Israel’s latest salvo of air strikes into the Gaza Strip may not have amounted to an excuse for a full scale ground invasion, but the Pentagon is looking to use it as justification for yet another increase in military aid for the Israelis.
The funding call centers around the Iron Dome missile defense system, and the Pentagon is pushing for Congress to approve the Iron Dome Support Act, to dramatically increase the funding of the already heavily US-subsidized program.
The Israeli military defunded the program in 2010, deciding that attempting to shoot down mostly irrelevant rockets with missiles priced at $50,000 each wasn’t “cost effective.” This was immediately followed by the US House declaring that it would fully fund the program.
Once the US started paying for it, Israel declared the program a dramatic success, and it got its first real test this month, when Israeli bombings in Gaza spawned retaliation from militant groups, with exactly the kind of rockets Iron Dome was meant to stop.
The results were “mixed,” which is to say a huge failure, which officials said was because of a software malfunction and not an inherent flaw in the system. In the end, a non-working missile defense system that mostly failed to shoot down rockets that did almost no damage at any rate is plenty of an excuse to throw more money at the program, and in an election year the US Congress is likely to approve the funding with near unanimity.