As spellbinding a technological innovation as lasers are, using them on the battlefield is a shame. This makes it a historic piece of human intelligence, used to wipe out the very species which created it.
War is a simple, yet brutal, thing that happens in life. That's why I agree that battlefield lasers should be banned completely. Even though death and war are so gruesome, we should respect the others we set out to conquer, and leave them to rest in peace. They should still be able to be identified as heroes, and not as parts of random bodies laying about.
Battlefield lasers are one of those technological advances that was better imagined, rather than actually used. Being used in battle, numerous troops have been injured and killed. They are hard to use, difficult to control, and we also don't know the long-term effects on what the beams might do to soldiers who have constant contact with the guns.
If we don't evolve with better, improved weaponry we will not be able to protect ourselves. Not only do we need to protect ourselves, but our families and the beliefs we are fighting for.
Lasers on the battlefield are the stuff of science fiction, so there's probably no point in banning them. However, I feel strongly that any money spent on research and development of lasers for use on the battlefield should be banned. If history teaches us anything, it's that war causes untold misery, so I'd prefer to my tax money to be spent on finding ways to promote peace. Lasers already have so many applications in health care, why not spend money on making better and cheaper lasers for that.
Through out the history any new technology introduced in the warfare has devastating side-effects not just in the war, but also for people and life in general; effecting societies, cultures, environment and life on earth altogether. Technologies like laser-based are quite easy to tweak and if it falls in the hands of extremists then their uses or applications can be limited only to their imagination.
Laser eye surgery restores vision for millions. Lasers improve high-speed welding quality. Lasers help remove tattoos and excess scar tissue. Lasers are used in computer media readers. Lasers are merely modern tools. What is a battlefield laser? It is either a laser strong enough to cut through enemy vehicles and perhaps people, or it is used to blind enemy sensors, so that they cannot find the laser bearer's troops. In the first case, it is no different than a sword or battle axe. In the second case, it is a defensive measure, like smoke screens and camouflage. It is just a tool that can be used in war, like a battle axe that also fells trees to build a shelter, or a long knife that also kills and cleans dinner. It is the use, not the laser, that has the ethical connotations. Banning battlefield lasers doesn't stop explosives, but they can trigger IEDs before someone's leg is blown off by one. Banning battlefield lasers may prevent one from blinding enemy troops, but it won't prevent a bullet from doing the same, while demonizing a laser that could cauterize the wound. Don't ban lasers from the battlefield. It's the killing that's wrong.
There are many types of lasers that could be developed to simply cause a person to become immobilized, rather than receive a lethal injury from a gun with bullets. Lasers also offer more precision targeting, lessening the chance of an innocent civilian receiving what was intended for the enemy, in combat.
Modern lasers are currently being developed and used by law enforcement and security agencies that work in a variety of non-lethal ways. Some examples are bright green lasers that cause temporary blindness and lasers that heat a persons skin to the point they are incapacitated. These could be developed and implemented on a larger scale to immobilize entire battalions and are a good alternative to lethal force that has always been used in the past.
The lessons of history do not indicate that battlefield lasers should be banned. The lessons of history indicate that the best armed force consistently prevails. If we are to defend ourselves, we must avail ourselves of the best weapons. Throughout the Cold War, the USSR was held at bay because the USA had enough nuclear weapons to totally destroy the USSR.
Banning weapons is just as silly as banning guns in American cities, because once the ban is in effect, the only folks with weapons are the criminals. While many nations agreed to ban certain chemical weapons in the past, the ban certainly did not keep chemical weapons from being used. This was the case in the Iraq/Iran war, for example. A case could be made that chemical weapons are indiscriminate, and harm innocents, but the same case could be made for any bomb. On the other hand, lasers are so precise in their targeting and effect, that the case could easily be made that they are humane, and merely zap the targets without unsightly shrapnel.
While war itself seems like an anachronistic way to solve problems, so long as it remains a possibility it must be regulated. Banning particular weapons will sometimes prevent the death of noncombatants or prevent particularly cruel forms of harm; witness bans on landmines and white phosphorus. But some applications of technology to military use have further increased civilian safety. While air power is too readily used in many conflicts and causes immense suffering to innocent people, the use of bombs and missiles that locate their targets with great precision is preferable to the use of crude, indiscriminate equivalents that cause even more collateral damage. Similarly, lasers, given the precision targeting they allow, would seem to offer a humanitarian benefit by reducing the devastation caused by warfare.
I don't think the use of lasers on the battlefield has been around long enough to determine that there is any reason for a ban on it. From the information I have seen, this is a very useful technique to help keep our soldiers safe, and is a military deterrent which is both humane and effective.
The lessons of history do not indicate that lasers on the battlefield should be banned. If anything history has shown us that the most prepared country with the largest firepower will generally win. Lasers could be the largest firepower used short of nuclear weapons and therefore would almost guarantee that whoever held them would win all engagements. Additionally, history has proven that whichever side is the more humane, regardless of the outcome of the battle, will traditionally prevail in the eyes of the world. The use of lasers could be considered humane because it kills quickly and causes little suffering.
I do not think history has revealed ample evidence that lasers should be banned. There are certainly dangers to lasers, but they are no more dangerous than any other tool such as weapons or explosives. Prudence should be exercised when using them. If they end up in the wrong hands, then of course they will be dangerous. But that is just the nature of having a technologically advanced society. Even if they were banned due to their dangers, people would still be able to construct them and use them to malicious ends.
Lasers are useful for precision which can help to eliminate unnecessary losses of life. By increasing our precision we can ensure that only target are hit rather than indiscriminate firing of weapons. This can help us to limit unnecessary losses of civilian life and property.
History does not indicate that lasers should be banned. The technology for lasers continues to develop and make it a better technology to use more frequently. Because of this, we cannot rely on history to tell us whether or not we should still use lasers. Technology continues to evolve to make lasers better.