"Whom do you wish to kill with this hypothetical weapon, and why?"
Now that would be telling! I would like to see a decent system in place to destroy nuclear missiles in the boost phase though, haha.
Does anyone have any idea/reference of how powerful a gamma ray laser beam would be? What would be the destructive power?
Would it burn a whole through a person? How fast would it burn through steel? I know basics found on a laser drilling website using latent heats of the different states but I can't find any decent physics to quote.
Very interesting comment about the mirror problem. But the same applies. What properties would the mirror need to be protected against the beam?
Also the range of the beam... Several factors effect this in current lasers. I know the Airborune Laser Testbed is being scrapped due to its inefficient range meaning that a Boeing 747 would have to be airborne behind enemy lines to be effective.
(reference for laser cutting rates http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~yarin/laser/physics.html)
Read Feynman's last lecture in Vol 1. Also find what Feynman had to say, in retrospect regarding the use of the atomic bomb, which he helped develop.