Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Asymmetric Warfare

George Patton once famously said about heroism: “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

General Patton was speaking the truth about warfare. He also understood the meaning of proportionate force:

“We're going to murder those lousy Hun cock-suckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours.” [Sorry for the explicit quote but war is not a g-rated business.]

As Patton and all General Officers contend, you know when the force is proportionate because that’s when the enemy surrenders. In the Second World War, Germany, Japan and Italy were devastated and utterly defeated, both materially and in spirit. Their populations accepted defeat, thus allowing their countries to be rebuilt, and they have become peaceful democracies. But when warfare ends with a peace treaty, the result is usually continued tension (eg Korea) or disaster (eg. Viet Nam), almost never peace.

Furthermore, civilians are always involved in wars as were the people in London, Dresden and Hiroshima. Rosie-the-Riveter was part of the war effort and the Japanese would have happily bombed her factory if they could have. Thirty million civilians died in WWII.

We are now fighting an asymmetric war where one side uses terror tactics while the other is expected to observe the rules of warfare (
jus in bello). In Iraq and Lebanon the inferior power is the aggressor, using tactics that are prohibited by the laws of war. Their success depends on the superior powers, the US and Israel, refraining from like tactics.

For example, laws of warfare prohibit combatants from using civilian settlements, populations or facilities as military bases, but when Hezbollah uses this tactic, it depends on the premise that Israel will respect the law that they are violating, and will not attack the civilian target.

In urban areas Hezbollah wear no uniforms, blend into the population and depend on the civilians to hide them. Mao Tse-Tung said: “ The guerrillas must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea."

The picture above from the Sunday Herald Sun shows Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets. Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the Hezbollah carry automatic assault rifles and ride in trucks mounted with cannon. The picture shows a group preparing to fire an anti-aircraft gun only meters from an apartment block. Another picture from the Sun depicts the remnants of a Hezbollah Katyusha rocket in the middle of a residential block blown up in an Israeli air attack.

The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut said he was less than 400 meters from the block when it was obliterated.

"Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets, then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets," he said. "Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated. "It was carnage." Hezbollah was using innocent civilians as "human shields".

Israel is being vilified by American and international lefties over the air strike that killed 56 persons early yesterday in the Lebanese village of Qana. In the rush to blame Israel, the lefties ignore the fact that Israel has placed its soldiers at risk in order to minimize civilian casualties in Lebanon, while Hezbollah, in flagrant violation of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, deliberately behaves in ways to maximize harm to Israeli and Lebanese civilians. In Qana there were indisputable military targets, including locations from which Hezbollah has been firing rockets into Israel.

Furthermore the Israel Defense Forces indicated that it might not have been responsible for the deaths of the 56 Lebanese when the building bombed in the air strike collapsed. There is an unexplained gap of about seven hours between the Israeli air strike that hit the Qana building housing the civilians, which took place around 1 A.M. Sunday, and the report of when the building collapsed (8 AM). It would not be unbelievable that Hezbollah blew up the building, killing the innocents in the basement, seven hours after the Israei strike in order to pander to intenational media and politicians.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good read. Thank you Bill.

I'm happy that our President George W Bush got a good bill of health....Can you imagine Clinton handling what we are facing now? Consultation with Monica...on a daily basis...


1:14 PM  
Blogger gary daily said...

Maybe another of Bill’s heroes, Mel Gibson (See Bill's post: http://palosverdesblog.blogspot.com/2005/04/back-to-movies.html), could play General George Patton in a remake bio of this manly man’s military career. The script should include material from Prof. Joseph Bendersky’s study of antisemitism in the American military (_The 'Jewish Threat_, 2000). I’m certain Gibson would want to include Patton’s 1942 warning about a Jewish conspiracy maneuvering to grab Morocco as well as his post-war characterization of Jewish DPs as "a sub-human species without any of the cultural or social refinements of our time."

But Gibson and Patton’s anti-semitism have nothing of signifcance to say on the current chapter in the ongoing tragedy unfolding in Israel and Lebanon except that Bill and the world should not rely on drunken movie stars or blood-lust Generals as guides in politics and war.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Is this more of your free association. From my focus on fighting an asymmetric war you somehow see a connection to Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism ... last time I looked Mel had nothing whatever to say about war fighting.

And Patton's bigotry has nothing to do with his fighting strategy. Perhaps if Truman had followed his advice about the Soviet Union.... but that's another discussion.

So please try to stay on point. OK?

11:47 AM  

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