By Kingston Reif
Published in Open Zion, a blog at The Daily Beast, on November 29, 2012.
Article summary below; read the full text here.
Iron Dome is all the rage. It has achieved other-worldly status in some defense circles due to reports that the system intercepted 80 to 90 percent of the rockets launched by Hamas it targeted during the most recent Gaza conflict. One Israeli official went so far as to claim that “Iron Dome is capable of 100 percent [across the board].” India and Korea have expressed interest in acquiring the system. And some observers have argued that the success of Iron Dome vindicates the ongoing and costly U.S. effort to protect Europe and the U.S. homeland from a nuclear-armed missile attack.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath.
Iron Dome has been successful in shooting down unsophisticated, inaccurate, and slow-moving short-range rockets headed for Israel. It also may have reduced the pressure felt by Israel’s leaders to invade Gaza. As far as investments in rocket and missile defense are concerned, you could do far worse than Iron Dome. But as others have already written, Iron Dome is not a solution to the strategic dilemma that confronts Israel in the occupied territories. Hamas’s goal in firing rockets does not appear to be to inflict large numbers of casualties or degrade Israel’s military capability; rather its objectives are more political and psychological in nature.