Monday, March 19, 2012

Iron Dome: The Strategic Disaster

By Moshe Feiglin

The Chief Commander of the Expulsion from Gush Katif, Dan Harel, praises the Iron Dome system (editor: during the present fighting between Israel and Gaza, the Iron Dome missile intercepting system has successfully intercepted 85% of the missiles heading for Israeli cities and towns). He forgot, however, to remind us of the leading role that he played in the operation that created the need for Iron Dome, in the first place. The media and reserve generals are justifiably lauding the abilities of the system that gives the government the maneuvering space that it needs to weigh the situation carefully. Without Iron Dome we might, perish the thought, have been forced to re-conquer Gaza.

The Iron Dome system does not give us maneuvering space to weigh the situation and its consequences. On the contrary, it is a fig leaf that absolves our leadership of its main role: preserving State security.

The Iron Dome is a tremendous technological accomplishment. But the great technological success is also our great strategic failure.

Let us imagine that the IDF had decided to equip itself with the ultimate tank. Our brilliant engineers come up with a revolutionary proposal for a new type of tank shield. There is only one drawback: for every centimeter of shield, the tank's cannon loses one meter off its length and its range decreases by 20 kilometers. By all calculations, if we completely forgo the tank's ability to shoot and move, we will have a miracle tank, impervious to anti-tank weapons.

We all know how a tank like that would end up: It would never win a battle and its crew would eventually be taken captive.

All those Iron Dome enthusiasts need to take a short walk down memory lane. Try to remember Israeli mentality before Oslo. Let's say that the year is 1991. Now take this week's news reports on missiles in Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon and broadcast it as is in 1991. How would that news report go over?

Probably, we would think that it was a practical joke. Remember: missiles in Ashkelon are a casus belli – a reason for an all-out war.

And how is this war defined today?
Government and IDF officials and the media are calling it a "round."
That's all.
It is just a "round of fighting."

The Iron Dome reinforces the legitimacy to attack Israel's cities – highlighting the fact that Israel itself is no longer very legitimate.

Defense systems are important, just as tank shields are vital. But that is true only when we are on the offensive and focused on victory. In defensive-defeatist mode, these systems draw the end near. They are like aspirin for cancer.

By the grace of G-d, as these words are being written, there have been no serious injuries. But national leadership must first and foremost weigh its actions in light of national security. Just as with Gilad Shalit, our leadership is has taken the opposite tack; it is selling our future security for a short-term panacea.

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