Once again Israel’s vaunted military may not be living up to the reputation it earned with successful but risky missions that made good movies.
Ultimately, it may force them to invade Gaza.
First, although many of the rockets jihadists are using are primitive by many standards they are using tungsten instead of metals like iron used in years past. Tungsten is heavier _ its name comes from the Swedish words tung sten or heavy stone _ and causes far more damage to victims of shrapnel.
The metal is three times denser than iron.
Just as evolution occurs in humans and other life, the weapons industry also evolves. Arms manufacturers figured out what tungsten could do. They found tungsten bullets went right through existing armor.
Ironically, concerns about the lingering effects of depleted uranium and other metals used in weapons resulted in the weaponization of tungsten.
Another problem with Israel’s Iron Dome strategy is that the jihadistists firing the rockets can quickly flee. No matter how good Israeli radar is, even if aided by US intelligence, it will be firing at a location that the jihadists have fled.
In the Iraq War, rebels would go into a house occupied by civilians, fire on American troops and flee. The US soldiers would fire back, and in many cases civilians died. Washington quickly developed rules of engagement to limit the effectiveness of this strategy. Some times it meant just not firing back.
The third, and probably most dangerous premise of the dome strategy is that it hits most targets that appear to approaching urban areas.
David Talbot, writing for MIT Technology Review, said Israel’s rocket-defense interceptors are probably not destroying the warheads of the rocket sin most cases.
“As a result, rockets fired from Gaza are probably plunging to the ground with intact explosives. The fact that they aren’t causing injuries or deaths in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities is mainly a matter of luck, the analysts add,” wrote Talbot.
Military commanders have know for years that airpower cannot win most conflicts without ground troops. The US dropped more bombs on Vietnam than it had on Europe during World War 2.
That makes an Israeli invasion more likely, though it will face an entirely different set of problems. Previous invasions have done no more than gain Israel time for negotiations to end the conflict, but they always stall. And the killing always begins again.