Iron Dome – saviour or boondoggle ?


Sounds like something from the title of one of the old “Mad Max” movies….

Anyway, Iron Dome is Israels anti-missle defense system that has been getting a lot of press lately. A whopping 90% sucess rate according to the Israeli press.

The Iron Dome system, designed by the Israeli company Rafael, and produced in conjunction with US defense contractor Ratheon. At the cost of $50 million per battery, and $90,000 per missle. Supposedly 5 have been deployed- with another dozen give or take planned.

Now, make no mistakes- the US taxpayer is paying the brunt of these costs. Besides tax breaks and other aid to Ratheon, Israel is our single largest recipient of foreign aid. In 2007 Bush signed a ten year, $30 Billion dollar military aid package for israel. Roughly 1/5 to 1/4 of the Israeli defense budget is US dollars. The Republicans house budget plan for 2013 includes just under $1 Billion for the Iron Dome project alone.

Israel has stated plans to recover their portion of the cost (sorry US taxpayer- the moneys not coming here) by selling the system to other countries (South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan primarily)

But- there’s a problem. As a lot of the tech and science (and even some military) type sites have been discussing this past week. The system may be worthless to most other countries. Yes- the system has had great sucess- in shooting down low tech rockets. Ballistic missles- the threat virtually every other country interested in missle defense systems, are another beast entirely.

I am actually somewhat surprised that the conspiracy theorist types haven’t been implying that Israels assination of a Hamas leader, which led to the recent conflict, was designed to “prove” the system- and in so doing keep the billions of US dollars flowing while potentially creating a market for additional revenue for Israel via sales of the system. Or maybe they have- seems like a conspiracy theory that would come from the left- and it is the wing nuts on the right that have much broader outlets for their ideas… And it IS worth noting that in the month or two before this latest episode there was a great deal of talking up the iron dome system from the right. (go to google and do a news search, using the advanced settings to set the dates to the 2-3 months prior to the latest violence).

Regardless. There is no denying the billions the development of this system has cost the american taxpayer (would Romeny classify Israel as a “taker”, a supporter of Obama because of “gifts”? ) And the “sucess” or more importantly- the broad usefulness of this system, the return on the money, IS highly debatable.

While the Irondome system undoubtedly saved lives in Israel- something which I would say is impossible to put a price on (though the actuaries of our nations insurance companies would insist I am wrong- there IS an assignable dollar value (generally $7-8 million which would mean Irondome has not even come close to breaking even). Andwhen it comes to defensive weapons one must always question whether their existence serves to encourage agression by limiting the repercussions of a countries actions.

One can only wonder “what-if” these billions had been poured into a solution rather into weapons and the hands of the military-industrial complex.

 

some related reading:

Iron Dome at “thediplomat.com”

Iron Dome at wikipedia

Congressional Research Service report on aid to Israel

Harvard Journalism Report discussing the above CRS Israel Aid Report

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About drugsandotherthings

I am a criminal. Because I have used cannabis and psychedelics extensively. I have tried many other drugs, but never cared for the uppers, downers, or dissociatives. I love craft beer, and absinthe, but don't care much for alcohols effects- which quite frankly, are boring and dangerous. Science is my religion. I am in my 40's, and have travelled extensively. And often forced myself outside of my confort zone. I am employed, a respected member of my communtiy, an animal lover, an environmentalist, a political junkie, and the realities I have experienced continue to push me further to the left of the political spectrum.
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