Despite moving at a snail’s pace on most policy decisions, the Obama Administration was still able to muster surprising alacrity when it came down to providing Israel with additional money.
So exactly one week after President Obama decided that the US should provide Israel with an extra $205 million in military aid to pay for its “Iron Dome” missile defense system, the House of Representatives passed the measure, with a 410-4 margin.
The first phase of development, test runs, and manufacture of the system is expected to cost NIS 800 million, meaning the US funding will pay for materially all of this phase. The $205 million is above and beyond the roughly $3 billion in military aid the US sends to Israel annually.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman said the vote was vital, citing “the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.” Of course it could be pointed out yet again that America’s own National Intelligence Estimate shows Iran having no such program, but in this case it doesn’t even matter.
The Iron Dome system is intended for “very short range” rocket fire, primarily the intermittent rockets from the Gaza Strip that hit open fields in southern Israel, and would be completely useless against any missile from as far away as Iran, nuclear or otherwise.
In fact, this was one of the major reasons Israel was seeking the money, as many questioned the wisdom of spending $50,000 per missile to shoot down commodity rockets that cost only a few hundreds dollars apiece, and the Israeli military declined to include the project in its own budget.
The four Representatives voting against the resolution were John Conyers (D – MI), Dennis Kucinich (D – OH), Ron Paul (R – TX), and Pete Stark (D – CA).