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Wasting Money On Defense

CBS has an “explainer” up, Hezbollah’s Rocket Science, talking about the weapons being used by Hezbollah.

Just as the SCUDs used by Saddam in the first Gulf War and the missiles of North Korea are variants on the World War II V-2 weapon, the rockets of the Hezbollah are essentially the World War II Katyusha‘s of the Soviet Army.

This is leading to a problem: over-sophistication of weapons. We have air-to-air missiles that cost more than the aircraft they are being used to destroy. The Patriot missile system would bankrupt the country that used it against the ballistic rockets of Hezbollah.

We received major damage to one of our newest naval vessels when it struck a World War I era mine during the first Gulf War. The old, unsophisticated weapons don’t provide the signals or “clues” that modern defensive systems use to detect them.

Most guerrilla forces use the Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947 [AK-47] and the Ruchnoy Protivotankoviy Granatomet-7 [RPG-7, 1961] which are simple, effective and can be built by a village blacksmith. Hezbollah is able to deal with Israeli armor, so technology doesn’t seem to be effective against a dedicated infantry.

It looks like the billions being spent on a few high-tech weapons systems are not going to be of much benefit.

1 comment

1 Stop Wasting Money blog -- Warren Redlich for Congress { 07.23.06 at 8:41 am }

You’re right, but I think the problem is broader. Many of our technological efforts may be misguided, but I’m more concerned about the overall military/foreign policy. We’ve got troops all over the world with no clear purpose.

My main focus in my last campaign was how much we spend defending rich countries (see my wasting money overseas post. We’ve been defending Europe and Japan for over 60 years, and South Korea for over 50. When will they be able to take care of themselves? Who are we defending them from? What’s our exit strategy for these countries?