"U.S. soldiers in Iraq have new gear for dispersing hostile crowds and warding off potential enemy combatants," the Associated Press reports. "It blasts earsplitting noise in a directed beam. "

The equipment, called a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, is a so-called "non-lethal weapon" developed after the 2000 attack on the USS Cole off Yemen as a way to keep operators of small boats from approaching U.S. warships.The devices have been used on some U.S. ships since last summer as part of a suite of protection measures.Now, the Army and Marines have added this auditory barrage dispenser to their arms ensembles... Some of the Iraq-bound devices will be used by members of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, both recently deployed to the western province of Al Anbar, a largely barren, predominantly Sunni Muslim area.
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