Israel saves US lives

October 2nd, 2009

The conventional wisdom is that the US is spending considerable effort and money to protect Israel. I do not believe it is a one way street. In addition to the considerable contributions of Israel in the medical, electronics, computers and other fields, Israel helps the US to improve its military equipments too.

A friend of mine is serving in Afghanistan and we met recently during his short vacation to talk about his experiences.
It is not a place you want to be. It is so easy for a few terrorists to attack a US convoy from their hideaway in the mountains, and hard to detect them even from the air since the region is so large and rugged. The country is in a shamble, and very little central control or security are available. But that is not I want to talk about here.

He told me with great enthusiasm about a few important improvements in their combat gears. But he was not aware they were all invented in Israel and now saves American lives.

Their latest much superior combat transport has the doors in the back, so they can come in or escape in an emergency protected by the bulk of the vehicle. What he did not know is that some three decades ago Israel developed the Merkava tank with doors at the back to protect the soldiers. The US finally copied this important protection.
Another protection is the steel plates hanging all over the vehicles to absorb the shock of incoming missiles/ bazookas. They were invented in Israel decades ago and used on all Israeli tanks.

Another invention come to their aid is the new lighter body armor. He was so happy about that since it is some 20 pounds lighter, protect them better and cover a larger part of the body. All of these with easier mobility too. Again, what he did not know is that it was an Israeli invention now made in the US too.

Another improvement saving US soldier’s lives is the constant air surveillance from drones, pilotless small aircrafts. Israel invented them some 15 years ago and sold them to the US to use and to study how to make US models. This year these pilotless aircrafts have larger procurement rates than typical aircraft in the US Air Force.
Not only that, a PBS program on these very versatile no pilot aircrafts showed that their flexibility and usefulness is so much higher than normal combat aircrafts. They are so superior that the pilot who controlled them from a US base over the Afghanistan sky, a trained pilot, said enthusiastically that they are so much more useful he will never consider going back to the old type of aircraft.

By the way, France is buying only Israeli pilotless aircraft since it consider them superior to others.

Inside the US Israel is also saving American lives. One of my sons, a doctor in a large hospital, told me that their city hired an Israeli emergency expert to teach them how to react and organize more efficiently to handle mass casualties, either from terrorist attacks or medical pandemics, such as the Swine flu. The Israeli expert taught them how to do Triage, initial inspection, of casualty more effectively, and handle related civil emergencies. Israel trouble with terrorists helped developed this unique skill to help America and other countries.

Matania
10/09

Awesomeness of Nature

September 24th, 2009

In the spirit of the Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, we need to look honestly at reality. Here is some of our global reality affecting all our globe, including Israel:

UN Secretary General said on 9-17-09

"Climate change is the preeminent geopolitical issue of our time. It rewrites the global equation for development, peace and prosperity. It threatens markets, economies and development gains. It can deplete food and water supplies, provoke conflict and migration, destabilize fragile societies and even topple governments.."

To get a feel for this issue may I suggest you see this video of the North Pole by time-lapse photography by the highly respected National Geographic Magazine photographer James Balog.

As friend told me after our Rosh Hashana service, Judaism teaches us that we are not supposed to bury our heads in the sand even if we do not like the news.

http://www.emailthis.clickability.com/et/emailThis?clickMap=viewThis&etMailToID=720596096

Matania

The Arrogance of the Advice-Givers - Barry Rubin

September 16th, 2009

My introduction:
The 1993 Peace Accord was one of the worse agreements and event in Israel recent history. I was full of hope but doubtful. I talked with my older brother, a leftist peace activist and suggested that if Israel forces leave the Palestinian territories, all hell will break loose since Israel security presence there and the cooperation of well paid Palestinians kept the Arabs from murdering Israelis at will. Pinhas told me that if they behave like that we will crash them with out superior power.
So much for not understanding that the game changed and it is no longer army vs. army but Asymmetrical war. Individual Arab terrorists attack you at will and you can not send full force against them without killing innocent civilians.
But that ignorance of reality should not have come from an Israeli government leaders nor from Pinhas, a past leader in the Lechi Underground, in which I was also a member, joining at age 15.. This was the technique we have used against the British forces. However, with great difference. We went afeter British policemen and soldeirs only to create political pressure, and that means, minimal attacks on the British forces and definitelly not against civilians.

Israel lost of that wisdom with its eagerness for peace, and idealists like President Peretz and naive Rabin pushed Israel to a unrealizable agreement. That agreement was one sided. Israel pursue peace, give Arafat control of 97 percent of all the Palestinians and the Arabs organize to create terror by murdering as many Israeli civilians as they could.
We suffer a lot in Israel, and year after year we lost our idealism and trust in the Palestinian leadership.
The Rest you know, but not the Europeians, not the new US Administration. They "know" what to do to get peace there, despite lack of experience, and no understanding the nature of the Arab minds. What arrogance, what level of unrealistic idealism!
Matania

The Arrogance of the Advice-Givers - Barry Rubin (New Republic)

It seems to be accepted wisdom in Washington and European capitals that Israelis are so stupid about their country, situation, and region on the life-and-death issues which they have been dealing with for decades that they must be saved in spite of themselves by people who have no knowledge or experience on any of these things. No other country in the world is so frequently told this.

Is it so hard to comprehend that Israel's views and behavior are based on years of experience? That we know best how to save ourselves and have been doing a far better job of it, against tremendous odds, than many others? That heeding their prescriptions would be disastrous, in fact have already proven so? After all, the tragic history of the last 20 years has largely resulted from listening to such advice.

Today, the last thing Israelis need or want is pressure to make more concessions to the Palestinians. They've already made a lot; these didn't lead anywhere good. What Israel needs today is not "tough love" but real support.

The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

Global Impotance to Stop Iran

August 20th, 2009

Iran nuclear weapon program is progressing -- and we continue to talk…

Four years ago I first wrote about the dedication and determination of Iran to develop its nuclear weapons to dominate the Middle East. I concluded that nothing will stop them short of coordinated, massive international pressure, and that pressure is not likely to develop.
It still did not develop despite many impressive, but meaningless words and many meetings.

I would like to discuss briefly two related issues about nuclear Iran. One is the impotence of the global community to stop the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. The other is the high danger of nuclear weapon proliferation to global peace and stability. The danger to Israel is obvious.

Now four years later we still are talking about putting more pressure on Iran. And Iran is again offering to talk, while Iran had four more years of nuclear development under its belt. Yes, Iran is now four years closer to having its dangerous weapons. In the same time, and even more meaningful, is the international inability to stop the North Korean nuclear program. Think about it, N. Korea is a very poor country, has no friends, has no international commerce, has no military or commercial s allies, and the five cooperating nations: China, US, Russia, Japan and South Korea, are still unable to do anything to stop their nuclear weapon and missile programs. Total international impotence, a very dangerous failing of global security cooperation and the UN security council. If they can not stop N. Korea, how can they stop Iran, a much more powerful nation in the core of the Middle East?

Look at the two press releases below regarding Iran’s nuclear weapon program. The ineffectiveness of international politics is obvious. Are world leaders unable to recognize the absolute dedication of Iran to develop their nuclear weapons? Are we so impotent to pressure them politically and economically?

Kissinger is pointing out, wisely, that once we let North Korea and Iran have nuclear weapons we are opening a Nuclear Pandora Box. Many other nations will start their own nuclear weapon programs. For example, Saudia and Egypt, the two major Arab - Sunni states are extremely fearful of Iran Shiite leadership and their proven expansion policy. Iran is openly and consistently supporting terrorist activities not only in Lebanon- Hizbullah- and Hamas in Gaza, but they had tried to undermine the governments of Saudi and Egypt by direct and hidden terrorism.
Recently Egypt announced that it is going to develop nuclear power, not weapons yet. This is a signal that they are not willing to be subjected to Iran’s nuclear domination and will proceed from nuclear power to nuclear weapons.

Up to now just a few nations had nuclear weapons and we were lucky that no one used them after we used them in WWII. However, if many countries will have nuclear weapons, it is a completely different situation; one or more of them will use it in anger, or it will fall to the hands of terrorists.

Yes, the military option is still available, both in North Korea and Iran, but it is extremely difficult, especially in Iran, with unpredictable results, and should be the last resort.
Matania

Germany, EU Increasingly Ready to Impose Tough New Sanctions on Iran
Berlin and Brussels are increasingly prepared to impose massive embargoes on Iran unless Tehran signals soon that it's ready to compromise in their nuclear dispute. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
See also Iran Prepared for Nuclear Dialogue, Iranian Envoy Says - Laura Rozen
Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh said on Iranian state television that Iran is ready to talk with Western powers about its nuclear program without preconditions. (Foreign Policy)

Israel/US and Global Warming

August 13th, 2009

Several times in the last three years I tried to influence Israeli security Think-tanks to learn about global warming. They answered me that they deal only with national security and not the environment. This is sad since they do not grasp that global warming is a critical national security issue.
When the climate of a country is severely impacted it is a national security issue. When the water storage in the Kinneret, the main source of water for Israel, is well below the red line and no hope is in sight - it is a national security issue. When Israel must supply a lot of water to Jordan, way beyond Israel's ability, and little water is available, it is a national security issue.When sea water levels are rising and flooding several areas on the shoreline, it is a national security issue.The US military knows it and is planning for it.

So, here is my summary of the critical stage of Global Warming now.
Think about it, we are in in serious troubles and we ignore it both in Israel and the US too.
Obviously, it is a global issue of great urgency.
Matania

Global Warming is unlike any other issue because we have no previous human experience of this magnitude and it is natural to minimize its significance.

 

To paraphrase Neil Bohr, if Global Warming has not shaken you up yet, you probably haven’t understood it.

We must turn upside down our approach to fighting Global Warming because time is of the essence.
Instead of regulating Greenhouse Gases to a level that may have no negative economic impact, we must reduce GHG to the maximum that could be technically and economically implementable.

Some Key Points

  1. Most scientific reports tells us that the current impacts of global temperature rise are worse than estimated earlier, that we are not sure how fast the temperature will rise, and do not know what is the maximum level of GHG nature can tolerate before a catastrophic tipping point could start. Therefore, we must set the tightest limits on global and national GHG levels that we are able to.
  2. Early cuts of GHG have considerably more beneficial impacts than later reductions.
  3. Most proposed cuts in GHG are based on IPCC AR4. However, we can not rely on the AR4 to set limits to GHG emissions since it was politically constrained, ignored potential catastrophic events, and some of its negative predictions have already been exceeded. We now have more relevant data and more insight.
  4. GHG level is already too high thus increasing global temperatures and damaging global climate. We are not sure at what level we must stabilize GHG to prevent even more severe harm to the world population because the complexity of global climate is beyond our actual knowledge. Modeling is approximation. If we err, we must err on the safe side.
  5. The natural self interest of most people distorts their ability to cooperate and follow the need of the larger society. Therefore, there is considerable uncertainty how the laws enacted will effect the actual GHG emissions in the US. And we are one the most law-abiding nations.
  6. The self interest of nations and desire for power of the influentials could severely distort the compliance with global GHG regulations. Think of the oil exporting nations, as a minimum.
  7. Tipping points: There is some low, but not insignificant, probability that increased levels of GHG could trigger catastrophic, massive, uncontrolled releases of GHG that could cause significant increase in global temperatures. That possible temperature increase, beyond 10 C or even 20 C degrees, could cause severe, unmitigated damage to the global climate that could render our Earth essentially uninhabitable.
  8. Regarding the risk of Tipping Points; the catastrophic release of stored GHG. Because this is the only home humanity has, we can not take the RISK of destroying our climate. RISK is the probability times the magnitude of the event. Even with low probability, the enormous magnitude of the potential damage to our globe by catastrophic release of GHG makes the risk massive and unacceptable. Therefore, we must dedicate a high percentage of our global resources to reduce GHG as fast as possible and the largest reduction possible.
  9. Humanity has never encountered a danger to its existence of this level before. We can not truly grasp the seriousness of GW. Even with all the high levels of scientific and technical powers we have, we are unprepared. We do not know what we do not know or understand.
  10. We still operate by “we vs. them” laws. This simply can not work. National and Global cooperation beyond any previous level is mandatory. We depend on one another, especially the US and China.
  11. We, the US, will have to “give” more than other nations. We took the “most” to date. US is 4.5% of global population, occupying 1.9% of Earth surfaces, and emitted to date 30% of all GHG.
  12. We have to be more honest and forward in our international dealing re. GW or we will not get the crucial cooperation required. We would not be able to cover up superficial regulations and minimal actions by public relation bluff, so common in our culture and in Congress. Foreign governments are not likely to buy into that kind of thinking that much of our own public does.
  13. The complexity of global climate, the significant gaps in our knowledge, the uncertainty of GHG laws, their compliance, their possible impacts, global cooperation required, and potential high risk to our survival, put us in a dangerous territory. We do not know what the results of all GHG curtailment laws and effort would achieve. Therefore, we can not use the usual American approach: “don’t worry; everything will turn up right in the end.” We must aim towards minimizing global human suffering and maximizing the chance for human survival.
  14. The initial GHG reductions that we should take now must be decisive, based on proven technologies and real knowledge, not experimental or unproven; that may or may not work, such as Carbon Capture and Sequestration . We can not take the risks of unproven technologies since the C02 that was not cut will remain in the atmosphere for a thousand years. After we accomplish significant GHG reductions, then we can bring proven new approaches on line too.
  15. "We will pay for this one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives." GEN. ANTHONY ZINNI, former head Central Command.
  16. To paraphrase Jean Monnet: Global Warming can not be reduced without efforts that are proportionate to the danger which GW threatens humanity.

WE MUST CURTAIL GHG TO THE MAXIMUM LEVEL WE CAN POSSIBLY MANAGE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Dr. Matania Ginosar
Environmental Scientist
Electrical Engineer. Mgr, R&D Advanced Electronics
Prev. Mgr. of the Solar Energy Office and Mgr. Wind Energy,
California Energy Commission.