi Magic Wands

George Jung
11-04-2009, 12:09 AM
NYTimes story about the use of 'magic wands' the Iraqis 'swear by' for detecting explosives. They're using these instead of physical inspections. I'll C and P for your inspection, or you can just 'trust me' (like the Iraqis would:D).

BAGHDAD — Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo)’s security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless.

(javascript:pop_me_up2('http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/11/04/world/04sensors_CA1.html',%20'04sensors_CA1',%20'width=7 20,height=563,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=no,resizable =yes')) Johan Spanner for The New York Times
The sensor device, known as the ADE 651, from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Iraq has bought more than 1,500 of the devices.

The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United States Air Force (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/us_air_force/index.html?inline=nyt-org) officer, Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, who described the wand as nothing more than an explosives divining rod.
Still, the Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 of the devices, known as the ADE 651, at costs from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Nearly every police checkpoint, and many Iraqi military checkpoints, have one of the devices, which are now normally used in place of physical inspections of vehicles.
With violence dropping in the past two years, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/nuri_kamal_al-maliki/index.html?inline=nyt-per) has taken down blast walls along dozens of streets, and he contends that Iraqis will safeguard the nation as American troops leave.

What I didn't find was who is making these 'devices'? And who is paying for them? I don't think I'd like the answer to either question.

Edit: Whoops! It's a UK company - and they're under investigation. But a bit further in the story was this:

“I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,” General Jabiri said. “I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.”

Ah, good to know that security is being turned over to good hands.

11-04-2009, 12:24 AM
Damn, their on to us...

I was just getting ready to release a 'magnum' version called the 'ID10T'.

11-04-2009, 12:29 AM
I was just getting ready to release a 'magnum' version called the 'ID10T'.

You can re-brand it as a device for "pre-treating" gasoline to improve fuel economy and horsepower.

People will buy that here in this country.

George Jung
11-04-2009, 02:09 PM
The ol' 'greatest fool' approach, I guess. It's an amazing exposure into how the thought process actually functions, and to me, offers some amazing insights as to what might be effective in this campaign. Think the Iraqi 'allies' think any differently from the opposition?

We just need to send in an updated version of 'Starwars'. They bought it once; maybe, again.

11-04-2009, 02:42 PM
These work too.


11-04-2009, 03:12 PM
We use the Enlightenment a lot as a straw man in Bilge discussions, but I'll tell you honestly: this is the sort of thing that happens in countries that have not been through it yet. They can have the trappings of an educated middle class society, but their philosophical underpinnings leave them vulnerable to such farces.

Other than that, it is quite clear that some Iraqi officials are getting fat bribes from a British company, and that the Coalition is for whatever reason afraid to do anything about it.

11-04-2009, 03:17 PM
Magical thinking serves a purpose to help people feel in control of things beyond their control. It's not confined to authorities in a war torn country.

Look at what the US did to get into Iraq after 9/11. With no factual basis we believed Iraq was armed with "wmd" and would give them to Osama.
We had a gov't that believed, or said it believed, that it had a plan for post war stability.

I really can't get off on ridiculing people who have been through decades of war and are living in a second amendment wet dream full of AK47 and high explosives.