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The two most astonishing things in this diary for me were:

  1.  The discrepancy between the MSM's apparently far too optimistic portrayal of the IDF's military successes in Lebanon and your analysis.

  2.  The activity of the south Lebanese "meta-army" (as you put it) that supported Hezbollah.

If anything, the second point struck me even more than the first.  Especially this quote:

About 10 Hezbollah fighters initially confronted the Israelis, but some 300 townspeople heard the roar of helicopters, grabbed their guns and joined the fight.

"All the sky seemed like a cloud of planes, and all -- not only Hezbollah -- fought. All the people in the village brought their guns to fight. Fifteen year-old boys brought guns," said Suzanne Mazloun, 22, wife of Boudai's mayor, Suleiman Chamas.

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

Also, is this "non-fighter meta-army" an innovation, at least in terms of its apparently massive size?  Or have their been precedents for this sort of mobilization of the non-professional masses to support the hardcore "professional" fighters in recent conflicts?

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Thu Aug 24th, 2006 at 09:31:06 PM EST
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
[ Parent ]
All the population which is the power base of the Hezbollah in Lebanon was displaced
.

Not too subtle that, was it.

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.

Then as someone (was it you?) wrote above, the fact that the IDF really underestimated, or even failed to anticipate this mobilisation, was indeed an incredible intelligence failure.

And yes, "part-time fighters" would be the better term.

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.

It would be interesting to find out why Hezbollah succeeded in this while the Palestineans have not.

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 05:37:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the fact that the IDF really underestimated, or even failed to anticipate this mobilisation, was indeed an incredible intelligence failure.

Someone else said it. But I think they didn't necessarily underestimate the level of mobilisation: maybe they expected scores of easy-to-take-out Kalashnikov-waving fighters running across the street, say like the Mahdi Army in Najaf during the August 2004 US assault, or Palestinian fighters in Gaza or Nablus.

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

by DoDo on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 05:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More than 700... command positions

God damn - how many command positions do you need?

by det on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, is this "non-fighter meta-army" an innovation, at least in terms of its apparently massive size?
I don't know... It's called a rural population under attack from a foreign force organising itself as a militia.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Sound familiar?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 06:52:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Sound familiar?

Yes, but there are some significant differences.  I'mm to trashed too write right now, but iif you listent ot heis raiidio show you'll see that a well-regulated militia in early United States had a different meaning than the part-time meta-arm of southern Lebanoon:

http://www.wamu.org/programs/dr/06/08/02.php

(click on the second show:  "Saul Cornell: "A Well-Regulated Militia" (Oxford)">)

Out of the Dark Age came the most magnificent thing we have in our society: the recognition that people can have a society without having a state.

by marco on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 12:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just being [slightly] flippant.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 30th, 2006 at 08:08:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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