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10 August 2006


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"Other revolutionary armies?"

1. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that in a few battles, even Gen. Washington would hold the Colonial Army units back, and put the more rag-tag quasi-civilian umits towards the front to bear the brunt of the redcoats?

2. I am puzzled as to why I haven't seen on TV any films of all these tunnels, bunkers, inter-connected defenses, etc. You see, I believe the Israelis have a very well-oiled, slick PR machine. I've seen it in action from the day the IDF bombed the airport. Seems like there could be some good PR value in showing off these battlefield structures...all designed to show the world all about these "evil Hizbollah" positions, how these "evil Hizbollans" are dug in, will shoot a man in the back, so forth and so on. Seems like the very slick Israeli PR machine could make some hay off such films. Yet...nothing. Why?

A. It's entirely possible that I'm missing something in the equation of the "good PR value" in showing off the "evil" Hizzbollah fortifications.

B. OR, is it that the Israeli advance, to date, has been even worse than I imagine? That the Israelis haven't even yet been able to penetrate even one of these defensive positions?

I just don't know.

W. Patrick Lang


Yes, Washington had little use for "militia" in the American sense of the word. He had the experience of watching them run too often to think otherwise. that is why he had Steuben put the Continentals into a training regime that made them into troops who could fight the king's army.

So far as I know none of the media biggies have approached HA for access. pl

W. Patrick Lang


Which "von Clausewitz" doctrines are you referring to? pl

W. Patrick Lang


"Guerrilla warfare operates with small, mobile and flexible combat groups called cells, without a front line" Wiki

"without a front line.." With few exceptions guerrilla armies avoid defending terrain and rely on raids, ambushes and the like, operations from which they approach the objective with stealth and from which they withdraw rapidly after mission accomplishment in order to avoid becoming decisively engaged with heavy enemy forces. They do that to avoid destruction of the force.

There are notable exceptions but they all involve guerrilla forces in transition a new status as conventional forces.

It seems to me that HA is now in that stage of development. They are seeking to defend a fortified zone of unknown depth against a heavily armed opponent. That is positional warfare since it is oriented on terrain. pl

W. Patrick Lang


Someone asked about the future of tanks.

The disappearance of tanks has been predicted since shortly after they were invented for WW1.

Like any other weapons system tanks have to be used in ways appropriate to their nature.

The Israelis have gotten used to fighting easy enemies. HA are not the Palestinians. The Israelis have been trying to use the tanks in inappropriate ways and have paid the price that was foreseeable. pl

Abu Sinan

Nice blog. I came here from Juan Cole's site.

I think there is a lesson being learned here by groups in the Middle East. Smaller, better trained and better equipped groups can make a stand.

I dont know if, given the unique situation of Lebanon, this is true, but that is indeed what the people are thinking.

I am an American citizen married to a Saudi woman. I speak Arabic and watching Arabic news, from Al Jazeera to al Arabiya what hit me is the amount of popular support Hizb'Allah has now amoungst people who wouldnt normally support the Shi'ite group, ie even Saudis are supporting Hizb'Allah even if their government was a bit slow to get on board.

My sister in law is a professor at a university in Jeddah Saudi Arabia and has told us there is overwhelming support by the students there, from the very begining of the conflict. This is in marked contrast to the reaction from the Saudi establishment.

This ground swell of support is forcing the governments, and the state sponsored media to change how they view and react to the situation on the ground.


Blowback, In the main I do think you are right. Im not sure what would have happened if HA were actually targeting civilians rather than, ironically, the military installations based in civilian areas, esp. next to Arab towns and villages. Ive posted this link before if youre interested in regards to the constant Israeli complaints of HA using human sheilds.



Your answer to why the IDF is losing so many officers may be here at http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/66808.html

"Israel's officer corps has paid a heavy penalty for leading from the front in the two-week war in Lebanon, accounting for up to 40% of the 33 soldiers killed in action so far, Israel Defence Force sources admitted yesterday.
The elite Golani Brigade lost three officers and five senior NCOs in an ambush at Bint Jbeil on Wednesday and the paratroopers operating at nearby Marun al Ras lost another officer and two men.
At least two lieutenant-colonels, the rank which commands battalions of 600 soldiers, have been killed in close-range fighting in which small groups of veteran Hizbollah guerrillas have used hidden tunnels, bunkers and an array of booby-traps to pin down the attacking Israelis."

Col. Lang,
Thank you for your excellent site. You and your contributing readers are an invaluable asset for those of us trying to make sense at a distance.


Begin’s foolish 80s invasion of Lebanon was a comparative walkover but resulted in over 1,200 IDF dead in 3 years. The IDF have had around 90 men killed a month just taking a few villages this time and have not yet been able to silence Nasrallah’s rocketry. That’s about the same number of men the Marines lost in Fallujah#2 but the Marines took the city convincingly. The IDF may not be the USMC but they are still a tough, modern, well lead military with some world class units.

In Hezbollah we have not just the world’s most tactically able terrorists but apparently light infantry of steely quality, now we have them fighting sophisticated battles from well prepared defensive positions. If this the kind of enemy IRGC training produces what in hell would it have been like if we’d have been dumb enough to invade Iran?

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