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The Military Technology

Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel 377

An anonymous reader writes "Many this week have declared Israel's American financed Iron Dome rocket defense system a success. Some have even gone so far to declare it a vindication of Ronald Reagan's 1980's Star Wars missile defense system. Pundits have even gone so far to assume the system could be sold to other nations. However, the Iron Dome may not be the game changer many are making it out to be. Taking out unsophisticated rockets is quite different than advanced missiles: '...the technical and strategic challenges of shooting down ballistic missiles differ considerably from those of shooting down unguided rockets. BMD shares with rocket defense some common technological ground; both require fast reaction time and impressive sensor capabilities, and the Iron Dome project has benefited from technical work on missile defense. However, ballistic missiles in flight behave differently from unguided, sub-atmospheric rockets.'"
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Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:44PM (#42062589)

    Aren't unguided rockets also ballistic missiles? How are they different?


  • one other place (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jefp ( 90879 ) <jef@mail.acme.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:48PM (#42062621) Homepage

    Since it works on artillery shells too, the other place it would work real well is: Seoul.

  • Re:one other place (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:58PM (#42062721)

    Not really. One of the key reasons why the Iron Dome works for Israel is because the rocket attacks aren't coordinated. If Hamas launched ALL of its rockets/artillery AT THE SAME TIME, the Israeli Iron Dome system would simply be overwhelming. Don't forget, about 10% of the rockets/artillery are getting through and thats with staggered/uncoordinated attacks. If they were all launched at the same time (which, the North Korean military is surely trained to do), the failure rate would easily double or triple simply because reload times would create opening in the defense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:12PM (#42062839)

    Notice the one big story not covered by the network is the missile attack from Israel on Gaza so far killing 150+ people.

    You fund them with $2.5 billion a year, when the USA cannot afford that funding. They in turn need to be at constant war, even with the civilian population of Gaza, just to justify it.

    Their 'missile shield' protects them from retaliation fireworks, while they bomb the crap out of the population of Gaza and declare everyone hit to be a 'militant' or a 'terrorist', even the children, women, families, even the UN school they bombed the last time.

    Just stop funding them! Really, it's that simple, they'll stop killing people if they have to pay for their own constant warmongering.

  • Re:one other place (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lucm ( 889690 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:19PM (#42062889)

    Seoul is definitely a very good example of building defense against low-tech attacks. The Iron Dome is impressive but if Israel's ennemies start doing like North Korea and dig tunnels under the DMZ it will be useless. So far the Americans in the Korean JSA have found (and closed) 3 tunnels, one of which was wide enough to allow a full-scale invasion.

    People underestimate low-tech. The West Bank Barrier, which is basically a big wall, can be blamed from a humanitarian perspective, but from a security/military perspective it actually helped to drastically minimize the number of car and suicide bombings on the israeli territory; now the war is fought on the outskirts or directly in other countries (such as Lebanon) and the focus is on rockets, but 20 years ago the situation was totally different with bus or market bombs being typical.

    History is full of successful low-tech solutions, like the barbed wire wall built by Mussolini's henchman (Graziani) in Libya that prevented the mujahideen to bring supplies to the resistance. History is also full of high-tech solutions that ended up being an expensive fiasco, like the Maginot Line. (Some people would put Reagan's SDI in that list but as a conspiracy theory buff I prefer to think it was all a master plan to push USSR to bankrupt itself by building a bigger arsenal).

    As far as rockets are concerned, I'd be curious to see a cost analysis of the Iron Dome versus a shitload of snipers with high-powered rifles trying to shoot rockets as they fly over the territory. Just sayin'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:26PM (#42062923)

    One day, some strangers came and slapped a condo on it, cutting off my access to the beach.

    The people they setup in the place then began throwing rocks at my family.

    My family and I appealed to the authorities, but the largest and most powerful among them are staunch friends of the new people.

    There was absolutely no chance of any kind of peaceful negotiation, so it's been open hostility between us ever since.

    A few years ago they even invaded what remained of our property and threw most of us off it, then built another condo on it.

    We'd love to get our yard back, but it's been too long now.

    The grandchildren of the new people call the condo home, and feel the beach is rightfully theirs now.

    They won't consider the possibility of giving us even a narrow right-of-way to the sea.

    It's a most unfortunate situation, and I don't know how it's going to end.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:30PM (#42062945)

    The fact is that, as far as some people are concerned, Israel can do no wrong and is completely beyond criticism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:38PM (#42063011)

    I can't tell if you are trolling or just ridiculously young.

    We weren't worried about 9/11 or car bombings. We were worried about Soviet invasion or preemptive strikes. Our enemy then *was* clear, in contrast to today.

    Anyway, greetings from the other side of the fall of the Berlin wall.

  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:41PM (#42063029)

    Thousands have been launched towards Israel. Dozens have been hurt.

    This kind of says it all, really... I wish I could find the reference at the moment, but I read somewhere a couple of years ago that most of the rockets that are being fired into Israel don't even have a payload, and are just empty shells. Compare and contrast to how many have been injured or killed by Israeli reaction (not to mention the blockade of medical supplies and construction equipment/supplies into the west bank). There was an episode of The West Wing, in Season 1 which summed it up quite nicely... episode 3 - Proportional Response. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJMVtP1CbOM [youtube.com]

    I really hope that the Iron Dome system works as advertised, and that it allows cooler heads to prevail. I also hope that the cease fire that was negotiated and announced today succeeds. If either of those fails to happen, it does not bode well.

  • Re:one other place (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:41PM (#42063031)

    A sniper shooting a rocket out of the air? I think you've been watching too many movies. It's considered a good shot for a sniper to hit a relatively stationary human-sized target at 1-2km away. While it's hard to find a good figure, the rockets Hamas et al are using look to be traveling at 200m/s, which means they will cover the effective firing range in 5-6 seconds, which is nowhere near enough time to get a bead and fire. With a few hundred snipers and a known launch point, they could maybe hit 1 out of every 100 by sheer luck, if that (although I grant you even a near hit might knock the rocket off course or destroy it, it's still going to be incredibly ineffective).

  • by multicoregeneral ( 2618207 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:00PM (#42063163) Homepage
    Israel is fighting organized armed insurgents whose stated mission is to destroy it. It's a threat that's existed in this form since 1967, and it's not going away.

    Just think for a minute about how America would handle this. It only took one terrorist attack on our soil for every politician and every government agency in North America to collectively lose it's mind. We started two wars, eroded our own civil rights, distorted Constitution and treaties with other nations beyond recognition. We created new government agencies which (let's face facts,) do nothing, and we've been berating and hate killing Muslims ever since.

    And that's just one attack. Before you judge Israel, think for a second about how we would respond to thousands of them. I can't tell you what America would do, but I'll tell you this: America would respond in ways that make the entire history of Israeli threat response look like acts of kindness.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:44AM (#42063739)

    It is the perfect strategy if your goal is to terrorize a group of people. Thousands of missiles launched into Israel and the pictures of damage caused by the few with actual payloads are much more effective weapons then just launching the ones with payloads.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:54AM (#42063781) Homepage
    Funny that all the responsibility lies on Israel when Hamas could, you know, just stop attacking with rockets. Then there would be no people killed by Israeli reaction. Seems a simple solution? Especially as Hamas knows that there will be an Israeli reaction and the Israelis themselves have clearly stated that there will be a reaction. Indeed the very word "reaction" implies a reply to a previous action. What's wrong with my solution?
  • by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:16AM (#42063859)
    Some people here may not be old enough to remember all the propaganda about the Patriot anti-Missile system's effectiveness during the first Gulf War. The media/public were fed total lies. Patriot turned out not to be very effective at all. Given that Israeli officials are currently the only information source for Iron Dome's amazing 90% success rate, surely we should be highly sceptical. Instead all I have seen in the media are endless uncritical articles about how amazing Iron Dome is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:23AM (#42063895)

    Hamas will not stop until they value their own civilians more than they value the possibility of killing Israelis.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:48AM (#42063981)

    Israel is just shadow boxing. It plays up the threats it faces and has a perpetual war with Gaza. Under the cover of this war it loots Gaza and steals the land. Over time the aim is to make Gaza into Israel.

    Whenever things become peaceful, they stir the pot to keep the fighting going and to create some more enemies to attack.

    "Before you judge Israel, think for a second about how we would respond to thousands of them"

    And what if it was American that Israel kept bombing? What if it was American that Israel captured land and build houses on? What if Israel bulldozed American houses? Blockaded America? Attacked it's infrastructure? Seized its money? What then??

    What I think should happen, is American should stop funding these murderers. It should arrest and prosecute the US politicians who take money to put Israels interests above American interests. It should break the blockade on Gaza and have war trials for the Israeli generals.

    American politicians who support Israeli interests over American ones are traitors to their country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:50AM (#42063995)

    It isn't the response that is needed. What is needed is an end to the blockade. While I can understand Israel's kneejerk reaction on implementing it, it really is illegal by international law to take punitive action on an entire populace for the crimes of the terrorists. The UN recently released a report that noted that the Gaza strip will be unlivable by 2020. This has to stop.

    But this won't be enough. Israel needs to be serious on negotiations with both the leaders of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Continuing to expand settlements in the West Bank even though it is not under Hamas control only emboldens Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The apartheid that is occuring in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank needs to end. Until Israel is serious about this there will be continued resistance.

    I know it is popular to say that the Palestinians harbor terrorists, thus they are not worthy of sympathy. But they have serious fucking grievances against Israel. And Israel is completely ignoring them and scapegoating them.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:13AM (#42064109) Journal
    Hamas kept a ceasefire in Gaza for nearly two years when the were elected by the Palestinians, Israel responded by moving the goal posts. It's apartheid ME style, neither side shows the slightest bit of humanity to the other or the normal people trapped in between.
  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:17AM (#42064127)

    Go ahead, be in a city with a for-real air raid siren going off. Then, have that happen a couple of times a day for weeks. See how it affects your psyche.

    The Germans tried that with Britain in 1940. It didn't have the desired effect. It had rather the opposite effect. Then within two years the British tried it with Germany using vastly more force. It still didn't have the effect of turning the German people decisively against the prosecution of the war. It made their life a living hell, but they didn't revolt or go crazy. Do I have to explain about North Vietnam? Or Iraq 1991? Or Iraq 2003?

    Under air attack a population doesn't have an easy time of it. But terror? I don't think that's quite the right word. Try fatalism, dogged resolve, bitter thirst for revenge, maybe hate.

    None of this means I think think any of the missile attacks against Israel have been anywhere near that level.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:17AM (#42064299)

    Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2008. Then Hamas came into power and resumed attacks, so Israel implemented the blockade, but they still didn't reoccupy.

    Contrast this with the West Bank where after pulling out the PLA has generally avoided confrontation. No blockade, almost no travel restrictions, and a growing economy.

    Repeat, the charter of Hamas is the destruction of Israel and a world wide war on Jews. They openly admit that they will not make permanent peace with Israel.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:20AM (#42064305) Journal

    If the Palestines get their way, the gaza strip becomes a sovereign nation and it is perfectly legal to close the borders between nations. THAT is the HUGE elephant in the room in this conflict. The Palestines NEED Israel more then Israel needs them and the arabs don't want them at all.

    You see, the occupied territories BELONG to someone. The arab neighbours of Israel who lost it after Israel didn't get wiped out when the Arab nations ganged up together to wipe it out and instead Israel took sizable chunks of their land. If Israel withdraws, possession of those lands should naturally revert to those nations.

    Right now all the occupied territories have TWO borders. One with Israel and one with an Arab nation. BOTH sides are closed. In fact the Muslim side tends to be FAR more closed. Egypt has lost many a live dealing with smuggling into Gaza. None of its neighbours WANT a Palestine state on their border or they could have created one ANY TIME THEY WANTED TO. Palestines are trouble, they are the one group who so far has achieved a lot through armed resistance. There is not a single neighbour to Israel that doesn't have its own trouble groups that could take inspiration from this. Hell, just ask Khaddafi. Did he enjoy the people taking power through armed resistance? Didn't think so. A Palestine victory will send the message that armed rebellion works, with the Arab spring a lot know this already but it is a message those in power would care not to reinforce.

    An indepedent Palestine state would need to exist on its own, without relying on Israeli resources and infrastructure. The border would be 100% closed. Canadians can't just wander into the US as they please either can they? And those are somewhat friendly nations that just think the other is silly. The border between a palestine state and Israel would be closer to the border between north and south korea and that one is PERFECTLY legal. Sovereign nations do NOT have to deal with each other if they don't want to. And any attack from one may be answered with force by the other, as much force as the attacked side pleases. That is what war is all about after all. Real war, not police actions however twisted they might get.

    Do you REALLY THINK that Russia, China and Iran want to send the message that armed resistance by Muslims against a more powerful opponent can work in the long run? The first already has exactly the same problem with Tjetnie, China has its muslims who want independence and Iran is supressing its own population harshly. Why do you THINK that Hamas rockets are still so primitive? Iran wants to build nukes but it can't even build a decent rocket? It ain't rocket science anymore. Hamas gets the absolute minimum support to keep them going but not enough to actually achieve anything. Why do you think the west is the biggest donator of humanitarian support? It is no secret Israel got its economy going on bad land thanks to enormous donations, Israel is the only nations were the taxpayers live abroad and WANT to pay taxes freely. But Muslims ain't poor either, were is the Golf State Marshall plane to kickstart the Palestine economy with a few billions?

    No, having the conflict brewing suits most Muslims just fine, shows they are not just rolling over and giving in, that they are making a fist against the great Satans but actually finishing it, one way or another, that would risk the cozy lifestyles of the powers that be.

    And if you want to resolve this, why not start on something simpler first.

    Sort out the United Kingdom, it is easy, just sort out Ireland, Schotland, Wales and Brittain. They all speak the same language (HA!) so it should be a cakewalk!

    Next, the basks, Belgium and oh sort out the European tax havens. Then you can start thinking about Tibet, Korea and maybe then you will be ready to sort out the middle east.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:28AM (#42064335)

    > the Gaza strip will be unlivable by 2020

    And BAM!, you inadvertedly discovered the background motivation for Israels actions the last 60 years. Slo-mo cleansing of non-jews.

    How anti-Semitic of you...

    No, Israel is mostly interested in removing militant anti-Semitics hell-bent on destroying Israel (and if possible every jew on the planet) from its neighborhood.

    (not the AC that replied)

    First, the GP wasn't being antisemitic. Criticism of Israel isn't antisemitism nor is acknowledging the apartheid or the war crimes that are occurring there antisemitic. Just because there are Jews in Israel does not mean that criticism of Israel is criticism or stereotyping Jews. And attempting to shut down a conversation by making a false claim of racism is one of the worst types of slander. You should be ashamed.

    Second, collective punishment is a violation of international law. Maintaining a blockade that will make an area uninhabitable is a crime against humanity. Removing terrorists from around its territory is allowed, but collective punishment is not. If Israel continues on this course, it will be reviled like South Africa was during the apartheid era.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:03AM (#42064445)

    That was a pretty long post for the premise that you support the oppression of the Palestinians because it might upset the current world order. And yes, Wales and Scotland are being oppressed to the exact same degree as the Palestinians. Give me a fucking break.

    What the Palestinians need are the rights given to every other free citizen in the world. The right to travel, the right to citizenship, the right to justice, and the right to make a living in their homeland. Currently they have none of these rights. Why? Because currently they are stateless so nobody recognizes that they have human rights. I'm sorry that their essential human rights are so disruptive to the world order, but I would like to give a big "fuck you" to you and anyone else who thinks the status quo is acceptable because the rest of the world might have to adapt if Palestinians had human rights.

  • by stjobe ( 78285 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @05:13AM (#42064659) Homepage

    If Israel continues on this course, it will be reviled like South Africa was during the apartheid era.

    In many places, it already is.

    Most of the EU, for instance, seem to think that the Israeli are being quite unreasonable with the land the UN gave them in 1948.
    Sure, it's a game of I-slap-you-because-you-slapped-me-because-I-slapped-you ad nauseam, but one of the parties slap rather harder than the other; often unreasonably so.

    But they have the backing of the US, and as long as they do, nobody's going to protest too much. If they didn't have uncle Sam condoning their every move, my guess is they'd be struck down as a rogue state in a matter of weeks.

  • by mrvan ( 973822 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @05:59AM (#42064801)

    If the Palestines get their way, the gaza strip becomes a sovereign nation and it is perfectly legal to close the borders between nations. THAT is the HUGE elephant in the room in this conflict. The Palestines NEED Israel more then Israel needs them and the arabs don't want them at all.

    If Gaza were a souvereign nation:

    1. Israel would be totally free to close the land border. In fact, Israel has closed borders with Lebanon and Syria and that is fine in terms of international law

    2. Israel would *not* be allowed to blockade Gaza from the sea and air, as it currently does. Blockading is an act of war and would justify an armed response from Gaza, making Israeli the aggressor if a war occurs. (in fact, blockading of the red sea leading to Eilat was was part of the casus belli for the 6 days war, so Israel certainly acknowledges that blockade is an act of war).

    3. There would be no objection to Gaza importing arms from Egypt and Iran and training a real military.

    At the moment, (1) is already a reality, and Israel really does not want (2) and (3). In fact, preventing (re)arming of Hamas was a stated objective of the 2009 Gaza War. Although economically Gaza would profit much more from integration with Israel, at the moment they're getting the worst of both worlds: they are blockaded from outside and closed off from Israel. So, Gaza (the region/potential country/people) absolutely has nothing to gain from the status quo.

    (Of course, whether current Hamas leadership prefers the status quo to a more normalized situation where they can't abuse the conflict with Israel to stay in power is a totally different question...)

  • by Maudib ( 223520 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:02AM (#42064811)

    Israel pulled out of the west bank entirely in 2008. Hamas brought in a bunch of weapons and attacked Israel, so Israel put in place a blockade.

    The West Bank has no blockade, because they don't attack Israel. They also have freedom of movement and travel and a growing economy. The settlements are provocations, that the government often bulldozes. Its not government policy.

    If Hamas committed to stopping attacks and recognizing Israel's right to exist, they would get a two state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital, just like Israel had offered at Camp David. However Hamas and their backers have no interest in that. They don't want permanent peace, they want nothing less then the complete destruction of Israel.

    Thats what I don't get. Who can look at Hamas's charter and who's backing them and honestly conclude that they are the slightest bit interested in peace. They are indiscriminate butchers, not just of Israelis but of Palestinians too. Who on earth would consider entrenching their power to be a good thing for anyone in the region. Israel is no saint, but they would gladly trade land for peace if it actually meant peace.

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:03AM (#42064813) Homepage

    The first step of newspeak is the misappropriation of words.
    Suddenly racism against jews is worse than racism against other races, and racism against arabs no longer exists.
    Anybody using "anti-semitic" to mean "anti-jew" is a racist of the most dangerous type.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @08:19AM (#42065247)

    What would you consider to be a proportional response?

    At this stage? Proportional would be wiping Palestine off the face of the Earth. While I understand their complaint, they don't behave in a civilized nor intelligent manner. They lob rockets and Israel, then get all uppity when Israel attacks their launch sites like its not okay to do so.

    Palestinian 'traitors' tell the IDF were the rocket sites are so Israel doesn't carpet bomb them ... and they behead the 'traitors' in the streets. The 'traitors' that saved countless civilians lives by making military targets known for accurate attacks rather than carpet bombing.

    Their citizens are proud of their terrorists and think Israel should pay them because their sons get killed when they do shit like take hostages from the Church of the Nativity.

    America isn't the only country that is in Afghanistan, and it wasn't the first in there either. Hell, you can't even spell it.

    There are no innocents when they hide murderers in their ranks. Take your proportional response and shove it up your ass. Proportional is what it takes to make it stop.

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @09:28AM (#42065511) Journal

    Look at everything said in the GP comment, not just the part you pick to rail about.

    There are two closed borders. Why does the blockade of the border on the Arab side get a pass and the one on the otherside not?

    The Arab states USE the Palestinians as a trapped proxy force against Israel in a cynical and vile fashion. And 'progressive' types around the world ignore this or even cheer them on. How disgusting and hypocritical.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jws[ ]he.com ['myt' in gap]> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:25AM (#42065807) Homepage Journal

    What would you consider to be a proportional response?

    That's where I'm confused to people's responses.

    You neutralize the threat.

    If someone is launching rockets from Point A, towards your Point B.
    You return fire at Point A.

    The launchers are destroyed. Any more rockets at that site are destroyed. The people launching those rockets are destroyed. There may be civilian casualties at Point A, but they can be assumed to be colluding with the attacker(s).

    The weapons operators of Point B (Israel) have sufficient technology to do this without missing wildly.

    The American (United States, for those confused about the usage in this context) response typically misses wildly.

    Follow the Richard Reid attempt with his shoe, the American response was that all domestic passengers have to pass their shoes through X-ray.

    The idea that a binary explosive could be held in common liquid containers has resulted in all liquid containers greater than 3.4 oz are forbidden from flights.

    And the terrorist attacks of 2001 resulted in two wars against nations that were only thought to have had involvement.

    It could be said that we aren't very good at proportional response. It could be said that we are very *bad* at it.

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