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Could this -- at least partially -- explain the IDF's evident insouciance in bombing civilian areas with apparently little concern for civilian "collateral damage"?

Further to what I told Metatone, my answer is "quite probably". Let's consider the following things Olmert said:

Israel's offensive in Lebanon has "entirely destroyed" the infrastructure of the Hezbollah guerilla group, Olmert said Wednesday.

"I think Hezbollah has been disarmed by the military operation of Israel to a large degree," he said.

"The infrastructure of Hezbollah has been entirely destroyed. More than 700... command positions of Hezbollah were entirely wiped out by the Israeli army. All the population which is the power base of the Hezbollah in Lebanon was displaced," he said.

Also, is this "non-fighter meta-army" an innovation, at least in terms of its apparently massive size?

In its size, and in its mobilisation of locals as part-time fighters (which is what I presume you mean by "non-fighter"), I don't think so: I believe several guerilla movements operated similarly, I think for example the Greek partisans against the Nazi occupation was structured thus. I also don't think that a guerilla army configuration that unites several forces which accept one as coordinator and leader is unprecedented. Maybe Marek can tell whether the Polish resistance during WWII fits the bill, the French Resistance also seems a candidate, and so is what we knew as Mahdi Army in April-May and August 2004 (this is probably not well-known here, or even that there was fighting beyond Sadr City and Najaf; but those joining the uprisings in the South then included village and tribal militias, and former/present members of the Marsh Arab Hezbollah). Another example I'll be writing about next Tuesday, on the 62th birthday of its outbreak: the so-called Slovak National Uprising, which was a mayor rebellion against the Naziswhich is regrettably largely forgotten outside Slovakia.

The significance I saw to this "meta-army" configuration was thus not its novelty, but two other things: one that in a way Hezbollah's victory was less impressive, e.g. there was no gross numerical inferiority; the other that Hezbollah managed to form a broad unity in the South, without exploitable internal divisions like among the Palestinians and both between and within their armed groups.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 04:44:38 AM EST
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