Erik Paulsen is on another trip to Israel.
Mr. Paulsen visited the country November 11-15, 2009, but this trip is being paid for by the America-Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
This trip includes Mr. Paulsen, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-08) and Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA-06), and 22 other Republicans. The previous week, Majority Whip McCarthy (R-CA-25), Michael Grimm (R-NY-13), Nan Hayworth (R-NY-19), Adam Kin zinger (R-IL-11), Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07), Tim Scott (R-SC-01) and 30 other Republicans made the journey to Israel. Previously, Steny Hoyer (D-MD-05) and 25 Democrats, and potentially, their spouses and children made the trip.
Mr. Paulsen is blogging during his trip :
Tonight I received a briefing on the Iron Dome System, which is Israel’s new mobile missile defense system begun after the 2006 Hezbollah rocket attacks from Lebanon that reigned 8,000 rockets into the civilian population. The first tests were just this last April and the interceptions were 100 percent effective. So the Iron Dome development is complete and with the rocket attacks launched from Gaza just in the last few days, there will be a renewed emphasis on using it. However there are only two Iron Dome defense batteries so far because of the cost. They said it’s been a three year development with minimal red tape.
Interesting … and sounds promising … sounds similar to the Patriot defense system that Americans provided Israel during the first Gulf War to thwart Iraqi SCUD missiles. For those not familiar, the Patriot was built by Raytheon … using American built components.
Produced by state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., Iron Dome uses small radar-guided missiles to destroy rockets that have ranges of between 5 km (3 miles) and 70 km (45 miles) and mortar bombs while they are in flight.
Mr. Paulsen failed to mention one critical aspect of Kipat Barzel, (Hebrew for “Iron Dome”) that should be a concern to fiscally responsible members of Congress and the taxpayers … who paid for the Iron Dome ?
The Obama administration, being concerned with Hamas rockets and Israeli security, requested $205 million in funding for Iron Dome in 2009 … the House of Representatives was quick to support the president’s funding request by a vote of 410–4 … (guess those AIPAC-funded trips can pay off.)
Earlier this year the United States said it planned to help Israel buy four new batteries after budgeting $203.8 million in congressional funding assistance for the system in fiscal 2011.
Israel has said it wants 10-15 units to defend its Palestinian and Lebanese fronts.
OK … so the US Taxpayers are funding the bill … and the work is not being done by Raytheon or some other American company but the Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd …
But is the success as good as stated … well, the Iron Dome battery placed to protect the southern city of Beersheba intercepted four of five rockets fired in one barrage but failed to stop the one that got through and killed the man and wounded several other people when it landed near a house.
Martin van Creveld, author of 21 books on military history and strategy, including “Countering Terrorism” pointed to the high cost of using Iron Dome, which reaches $100,000 for each interceptor fired. “The ‘exchange rate’ must be 1,000 to 1 as Qassams can probably be made for $100,” van Creveld said. At such cost ratios, the system offers Israel’s enemies a way to quickly drain the Jewish state’s economic resources, he said.
Mr. Paulsen, you needs to listen and to ask a few more questions … heck, when President Shimon Peres mentioned the Iron Dome — saying that Israel would not have been able to acquire it without America’s assistance — that should have been mentioned in your blog post. But when President Peres estimated that in recent days the Iron Dome program had helped saved more than one million lives — that statement should have prompted someone to check out how many intercepts and how many systems are in place … something does not add up … somebody is getting the wool pulled over their eyes … including Mr. Paulsen’s constituents … just be honest … tell us how much it is costing us and that our grandchildren will be paying for it.