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Another angle on the kill ratio might be that the Israelis killed a number of "villagers with guns" which Hezbollah doesn't count as losses because they weren't "signed up members of Hezbollah."

That sounds like I am accusing Hezbollah of callous disregard for villager lives, but it may in fact be as simple as the fact that Hezbollah only had lists of it's own members.

Of course, at the same time, if the IDF repeatedly found itself faced with resistance from the entire population of various villagers, it is perhaps unsurprising that they turned to indiscriminate bombing. If every house has a man and an AK47 in it, then every house looks like a military target when you're on the ground being shot at.

That's not to excuse the indiscriminate action, but perhaps just to remind us all a little bit of how rapidly military action can escalate into large scale war.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 01:10:49 PM EST
Of course, at the same time, if the IDF repeatedly found itself faced with resistance from the entire population of various villagers, it is perhaps unsurprising that they turned to indiscriminate bombing.

Well, entire armed population (say Aita al-Chaab is a town of 10,000). But, while your argument would work if that were the situation, the IDF in fact first bombed and then met surprising levels of resistance on the ground. Major ground operations started a week after the bombing began, and altough I haven't digged up quotes from articles saying so, the mode of operation was to first reduce a village to rubble with artillery before trying to enter it. (For example, you see the advance towards Tebnine at lower center on the maps: the village is in ruins, but it didn't came to ground assault.)

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

by DoDo on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 01:31:16 PM EST
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On the other hand, it is possible that top IDF commanders were well aware that they'll face widespread and numerous resistance (though not knowing how well-trained and well-armed they are), and planned this village-flattening policy accordingly.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 01:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I know. I was just trying to force myself not to seem too anti-Israeli all the time.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 03:28:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reducing a built-up area to "rubble" only helps the defenders.  Ruins allow great fire and movement cover and the illogic of ruined buildings, one way streets, and so on confuses the attackers.  The Imperial Germany army used bombed-out villages as strongpoints and centerpins of their defensive lines during World War I with excellent results.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 09:43:26 PM EST
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A later famous example was the Battle of Monte Cassino, fought on the ruins of the Abbey.
It seems that modern elite forces engaged in urban warfare imagine a town inside-out. Read Israeli Military Using Post-Structuralism as Operational Theory.
by findmeaDoorIntoSummer on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 02:29:06 AM EST
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And the tried to repeat that "success" in Berlin in 1945 with not so excellent results.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Tue Aug 29th, 2006 at 07:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another angle on the kill ratio might be that the Israelis killed a number of "villagers with guns" which Hezbollah doesn't count as losses because they weren't "signed up members of Hezbollah."

I forgot to add a line on this into the diary, now corrected. The thing is that for Aita al-Chaab, we have a total local resistance figure of 8, vs. the IDF claim of 40, still a 1:5 ratio (vs. the overall 1:7). Now this leads to another question: if the bulk of the fighters weren't Hezbollah proper, how come that apparently Hezbollah's losses are at least half of those claimed on the Lebanese side? I can see two possible reasons beyond Aita al-Chaab not being typical or that cementery shown not representing all losses:

  1. Hezbollah claiming non-affiliated casualties, which is quite possible if they use the rhetoric "martyr of the resistance" instead of "fallen Hezbollah fighter".

  2. The bulk of the forces was 'used' to pin down IDF forces with closing fire from behind cover, and was advised to change positions and instructed on how to awoid airstrikes, while Hezbollah proper fighters with their anti-tank missiles had to fight in exposed open places, or could be hit with their terror-bombing Katyusha launchers.

"...they just told me about my best friend - he was my childhood friend and he was killed four days ago in Maroun al-Ras, he was trying to hit a Merkava [tank] with an RPG when another tank hit him." [Guardian]


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 04:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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