Katyusha World: Surviving in the Age of Very Short-Range Missiles

[Wall Street Journal] Daniel Henninger - The all-too-visible reality for the inhabitants of Katyusha World in northern Israel is that there is no defense against incoming rocket barrages other than hiding and hoping. After this week it is getting hard to pretend that the threat of missiles is something we don't have to think about. Uzi Rubin, former head of the Arrow project, says smaller, free-flying rockets are now evolving into relatively sophisticated and accurate ballistic missiles, "thanks to the steep decline in the cost of accuracy - the falling prices of onboard inertial and satellite navigation systems, the availability of cheap, commercial grade, high-speed computing power and low-cost control systems." That is, the same dynamic that makes cheap, fast electronic products available to consumers will do the same to electronic missile weaponry. Very short-range missiles fall outside any existing export-control regime, and these small missiles can carry chemical or biological agents. Rubin calls them "ideal weapons for terrorizing population centers." It generally requires state power to manage and deploy such weapons, but that power is of course a goal of radical Islam. Israel's population, with Katyushas raining down on them by the thousands, is a metaphor for the world ahead of commoditized missile weaponry. Not thinking about how to survive in that world is foolhardy.

2006-07-28 01:00:00

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