PATRIOTS: "HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE"

During the early days of Gulf War II, the media was filled with breathless reports marveling at the accuracy and deadly power of the new generation of Patriot missile defense system."Hold your applause" on the Patriots, Victoria Samson, with the Center for Defense Information, counsels. Much is still unknown about the Patriots' performance. And what is known isn't all that impressive.None of the Patriots actually encountered the Iraqi "missiles which were so vexingly difficult for the Patriot to intercept during the first Gulf War the Scud," Samson writes in a new report. Instead, the Patriots tussled with Saddam's slower, easier-to-shoot-down, Ababil-100s and al-Samoud-2s.And the Patriots couldnt handle Iraq's cruise missiles. By flying low to the ground, two CSSC-3 Seersucker cruise missiles were able to avoid setting off the Patriots radar. Samson notes, "One landed outside Camp Commando in Kuwait in the morning of March 20; the other landed just off-shore Kuwait Citys shopping mall on March 29. In both cases, there was minimal damage and only two minor injuries reported."On the other hand, the Patriots' "friendly fire" encounters were deadly, killing one American and two British pilots.

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