Friday, December 01, 2006
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
"A swift cannon developed in the United States managed to intercept replicas of Qassam rockets during an experiment designed to test its ability to operate on the Gaza border. The anti-Qasam system is developed by an American company, Lockheed Martin, which also manufactures F-16 jets, and was named Sky Shield. The system was based on radars and two swift cannons with a firing rate reaching up to a thousand shells a minute.
According to company sources, the cannon succeeded in smashing the combat head of the Qassam rocket replica during an experiment. The experiment took place on land, although the company claimed that the system proved capable of intercepting rockets in the air. One Sky Shield system costs about USD 15 million. At least four systems would be needed in order to protect a town like Sderot. The main advantage of the system is its availability."
In other words it'll cost 60 million dollars just to defend a single Israeli town with a system that may or may not work in the air with an X amount of failure rate.
The whole problem with investing in complicated defensive systems is
1. They have a high failure rate
2. They're generally a good deal more expensive than the weapons they're meant to defend against
The only real defense is to preemptively destroy the weapons themselves. Building expensive and complicated anti-systems is never going to work and the only time it makes sense is when dealing with nuclear weapons which can't always be preemptively destroyed and whose successful impact has too unimaginably a high cost.
Israel and America's post 9/11 investment in anti-systems is fundamentally misguided. Instead of rooting out the terrorists in Iraq, we run patrols and discuss equipping armored vehicles with Anti-RPG systems. Instead of securing our countries, we equip planes with anti-missile defenses. Instead of taking back the areas the Palestinians as launching pads for attacks, we're instead contemplating deploying this. It's like responding to someone shooting bullets at you by building a complicated expensive system that intercepts the bullets 15 percent of the time, instead of just shooting him first.
What these systems really represent is the lack of will on the part of Israel and America to destroy the enemy instead of playing waiting games, running patrols, maintaining a balance and hoping somehow things will get better. The best defense is a good offense. For the last 3 years America has forgotten that and for the last 15 so has Israel. Remembering that means the difference between survival and annihilation.