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14 January 2009

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Highlander

Colonel,

The Jews must have been a right royal pain for you to deal with. When you were the Israeli desk.

Because, to an impartial observer you sure don't seem particularly inclined to give them the "benefit of a doubt".

I mean "fog of war" and potential Hamas propaganda distortions. These are things you were taught as far back as "The Institute".

How about giving us more of your impressions of Israel and the IDF.

As always, thank you for your service.

Keith

I thought the following was an interesting bit of perspective:

http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/01/at_least_nine_hundred_people.php

According to the author of "Black Hawk Down" up to 80% of the people killed in the first day of the First Battle of Mogadishu were innocents and civilians - roughly 800 civilians in 24 hours.

Certainly the most polite adjective describing the apparent IDF goals in Gaza would "quixotic", but were the goals of the initial US operation in 1993 really that much less so? Again, according to the author, Mark Bowden, “Some of the Rangers shot civilians, some of them inadvertently and some of them advertently.”

Obviously there are differences, but I see enough parallels that I wonder how one can be depicted as a tale of epic heroism suitable for a major motion picture, and the other the worst crime against humanity since the Holocaust (to quote the most extreme hyperbole I've been reading).

Patrick Lang

Highlander

I was never the Israel desk officer. I was in charge of the region from Morocco to Bangla Desh. "Jews?" Ah, the anti-semite card. I suppose that if you have no personal experience of any of this, then it is easy to "cut them slack." "The fog of war?" Does that sum up your knowledge of Clausewitz? "Potential Hamas distortions?" Do you know that the BBC is propagating Hamas "distortions?' It sounds like you have a dog in this fight.

Keith

Did you have to search for this apologia for mass murder? pl

adam

"If this is different, the Israeli people need to know and to put a stop to it."

What makes you think that they don't know about it?

After all, for years they have been told that the women and kids of Gaza are deadly ninja enemies of Israel, each one a highly trained killing machine each one armed with the Jawbone of an Ass.

Seriously, there is no sign in Israel that any major political group is against the current military plan of shooting everyone in Gaza. And the Israeli military isn't going to rush to stop the killing. They like it.

As Dan Halutz noted in 2002 the only thing he feels when dropping a bomb on civilians is a slight thump, and they made him Chief of Staff of the entire military. In 2006 he gave the famous 10 buildings order (for each rocket from Lebanon 10 multi-story buildings (or "houses" as we call them, in Lebanon will be destroyed), a straight example of collective punishment. Halutz only resigned in 2007 when his personal corruption issues caught up with him.

Keith

Keith

Did you have to search for this apologia for mass murder? pl

-----

I was unaware that you had come to the conclusion that this was an organized 'mass' murder; that the intention in Gaza from the top of the IDF is killing people en masse. In reading your posts, I was under the impression that you were more concerned about individual criminals analogous to the Marines in Hatitha.

S.D.

As reported here:

http://www.kansascity.com/451/story/981427.html

that is to say here.

The rules of engagement are to "purge an area".

To me this sounds like orders given by Arkan, in the Drina Valley of Bosnia, to ethnically cleanse that area of Bosniaks. Truly,
today being the 8th year since his death.
[2000 - Zeljko Raznatovic, the notorious Serb paramilitary leader better known as Arkan, is shot and killed in a Belgrade hotel on this day in 2000 (Jan. 15]

Apparently this is not COIN (counter-insurgency) al la Petraeus.

There is no doubt that Hamas in firing their WWII battlefield rockets in the general direction of the father's Palestine are committing a war crime.

As well is Israel. The argument that this only breeds the next generation of terror as articulated here by journalist Chris Hedges

is what I see as the net result.

If it were happening to Basques, or Irish, Ivine County, it would be a problem. If Serbia does it to Kosovars or Bosnians...it is condemned.

Animals have more conventions protecting them thatn this hi tech blitz.

It is more Revenge and some vague notion of deterrence.

G

As a former israeli officer, and frequent reader of your blog, i've put aside a lot of my strong misgivings in order to learn from what seems to be your wealth of experience but this is simply too much.

How could you claim to have spent any time at all working with the IDF in and still propagate this nonsense? This is shockingly short-sighted, especially for as someone who claims to have been in combat before. We shoot women and children on purpose? Seriously...

YT

Col., sir : Off topic, but glad to see that Israelis are visitin' this site (evident from the Live Traffic Feed). A 3rd. person perspective of 'emselves?

pbrownlee

Ergo, these are not real soldiers -- and that may have been the problem in a number of areas in Israel and elsewhere since 1967.

Ben Gurion was right --"Now we must give all this land back at once," he said. "Except Jerusalem, perhaps. That we will have to discuss."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/1413738.stm

Now it is too late.

In 2006 Yoel Marcus wrote "...we have been wandering in a desert of illusion for 40 years, and they have been marching nowhere in blood and fire for 40 years. Enough is enough."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/796912.html

The choice will probably be between a totalitarian theocracy of some hue or a pluralist state with a nutjob rump.

There is now no conceivable two state solution in Judaea/Palestine/Israel.

Jose

"The IDF has always had a problem with maintaining operational discipline over a long period, especially when reserve forces are involved.":

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1055543.html

Obviously someone knows what is going on in Gaza and are preparing to do something about it:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1055553.html

Hope we get more reports after the madness ends, so we can see if any war crimes charges get files.

But I forgot, they are only Arabs....

china_hand

Yes, Colonel --

It does seem as if you are drawing a few paid members of Israeli info-war units, here.

"Jews"? In the years I have been reading this blog, you have always been keen to make careful distinction between Israel the State and the Israel of various religions, just as you are careful to distinguish between Jews and Zionists.

I find it odd how so many American Jews seem, when involved in debate or polite conversation, to be utterly incapable of doing us gentiles the honor of publicly acknowledging these mundane distinctions.

Thank you -- very much -- for providing a place on the web where loyal Americans can reasonably discuss Israeli actions and policy without having to worry about either the rhetorical abuse of people whose loyalty lies more with Israel than with the United States nor the disgusting excesses of jew-haters or other racists.

I noticed how the BBC recently carried an article about how China is paying propagandists to surf the web and promote Chinese government policy. What i found shocking was how there was made no mention of the overt practice of Israeli and U.S. "think tanks" who do the same thing. For a taste, one only needs to spend a few days posting to the Wikipedia page on Palestine or Israel to see what i mean.

I suspect that the Israeli intelligence services have a bureau that is devoted to precisely such harassment, but have yet to see any articles on it. It shouldn't be surprising to me that the BBC would focus on China's rather meager and belated efforts, but I do think it a shame that there has been no corresponding article on related Israeli efforts, which IMHO are far more worrisome.

mo

Colonel,

I was in Lebanon in 1982. The invasion where, as testified by pilots to Robert Fisk in Pity The Nation, the Israeli Air Force used photographs of buildings to find their target. Three buidlings around us, all of which inhabited by normal families were brought down. That invasion cost the lives of over 10,000 people.

I was also still there when the massacres occured at Sabra and Shatilla.

I was also 3 miles away from the UN compound in Qana in 96 when it was shelled by the Israelis killing 111 people. The Israelis, like when they hit the UN school in Gaza recently, and the UN base in 2006, claimed that there was firing from the base. Video footage from UN soldiers showed that, like the other examples, to be a complete and utter lie.

And in 2006, like the report you link to, the Israelis, on more than one occasion, through flyers and/or other means, massacred convoys of people that they explicitly ordered or warned to leave certain areas.

The fact is that through my entire life, I have seen nothing but civilian casulties at the hands of the IDF. I have, through being in Lebanon become blase to shelling. An explosion does not make me jump they way people who have led a normal life do. A gun does not scare me the way it should. In other words, I have been numbed to the dangers of war by my experiences. But something which I have seen, actually no, suffered, far too often, and have never become accustomed to (and hope I never will) is the sight of a dead child. The ultimate innocents, punished in the ultimate way.

And when it happens with the frequency and number that it does when the Israeli army is involved, I see a pattern. A purposeful attempt to subjugate a population, be it Palestinian or Lebanese, by aiming its firepower on the children because it cannot defeat its adults.

I believe that the Israeli defacto policy is the old adage: "It matters not if they hate us, as long as they fear us". And it does not matter how much hate there is if there is an equal amount of fear. But what happens if that fear starts to ebb? What do you do when the enemy no longer fears you? You start to threaten his family, his children.

Sir, if the Israeli people do not already know of their governements attitude towards Arab women and children, then they are either blind or worse, they have fallen into the trap so many socieites that have given free reign to murderous leaders, which is to become so wrapped up in their myths of victimisation, so immersed in their need for restitution, or even revenge for evils perpetrated on them in the past, that they cannot see they have become that very evil, that very victim creating criminal.

Could it be that deep down, sub-consiously even, that the people of Israel are using the Palestinians as a punch bag to work out the many centuries of abuse they recieved in Europe? Im not qualified to even begin to answer that.

But if anti-semitism is a way to demean and insult the people of Judaism, then I see no-one or nothing as demeaning and insulting to Judaism as the actions of the Zionists.

eakens

Highlander,

Damn near every single occasion in which a country, leader, international body (or person for that matter) condemns an Israeli action, then they are somehow either biased, anti-semitic, anti-Israeli, or simply pandering to the arabs or muslims.

I would say that what Israel is carrying out today in Gaza is the ultimate in anti-Israel behaviour.

Leila Abu-Saba MacLeod

A hasbara commenter at my blog also introduced the question of "US did it in Iraq, is it really illegal?"

I think the purpose of such a question is to draw the blogger into an "attack on (American) troops" and hence look "un-American."

They may also be wishing to cast doubt in the mind of your readers as to whether killing civilians is really illegal. After all, American soldiers did it in Mogadishu, or Iraq.

You would think they wouldn't be so stupid as to try that tack with this blog's audience. But you never know how stupid or desperate these anonymous hasbarim really are.

I like that the first blogger uses Jeffrey Goldberg as a source. Oh really? Laughable.

somebody

this is not a military conflict, colonel.
Israel thinks harassing civilians pressures Hamas. Hamas thinks this works for them.

confusedponderer

Highlander , Keith,
you puzzle me. Just out of curiosity, what if the BBC reporting is indeed correct and Israeli troops do what is being reported? Does it matter? Does it matter to you? Do you have favourite civilian casualties?

If what is being reported is true it is an outrage, no matter that it is being done by Israelis. It is quite simply unjustifiable.

Or is it just the nature of war? Is this total war? Is Israel is caught in a locked, intractable struggle with Palestinians in which all Palestinian civilians are fair game, and, in reciprocation, all Israelis as well? Do you think that? If so, then an IDF trooper has the same 'right' to kill civilians as a suicide bomber, and both remain 'honourable' combatants. I don't quite expect either of you to hold that view, or to endorse the consequences of that train of thought. But feel free to correct me.

Or is the key to your view that there is no reciprocation? If so, why?

turcopolier

G

Since your wars are typically rather short, (exception would be the war of attrition with Egypt)it is virtually certain that I have spent a great deal more time in combat than you.

Combat experience would be a barr to believing that the IDF or any other army might deliberately shoot civilians? Come now! If you really are a soldier with combat time, you know that if they are not kept under tight control, armed men are capable of almost anything. pl

turcopolier

Keith

Whether or not the IDF high command and the government intend mass murder in Gaza, they are accomplishing it.

My post was aimed at street level action by units and individuals who may well be "off the leash" and acting out their hostility against civilians. This little war will end and foreign journalists will broadcast to the world whatever it is that is happening on the streets of Gaza. My guess is that little will be said of it on American corporate media, but the BBC will be there.

Haditha? You are quick to seek to smear s--t on American soldiers. These marines were charged under UCMJ. Let us see what happens in the IDF after Gaza. pl

Highlander

Colonel,

No offense to you meant. I have the highest respect for you. Just seeking a little honest debate.

As for media bias. I do have decades of experience in that area. And yes, it does exists. And yes, the BBC is one of the worst offenders.

It is purely my personal opinion, but I think the BBC like a lot of liberals are closet anti semites. (oh,the irony of it all)

I feel almost certain in your "uber spook days", you ran across a little media manipulation.

And no, I was not subtlely trying to play the anti semite card on you. I personally am a goyim boy.

Technically speaking however,I believe the majority of Israelis are indeed a people called the "JEWS". Why does everyone get a little antsy when you use the word?

Now, it's very cold in the hills today. I think a bit of grouse hunting is in order. I won't be bothering you anymore.

Halfnhalf

If the following is Israeli's idea of democracy: From Haaretz, January 13, 2009--"Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections"

Then it is quite likely that the reserve IDF troops have an equally strange idea of who a Hamas fighter is.

jr786

I posted on another thread that very early on in this attack Press TV and some Arab channels showed a little girl, no more than 4 or 5 it seemed to me, with two clean entry wounds in her chest. That was on day 5 or 6. Since then we here have seen dozens more.

If you bomb a house with children in it - which the zionists admitted to doing when they killed Rayyan - is it so diffiult to believe your own eyes at images of murdered children?

I don't have the words to describe how I hate them.

jr786

Col., these comparisons to American behavior are part of the hasbara campaign, as you no doubt are aware.

The zionists constantly try to co-opt Americans into their crimes. They are a parasite on the United States.

J

Colonel,

One more 'War Crime' to chalk up against the IDF -- their use of 'white pete' as a 'weapon' against unarmed women and children.

UN headquarters in Gaza hit by Israeli 'white phosphorus' shells

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5521925.ece

The IDF need to face the criminal docket for their carnage upon innocent women and children.

Israel is truely earning their title of the Mideast's baby killers!

euclidcreek

Congratulations to Israel for creating a giant concentration camp and then attacking it. The land of milk and honey indeed.

J

Colonel,

I say it's time to 'cut bait' as far as our 'relationship' with Israel goes. We bend over backwards for the ungrateful snits, and they slap us in our faces every time. I say it's time to 'cut bait'

End ALL U.S. financial and military aid to Israel. Let them use sling shots like those children whom they use their IAF F16s against.'

Time to 'cut bait' and let Israel hang itself.

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