Small Wars Journal

Assessing Iron Dome: What Makes a Weapon System Effective?

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 7:36pm

Mark Stout, a member of the faculty in the MA in Global Security Studies at Johns Hopkins, posted the following at the JHU Governmental Studies blog.


While rocket attacks are undoubtedly frightening, injuries and even infrastructure damage from the Qassams and their cousins the Grad are extremely rare and they were even before Iron Dome came online.  In 1991, the story was much the same.  Thirty-nine Iraqi missiles landed on Israel.  The result: two deaths and one severe injury.  It is true that 231 additional people were admitted to emergency rooms for injuries directly related to the explosions and several hundred others had lesser injuries.  On the other hand, another 544 Israelis were admitted to emergency rooms for “acute anxiety.”  230 people harmed themselves by administering atropine—a standard treatment for nerve gas—when, in fact, no nerve gas was present.  Another 40 people hurt themselves getting to bomb shelters.

In other words, the threats to Israel from all of these rockets and missiles has been primarily psychological and hence political.  If Patriot and Iron Dome made Israelis feel more secure, then they succeeded at their most important task, keeping people feeling secure and thus tamping down pressures for my drastic military action.

You can read the rest here.