13 February 2007

Arrow - a lullaby for the nuclear age

Israel's latest test of its Arrow missile defense system proves Israel has a jump on its fiercest enemies, Iran and Syria, a senior lawmaker on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said Monday. "The test yesterday was exceptional," said MK Yuval Steinitz, a former head of the committee. "It proved it can bring down any kind of ballistic missile, a capability no power in the world possesses." He said that, "Even if Iran or Syria were to develop more sophisticated missiles than they now have, Israel is one step ahead."
MK Yuval Steinitz, a senior lawmaker indeed and a respected former head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee indeed, usually comes through as a serious and informed in all matters military person. This time, however, he was way off the mark, and I hope unintentionally.

There is no such thing as a hermetic anti-missile defense. This is a business of percentages: no matter how sophisticated your radar and interceptor system are, there is always a percentage of incoming missiles that will break through. And a single successful nuke in the great Tel-Aviv area will be a disaster that may very well mean the end of the state of Israel. Even if our response will be devastating to the other side, it will hardly matter.

I can't believe that Yuval Steinitz is unaware of that simple truth. So what is the reason for his overly optimistic communique? Aside of being a lullaby, it may mean that our powers that be are already willing to adjust to the new reality - that of nuclear Iran.

At least somebody in the military establishment is not willing to join the soporific melody:
A defense establishment official took issue with Fattal's assessment, however. "There is no significance to the results of the test," the radio quoted the unnamed official as saying Monday. "There is simply no such thing as defense against nuclear missiles."

Cross-posted on Yourish.com