Iron Dome changing the shape of battle

Washington Post:
The newest battery of Israel’s stunningly effective missile defense system had been in place in Tel Aviv for just a few hours when militants in the Gaza Strip launched the first long-range rocket that threatened to slam into the densely populated coastal city.

Had the Nov. 17 strike succeed, Israel’s latest clash with Palestinian fighters, then in its fourth day, could have easily devolved into a protracted and devastating ground war. Instead, Tel Aviv residents, who hadn’t seriously contemplated the risk of missile attacks on the city since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, marveled as a radar-guided munition soared into the sky and blasted the rocket in a thundering boom.

The interception of the Iranian-funded Farj-5 rocket — and more than 400 other rockets — played a key role in the truce reached the following week, gave Israel bragging rights for sticking with a defense system that faced sharp criticism, and is all but certain to redefine how the Jewish state and its adversaries fight in the future. For now, Iron Dome, the highest profile component of Israel’s multi-layered missile defense system, has exceeded expectations and is widely seen as a technological breakthrough.

“It was really a miracle,” said Israeli Air Force Col. Zvika Haimovich, who runs the missile defense system, noting the battery that destroyed the Farj-5 had only been deployed to Tel Aviv the day before. “It was an amazing process.”

Iron Dome is arguably the only undisputed victor of Israel’s latest siege on Gaza militants, which left much of the enclave in ruins, but has boosted the standing of the hard-line Palestinian militant groups that run it. U.S. Defense Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta gushed as he hosted outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon this week.

“Iron Dome performed, I think it’s fair to say, remarkably well during the recent escalation,” Panetta said. After noting that the United States has helped finance the system, he added: “Iron Dome does not start wars. It helps prevent wars.”

There is much more.

The system will make a difference in dealing with a rational enemy.  Unfortunately for Israel they have few of those.  Most of their enemies are irrational religious bigots who think God is on their side even if they keep losing.  Even when they lose they act like they won.  Still it is even more important to have such a defensive system when dealing with someone like that.

The system also proves just how wrong those who opposed Reagan's missile defense system were.  People like John Kerry and even Obama were clearly wrong to oppose the development of the system.

Fox News tells how the system saves lives.


  1. One of the phenomena noted in the American Civil War was "the ascendancy of the defense" -- basically, defense became more effective than attack.

    I wonder if we're seeing another such swing of the pendulum.


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