Saturday, March 9, 2013

13-03-10 The culture of lying - military style...

Patriot missile system                               Iron Dome missile system
Public images of this type were used in experts analysis            

In recent decades, some of the largest hoaxes are in the development of military systems, reporting their efficacy, and their pricing.
The current example, below, is from Israel.  The Iron Dome system was developed at great cost by Israel, with substantial US support.  Its main effect so far has been to placate the public, regarding potential war with Iran, through misconception of some protection from anticipated retaliatory barrage of missiles from Gaza, Lebanon, or elsewhere...
Similar conclusions were drawn after the First Gulf War (1990--1), regarding performance of the anti-ballistic Patriot missile system.  The Patriot missiles were reported by the US military exceptional, but analysts from MIT found it to be close to zero.  At the time Pentagon tried to pressure the President of MIT to suppress the publication of the paper (I think it was published in Nature or Science, top, refereed science journals).  All sources were public records (TV clips of the purported hits, released by the military).  Pentagon claimed that through analysis of public records, the scientists derived data that was classified and harmful to national security, if released. MIT refused to yield, and it won an ovation in the editorial for that stand.  

I wonder what would have happened today in the US under the same circumstances...


How many rockets has Iron Dome really intercepted?

While IDF figures put the Iron Dome missile defense system's success rate at 84 percent, three scientists claim the real figure could be much lower than that.
"Iron Dome’s intercept rate, defined as destruction of the rocket's warhead, was relatively low, perhaps as low as 5%, but could well be lower."

Opposing opinion:

Where have all the Gaza rockets gone?

If only 10 percent of the rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, where did the nearly 430 rockets that apparently fell nowhere vanish?

Here is how Wikipedia, a US government organ, summarized the story, pertaining to the Patriot missile system, under "Theodore Postol":

Theodore A. Postol (born 1946) is a professor of Science, Technology, and International Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Patriot missiles in Operation Desert Storm

The Patriot Missile was used in Operation Desert Storm to intercept descent-phase SCUD missiles fired by Iraq. The U.S. Army claimed a success rate of 80% in Saudi Arabia and 50% in Israel, claims that were later reduced to 70% and 40%. But President George H. W. Bush claimed a success rate of more than 97 percent during a speech at Raytheon's Patriot manufacturing plant in Andover, Massachusetts during the Gulf War, declaring, the "Patriot is 41 for 42: 42 Scuds engaged, 41 intercepted!"[1]
In April 1992, Postol told a House committee that "the Patriot's intercept rate during the Gulf War was very low. The evidence from these preliminary studies indicates that Patriot's intercept rate could be much lower than 10 percent, possibly even zero."[2]
The House Government Operations Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security later reported,
The Patriot missile system was not the spectacular success in the Persian Gulf War that the American public was led to believe. There is little evidence to prove that the Patriot hit more than a few Scud missiles launched by Iraq during the Gulf War, and there are some doubts about even these engagements. The public and the Congress were misled by definitive statements of success issued by administration and Raytheon representatives during and after the war.[3]
Postol later went on to criticize the Army's "independent" Analysis of Video Tapes to Assess Patriot Effectiveness as being "seriously compromised" by the "selective" and "arbitrary" use of data.[4] The Army ultimately downgraded its assessment of the systems' effectiveness.
Some of the largest hoaxes of this type took place under Presidents Regan and Bush II. I would have to take the time to find the references