Sailors on the deck of the Israeli destroyer first noticed a green flash on the horizon. Less than two minutes later, naval history reached a turning point when a missile slammed into the warship and exploded with devastating power.
Ever since the Tomahawk missile's effectiveness was dramatically revealed on television screens around the world during 1991's Operation Desert Storm, cruise missiles have come to be accepted as valuable weapons on the modern battlefield. Ship-launched Tomahawks have been used with lethal effectiveness in the Balkans, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. For U.S. presidents, they have become a risk-free, cost-effective means of punitive action, striking virtually anywhere in the world without risk to American servicemen.