It’s well known that war is all about old men (or, as in the case of Mrs. Thatcher, old women) sending young men to die. And sometimes in war many young men – too many – die pointlessly because of the crass ineptitude of their leaders. However, even in peacetime that leadership can result in meaningless deaths.

Back in February 2010 I wrote about the GT200 bomb scanners that the army had purchased. They didn’t work at all. They were just a meaningless box of wires which performed no function whatsoever. If the salesman had claimed “nothing is better than the GT200” he’d have been right. Then the news about the devices dried up. I’d assumed that the GT200s had quietly been taken out of use. How wrong I was. The matter has recently resurfaced because of an investigation into the purchasing of the devices. (And it’s almost certainly not a matter of whether there was corruption involved or not, but rather the extent of the corruption.) The devices are still in use. Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimaprakorn is reported as saying recently

“[I] have seen the effectiveness of GT200 detectors in finding explosives.”

The Defence Minister, Sukumpol Suwanatat, backs him up

“The GT200 bomb detectors, which are used in the far South, do work and they have detected explosives many times.”

Of course, this is utter nonsense. As the Bangkok Post put it

“It is easy to understand why the military would be reluctant to give up the device. It is lightweight, very portable and it can be used from a distance, allowing the user to stay out of range of dangerous explosives. The only problem, of course, is that it doesn’t work.“

And so more young men are going to be senselessly blown to bits by the terrorists in the South because the old men in charge are either too stupid to understand the irrefutable evidence that the devices are completely useless, or have something to hide.


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