Congress & Netanyahu defy Obama

The Executive branch is supposed to conduct the nation’s foreign policy.  But the congressional Republican leadership i invited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.  President Obama was not so much as informed, so he refused to meet the leader of one of America’s top allies in the Middle East.  And Prime Minister Netanyahu took the occasion to try to go over the President’s head by asking Congress not to go along with President Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, insisting that the proposed deal will mean nuclear weapons for Iran, threatening Israel’s survival.  (I suspect Israel is also nervous that the U.S. may be tilting to the Shi’ites in hopes they can stop the Sunni ISIS.)

What do you think about all of this?  Whatever you think about the issues involved and whatever side you come down on, is this not an embarrassing example of our government’s disorder and dysfunction? [Read more...]

Todd exposes the war photo from space

The internet, newspapers, and television news have been showing this photograph of Israel and Gaza from outer space, purporting to show the explosions from the war in that region:

View image on Twitter

You know tODD, a super-commenter on this blog who specializes in throwing cold water on over-hyped and misinterpreted claims (including those I make in some of my posts, which I actually appreciate!).  He did some sleuthing and found that the photograph is showing nothing more than ordinary city lights!  He sent his findings to Mollie Hemingway, “the scourge of lazy journalists,” who then exposed the mistake, though I’m not seeing any retractions. [Read more...]

Israel invades Gaza

With Hamas refusing a ceasefire after its rocket attacks on Israel were met by air attacks, Israeli ground forces have launched an invasion of Gaza. [Read more...]

Israel attacks Syria, stirs up Middle East

Israeli missiles hit Syria, which is stirring up talk of a broader war.  The Washington Post reports that the attacks may hasten the Obama administration’s decision about intervening on behalf of Syrian rebels (not with troops, but with weapons and possibly air support).  Should we? [Read more...]

Eugenics in Israel and America

You’d think the people who once were targets of racist eugenics would not practice that on others:

Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent. [Read more...]

The Iron Dome

Hamas has been firing rockets and missiles into Israel, sparking Israeli retaliation.  The two sides have agreed to a cease fire.   Israel managed to shoot down virtually all of rockets thanks to a new anti-missile system called “Iron Dome.”  Based on American technology, this is the most successful technology to defend against missiles ever devised.  From Slate’s Sarah Tory:

The debut of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense shield has added a new element to the conflict, one that military officials are calling a “game-changer.” Why is Iron Dome such a significant addition to Israel’s military arsenal?

Iron Dome actually works. Israeli officials are claiming that the shield is destroying 90 percent of missiles and rockets it aims at that have been fired into southern Israel by Hamas. This level of success is unprecedented compared with older missile defense systems such as the American-made Patriot model used during the 1991 Gulf War. Israelis have almost always suffered far fewer casualties than Palestinians have, but Iron Dome has made that disparity even larger. As of Monday, Israel has reported three casualties, all of which occurred during a temporary malfunction in the missile-defense system.

The missile-defense system can detect rocket launches and then determine the projectiles’ flight paths. Iron Dome intercepts rocket or artillery shells only if they are headed for populated areas or sensitive targets; the others it allows to land. After pinpointing a rocket for destruction, Iron Dome fires a warhead that destroys the rocket within seconds. Currently, five Iron Dome systems are deployed in Israel. Most are located in the south, near Gaza, and each operates with a 45-mile radius.

Israeli officials point out that Iron Dome saves money despite the fact that the interceptors cost up to $100,000 each. The cost of rebuilding a neighborhood destroyed by a rocket attack—not to mention people wounded and lives lost—would be far greater than the cost of the interceptor. In addition, the system buys Israel time, allowing it to plan out an appropriate response without the political pressure that would be generated by hundreds of potential deaths. Experts have called Iron Dome’s success a crucial factor in deterring Israel from launching a ground assault on Gaza.

via Israel Iron Dome defense: How has missile defense changed battle in Gaza – Slate Magazine.


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