Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's the body count, stupid: Why Israel is losing the war in Palestine

I just finished reading an article about Afghanistan in the Huffington Post. Although its author, Stewart Nusbaumer, was mostly referring to Afghanistan in the article, what he said also appears to apply to all modern warfare, including various wars fought by Israel -- thus giving me some insights into why Israel lost its war in Lebanon two years ago, why it is losing its war in Palestine right now and why it most likely will lose any future war it might declare on Iran.

According to Nusbaumer, "Not everyone, of course, but many, including many in our government and the military, are finally realizing guns and bombs are of limited utility in winning modern wars. ...Slowly, incrementally, reluctantly, haltingly, a different thinking on how to fight modern wars has gained acceptance. These new ideas existed in Vietnam, but General Westmoreland ran the show, and he adhered to the old thinking rooted in World War II." Nusbaumer then goes on to surmise that the old World War II strategies don't work any more. Running up a body count just doesn't work. Nowadays, winning wars is all about winning hearts and minds.

Hearts and minds.

If Israel had spent just a fraction of its multi-mega-billion dollar warfare budget on things like education, medical care and infrastructure improvements in Gaza and the West Bank instead of spending it on white phosphorus bombs, prison gulags and tanks, they wouldn't be having all the multi-mega billion problems that they've been having in the Middle East for the last 60-odd years.

The days of happily rolling up body counts are OVER, guys. That old-style form of warfare went out with the Crusades. Get a clue.

"In terms of traditional military power," continued Nusbaumer, "the U.S. military is in a category by itself. Those who challenge it, then, avoid frontal attacks. They use concealment to evade and to surprise, and are quick to negate the lethal power of the U.S. leviathan. From Southeast Asia to the Middle East to Central Asia this strategy has been used effectively. But first, and most effectively, it was used in Vietnam." And we LOST in Vietnam.

Look what happened to the British when they tried out that D-Day-on-Normandy-Beach body-count thingie on Northern Ireland. It was a disaster. But did the Brits learn anything from that experience? Apparently not. If they had, they wouldn't have gone haring off to Iraq with their guns blazing, playing sidekick to Cowboy George.

You might argue that racking up a body-count in Chechnya worked for Putin -- but at what cost? And observe the classical clinical experiments in the use of violence as the best way to solve problems as conducted by the governments of Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Somalia, the DRC and Sudan. Those experiments all failed.

If you wanna run a successful war today, you gotta win
hearts and minds.

So. One would think that after 61 years of failed conventional warfare in Palestine, Israelis might be starting to realize this by now -- that when people's homes get invaded and their children get slaughtered like road-kill, some people tend to fight back no matter how subservient said people appear to be on the outside (like kindly old Uncle Remus during US slavery times and the Massa's arch-nemesis Brear Rabbit) or how poorly armed they might be (like David versing Goliath) or how successful an occupation seems to be going at the time (like the Romans lording it over the barbarians).

Let's look at another example. Suppose that some religious fanatics had invaded and conquered the United States, using military and terrorist tactics to seize power? Americans would have been very, very pissed off -- just like the Palestinians got pissed when Zionists seized control of their lands. But if the invaders and occupiers had turned out to be fair, just, beneficial and helpful, perhaps the resistance in Minneapolis and Colorado would have been less and perhaps even eventually everyone would have gotten along when everyone -- conquerors and conquered alike -- saw that it was to their advantage to make nice.

Hopefully I've made my point.

But has America and its sidekick Israel learned anything from past military mistakes the US has made -- first in Korea and later in Vietnam? Nope. They didn't learn anything from
the almost total destruction of North Korea (we're still reaping the whirlwind there). They didn't learn anything from Vietnam -- even though 53,000 American GIs died in its jungles. And they didn't learn from the Russian failures in Afghanistan -- or from their own (eight years and we're still there?)

America and Israel didn't learn anything from the invasion of Iraq and they sure as hell haven't learned anything from their attacks on Lebanon and Gaza. Running up a body count no longer wins wars.

What a waste of human life. What a waste of money. What a waste of time.

"But what about if they attack us first?" you might argue. "Don't we have the right to defend ourselves?" Sure. Just like the Palestinians do. But frankly, defense is just not America's --or Israel's -- problem right now. We're talking about unnecessarily offensive behavior here.

The Old World Order is dying -- slowly, for sure -- but dying all the same. In the new post-modern world, conquered peoples who are treated badly will fight to the death, with arrows and brickbats if necessary. People all over the world these days watch television, have cell phones and use the internet. People all over the world KNOW what freedom looks like. And they know that it doesn't look like a massive accumulation of body bags after a rain of bombs.

Sorry, Ari Lieberman and Binyamin Netanyahu, but there's no stuffing the genie back into the bottle. It's too late. There's no going back. If you are gonna conquer someone, you had better make sure that you don't do it Old School -- if you want the conquest to last.

Palestine is a mess right now. The way that things in Gaza and the West Bank are going right now, that particular "war" has been all but lost. However, there is still some ray of hope. Get rid of all those WWII-type people-killing machines and invest in infrastructure, education, jobs and medical care there instead. And freedom too. Freedom is good.

"But Jane," you might ask. "How can you tell that Israel is losing the war in Palestine?" That's easy. Because the Israeli Defense Force, after over 60 years of military-oriented attempts at pacification, is still patrolling the streets of Palestine like it was a foreign occupied country. That's how.

PS: How can Americans continue to fund Israel as it apparently goes around trying to incite a war with Iran -- when the Israelis can't even manage to win their own War at Home despite all the multi-mega-billions of dollars its been funded already. America needs to stop backing an incompetent loser.

PPS: In the last few years, the US military, especially the Marines, have been having some successes in Iraq -- and lately in Afghanistan too. Why? Because it's been funding schools, medical clinics, jobs, etc. and letting the body-bag thingie mostly slide. I rest my case.