December 29, 2006

The Qana Ambulances : The Hoax that Wasn't

UPDATE : The Human Rights Watch report referred to the "SPIKE" and "DIME" missiles as follows:

Israel has continuously advanced its drone-fired missiles, such as the STRIKE missile and the still-experimental DIME missile, so that they are capable of limited damage to their targets.
Not surprisingly, the report fails to provide any substantiation of the existence of a drone-fired STRIKE missile or DIME missile.

According to the latest report from Human Rights Watch, the Qana ambulances weren't hit by Hellfire missiles launched from IAF airplanes. I seem to recall telling the world that four months ago. At any rate, now they're putting forth a new theory: the Qana ambulances were hit by SPIKE or "DIME" missiles launched from "Israeli drones."

The report doesn't specify what it means by "Israeli drones," but I'm assuming the authors meant Predator UAVs or something similar in use by the IAF. Other than the vague references to "Israeli drones," the report gives no attention to what forms of UAVs are presently in use by the IDF, what their various capabilities are, whether any armed UAVs were in service in the Qana area at the time of the attack, or what efforts were put forth by the authors to investigate any of the above.

The authors of the report didn't bother to authenticate whether there even is a version of the SPIKE missile or "DIME missile" suitable for use with UAVs. As near as I've been able to tell, there is no missile in the Israeli arsenal called "DIME." There is a "SPIKE" missile, produced by Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael. I did a little bit of research and determined that there is a version of the SPIKE missile which is compatible with UAVs. More info here. (Now, if the report authors had really cared to produce a real "in-depth report," my own independent research wouldn't have been necessary.)


At any rate, the SPIKE missile is indeed capable of being launched from a drone, so it is possible that:

SPIKE missiles could have been loaded onto an "Israeli drone" of some type, and

an armed drone could have been flying in the vicinity of Qana, and

an armed drone could have launched its missiles at a pair of ambulances near Qana, and

those missiles could have struck the ambulances.

If a SPIKE missile can be loaded onto some type of drone in use by the IDF, each of these things is theoretically possible. Beyond that, however, the Human Rights Watch theory breaks down.

Even if these relatively small missiles were used, and the missiles' warhesds didn't detonate, there would still be approximately 70 pounds of mass striking the ambulances, and then the pavement underneath, at a velocity of over five hundred miles per hour.

Now, granted, this isn't as much kinetic energy as a Hellfire missile, not to mention a Maverick, but it's still a heck of a lot of energy. Roughly the amount of energy in a 3,000 lb. sedan traveling at 70 mph, if I didn't screw up my calculations. Folks, that kind of energy doesn't just disappear into thin air when it hits the ground. It goes places. It does things. Violent things.

In order to believe the Human Rights Watch report, you have to be willing to believe that one missile, after passing through one ambulance and to the pavement with all the kinetic energy of a car traveling at 70 mph, made a four-inch pock mark in the asphalt and vanished. You further have to be willing to believe that another missile passed through the roof of a second ambulance at a speed of over 500-mph, whereupon it vanished without damaging the vehicle's floor panel or causing any fire damage to the vehicle's upholstery. Then it "magically" caused a pock-mark in the asphalt below. Amazing.

Now, the Human Rights Watch report claims that the missiles did, in fact, detonate inside the ambulances. The report claims, however, that these missiles just don't do that much when they detonate. Think of them, in other words, as very high velocity M-80s. The authors provide no meaningful evidence to back up this assertion. I don't have numbers as to the warhead mounted on the business end of a SPIKE missile, but the following videos depict SPIKE missiles hitting various military vehicles and detonating. Judge for yourself as to what this level of excitement would do to the interior of a Volkswagen Vanagon:

By Ragnar Danneskjold, Typical Bitter Gun-Clinger at 01:50 AM | Comments |