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The War Nerd August 11, 2006
 
Gophers by TKO: Lessons from Lebanon
A Special Intra-Issue Column! By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
Page 4 of 4
 

Remember, in military terms, courage changes with the technology. When the Greeks fought one-on-one, courage was Achilles strutting up and saying, "I'll take the best guy you punks got." When the phalanx came into its own, courage meant NOT jumping out of formation on your lonesome but keeping rank, with your shield protecting your neighbor (or your bayonet, if you're talking the Redcoats' squares at Culloden in 1745). To fight and win the way Hezbollah did, courage is waiting...waiting...waiting for that Merkava to roll into the kill zone, not jumping up and firing your AK at Chobham armor.

And speaking of AKs, another lesson of this war is that the era of the automatic rifle as basic small arm may be ending. We may be heading back to some kind of shoulder-fired cannon (just like Champlain's!). Most of the IDF casualties in this war were inflicted by RPGs, just like most of our casualties in Iraq. The Chechen guerrillas have gone to a new formation, with three-man teams consisting of two RPG gunners with one AK man whose only job is to protect the RPGers. That may be the wave of the future.

Of course all these moves would've been wasted if the Israelis had caught on to what Hezbollah was up to, which leads to another lesson, one I'm always preaching: in asymmetrical warfare, Intelligence is everything. Or in this case, counterintelligence. Israeli intel, Shin Bet and Mossad, has been the real strength of the IDF for a long time. They're the best and most ruthless intelligence agencies since the USSR went bankrupt. But they had no idea what was waiting for them over the border. That's incredible, the most shocking news of all.

Remember, the IDF has instant access to all US military satellite intel, so this means that our tech intel was just as ineffective as Mossad's more traditional infiltration methods. That means Hezbollah, a huge organization with branches in every street in South Beirut and South Lebanon, has a scary effective counterintelligence branch. We all know the CIA is useless, but when Mossad and Shin Beth can't even penetrate the lower levels of a mass movement like Hezbollah, then the world has turned upside down.

And it has, folks. That's why this is such a huge, huge war.  No matter what the waterheads on CNN try to tell you, the IDF lost totally, and every force configured like it -- such as, oh, the US Army or Air Force -- lost too. The Gophers are beating the shit out of the gardeners on this course. The gophers just kicked the shit out of Tiger Woods.

It's hard to say who gains in the long run. Short term, sure, Hezbollah wins big. But in the long run, maybe what's happened is that the day when genocide replaces the farce called "CI Warfare" just got a lot closer.


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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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