In the "FEEDBACK" column of October ("Breaking The Hatred Cycle," October 2007, p. 13), while referring to Jack Browne's article "The War Against IEDs" (improvised explosive devices) in Penton's Military Electronics, September 2007, John Evans expresses his opinion that social and cultural issues have nothing to do with the motives of Islamic terrorists. Indeed, he shows that these terrorists have been killing non-Muslims for hundreds of years, and he demands that "mealy mouthed opinions," in this case those of Technical Director Jack Browne, should not be expressed in technical reviews. Browne indicated that understanding social and cultural pressures have a place alongside technology in the war against IEDs.
It would be easy to counter Evans' prejudice relating to Muslim terrorists, along his lines, by quoting dates of historical events throughout the last 2000 years where extremists of races or religions other than Islam persecuted or waged war against those who were not members of the fold, but that's not my point here. I contend that no particular expertise is required to express the opinion that there are moral, economic, social, and political issues to be considered in weapons development, along with the engineering drive to make a better working and more profitable product, and I believe that such policy issues should be discussed in magazines dealing with military defense and weapon technology. Although the Microwaves & RF Technical Director took a small step in this direction, I was disappointed to see his condescending and apologetic reply to Evans' feedback, instead of justifying the expressed position that technology alone is not enough to counter IEDs.
Jack Browne responds: Thank you for your thoughtful note, Alan. As much as I would like to air my full opinions on many matters, both technical and social, I do try to remember that what I'm paid to do here, for the company that owns the magazine, is to address the technical issues. I rely on people like Mr. Evans and yourself to help me express other views. Thanks again for writing.