Sunday, July 16, 2006

Defense Spending

Last week was supposed to be a light week. Not much news. It was supposed to be slow — and then a tunnel fell apart and the Middle East went to war.

The latter story is being covered in depth elsewhere by people who are on the ground, so I won't spend much time retracing their steps — but it's worth pointing out that there's a technology called THEL (Tactical High Energy Laser) that could have prevented what's happening. In short, THEL is a defensive weapon that tracks and destroys incoming rockets and mortar shells — and it works.

Intercepting an intercontinental ballistic missile is a complicated, large-scale endeavor. Protecting a localized area from incoming projectiles, on the other hand, is relatively simple. The technology works, and it works reliably — and if that weren't enough, add the fact that most of the best work in THEL has been done by the Israelis. But Israel wasn't able to defend itself against Hezbollah's rocket attacks because THEL isn't deployed on a wide scale. It's too expensive.

Consider this the next time you hear people talking about the defense budget. This is a perfect example of how ambitious military spending could have saved lives — not in some theoretical sense of "to preserve peace, prepare for war," but a real, visible example of how advanced weaponry could have intercepted a first strike to save lives and prevent a fast escalation toward open war.


Post a Comment

<< Home