Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, July 31, 2006

True Believer.

This is coolbert:

Here is another statement concerning war by a non-military man that seems to be right on the money.

"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you." - - Eric Hoffer - - longshoreman/philosopher.

Eric Hoffer, an autodidact, commentator on American life, a respected figure from the 1960's. Volunteered for the World War Two war effort but was turned down on account of physical disability. Worked as a longshoreman lading munitions, serving the war effort as best he could.

"autodidact - - n : a person who is self-taught"

A man whose down-to-earth observations seemed to have the ring of truth about them.

For instance:

"Years ago, Eric Hofer, the longshoreman-philosopher, entered the debate about the significance of the hand patterns in Cro-Magnon caves like Altamira. The anthropologists were having a merry debate about why so many digits were missing from the prints, which were made by placing the palm on the wall and blowing pigment over the hand: tribal identifiers? religious sacrifices?

Go down to the docks, Hofer sniffed, and you'll find many digits missing.

True enough. College professors probably average pretty close to 10 fingers, farmers and carpenters and other people who use their hands in rough work considerably fewer."

It is said that his best known work, "The True Believer", is being dusted off and being read by many high ranking officers at the Pentagon.

The True Believer. The sort of person personified by the current jihadi.

"I am right and my cause is right."

"All you others are wrong and evil."

"Accept my way or else."


Now, as for the quote of Hoffer. I leave it to the reader to decide what he means. Who can describe this to me?

Also, how does this quote apply to the Islamic jihadi?

Comments invited.


Sunday, July 30, 2006


This is coolbert:

There was tremendous upheaval in the existing world order following the end of the Great War [WW1].

A physical upheaval when the various Empires and Kingdoms of pre-war Europe came crashing down in defeat.

There was also a tremendous psychological upheaval. The Christian, democratic, capitalist societies of Europe, and to a much lesser extent America, were NOT prepared mentally for the bloodletting of WW1.

What occurred in WW1 was totally unprecedented. A mechanized, industrialized, mass production type of war that had not been seen before. Romanticized, glorified war was gone forever [if it ever did exist!!]. Humans were mere infinitesimally small cogs in a hugely bigger machine. War was totally impersonalized. Each soldier was a number in an army of numbers.

The art world was also in a state of upheaval in the aftermath of the war.

Most demonstrably so in the art form [genre'] called Dada.

An art form that displayed it's revulsion for the war with weird, other-kinda forms of art that had never before been seen.

An art form that in some ways was grotesque to what existed before.

Well, that was the whole idea behind Dada. Grotesqueness to illustrate the grotesqueness of what WW1 had been.

A recent traveling exhibit of Dada art illustrates the genre'.

"Hey, "Dada"-Dude
Where's the Rest of Me?

[this is of course is a paraphrase from the very famous Ronald Reagan movie where the ex-Pres plays a man that has just woken up and found out his legs have been amputated!!]

Dada At the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., through May 14, 2006
Moving to The Museum of Modern Art in New York, June-Sept. 2006"

"The beginnings of Dada do not lie in art but in disgust, one of its leaders said . . . the war of 1914 divided the sympathies not only of intellectuals of various European countries, but of their avant-garde movements as well . . . the poets and artists who were to call themselves Dadaists were pacifists and internationalists. Most of them were draft-dodgers on the run from military authorities in their respective countries. Their revulsion at the butchery of the Great War, in which about ten million men died, over twenty million were wounded, and several hundred thousand lost limbs and sight, had a lot to do with what Dada was to become."

"From a psychological standpoint I find the spectacle of war very impressive," Marcel Duchamp said in 1915 shortly after his arrival in New York. "The instinct which sends men marching out to cut down other men is an instinct worthy of careful scrutiny. What an absurd thing such a conception of patriotism is!... Personally I must say I admire the attitude of combating invasion with folded arms."

"Thanks to the diaspora of artists caused by the Great War, Dada arrived in New York. The American version wasn't as polemical as European Dada, but it was plenty informed by the carnage it had fled. Jean Crotti's Clown (1916) is a plainly transitional piece: It's whimsically cute, but it hints at the rearrangement of bodies that was going on in Europe."

Dada achieved it's pinnacle of success in the years just after WW1. And then faded away. But did use "art" to make it's point about the "new world" that had emerged.

"nihilistic, anti-aesthetic and a reaction to the rationalization."

"Dada was many things, but it was essentially an anti-war movement in Europe and New York from 1915 to 1923. It was an artistic revolt and protest against traditional beliefs of a pro-war society."

"Dada was a moral and ethical response to the slaughter of World War I. In grief, rage, and despair, Dada used art to comment on the world, making art an indictment of the hypocrisies that wiped out a generation."

"the Dada attitude towards war: That it is chaos. That the world has gone mad. That war itself is craziness incarnate destroying humanity."

This latest exhibit of Dada art is DESIGNED to shock you:

"First, for historical context, gallery-goers enter a fittingly silent, gunship grey ante-chamber featuring three minutes of documentary footage about World War I. Crafted for this exhibit, scenes deftly move from Parisians enthusiastically grasping August, 1914 mobilization orders to the haunting otherworldliness of gas-masked children and animals, to the profusion of prostheses and face masks for amputees and the grands mutiles . . . Both killing and medicine grew more advanced, producing a flood of half-mechanical male veterans."

Dada used a variety of techniques to shock art viewers. For example:

* "Dada art catches these grim realities [of war] with missing limbs, re-mastered faces, and split craniums. Phallic hints in God, from a cast-iron plumbing trap, and Ernst's The Hat Makes the Man suggest phalanxes needing Viagra."

[persons with missing limbs hobbling around on peg-legs were a popular feature of Dada art.]

* "In Cologne dadaists focused on the psychological effects of war injuries and how the war had transformed men into stumps. (Berliners were plenty fascinated with this too.)"

* "Collage continues upstairs [at the exhibit of Dada art] along oxblood walls of Berlin Dada. Suspended from the ceiling is the handless, porcine dummy labeled Prussian Archangel. His army officer's waistband reads: "In order to understand this work of art completely, one should drill daily for 12 hours with a heavily packed knapsack..." . . . Works by wounded veteran Otto Dix both agitate and captivate, as with peg-legged War Cripples, ghoulish stand-ins for Cezanne's Cardplayers."

* "Man Ray's wonderful repeating coat hanger sculpture Obstruction, which hangs over the center of the New York Dada gallery . . . Obstruction reads as a commentary on the war. Man Ray specified that an infinite number of coat hangers could be used in the piece, to the point where coat hangers completely filled a room. With a simple consumer object -- Americans loved those! -- Man Ray mimicked the endless piling up of bodies in Europe."

[just a display of empty coat hangers. That was all the art "work" consisted of. Symbolic of they millions of dead no longer around to hang clothes on the hangers. - - Get it!!??]

Art portraying war prior to WW1 showed a dramatic, glorified aspect to it. Such as a scene showing Napoleon riding a horse triumphant across a battlefield, or Kellerman leading a cavalry charge that won the day. Etc.

Dada was NOT this!!


Abu Jandal.

This is coolbert:

Very interesting interview this evening on the TV show "Sixty Minutes" . The man who purportedly was the bodyguard for Osama is being interviewed. Served as the main bodyguard in the days prior to 9/11.

This is Abu Jandal.

A man who is cool, candid, and open about the jihad and his relationship to Osama.

This man is speaking about Osama, Al Qaeda, and doing so in relative luxury. Seems to have made a deal with the government of Yemen not to incite rebellion in return for his freedom [did spend two years in a Yemeni jail].

[some of the informed among you will remember that by ancestry, Osama is a Yemeni.]

This man makes some pronouncements about Osama.

* Osama prefers death by his own bodyguards to being captured. If capture is imminent, the head bodyguard is to kill Osama.

* Osama is hiding in Afghanistan, not Pakistan. The bodyguard says that the Pakistani tribesmen allegedly sheltering Osama are trustworthy, but will also sell you out for a pittance at the same time.

* That Osama does NOT suffer from kidney failure and does not need dialysis. The bodyguard says that the only physical ailment Osama suffers from is a vocal cord problem caused by some sort of rocket delivered gas used by the Soviets in Afghanistan.

* That Osama can subsist on bread and water or just dates for a long period of time. Leads almost a monkish existence. Has PREPARED himself for this life for a long time in advance!!

[in this regard he resembles the mad-bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. The American "terrorist" who was able to survive twenty to thirty days without eating, and could subsist when he did eat on green beans, sardines, and oatmeal!!]

Most surprisingly of all, the American interviewer, Bob Simon, asks the "former" bodyguard if Osama is planning new attacks on America. And the bodyguard says of course Osama is. According to the bodyguard, when Osama says something, he means it!!

[Osama offered a truce some time ago to America. The alternative, according to Osama, was continued attack by Al Qaeda.]

It is that last part that most amazes me. That Bob Simon asks IF Osama is planning new attacks. What the hell???!!! Do people yet not get it??!! I guess not!! People in the U.S. had just better get it through their heads we are in war that will go on for a century at least, if the U.S. lasts that long, with the Islamic fundamentalists. A war to the death. Even if Al Qaeda was to disappear tomorrow, and it will not, something else, another fundamentalist entity, will appear from no where to replace it. And continue the jihad.


Americans do find this hard to accept. Well, they better had accept the facts, and right now too.


Henry & Richard.

This is coolbert:

Here are two movies I highly recommend. Both deal with war and are adaptations from Shakespeare. Somewhat vintage [1989, 1995] by now, but still worth renting and seeing.

Henry V. With Kenneth Branagh in the leading role as Henry and directing as well.

"The gritty adaptation of William Shakespeare's play about the English King's bloody conquest of France."

According to one reviewer:

"I was impressed with the acting, the staging, and everything else. But something kept nagging at me. It wasn't until Mountjoy (the French herald) entered Henry's throne room that I realized what was impressing me so much. THEY WERE WEARING THE RIGHT CLOTHES FOR 1415! That kind of attention to detail shows throughout, and makes what would otherwise be an exceptional effort even more superlative. Also, while I am a great fan of Laurence Olivier, I still feel that in this performance Branagh IS Henry. A truly masterful effort!"

Absolutely. I concur without reservation also. This IS an outstanding movie. A must see. The battle scene at Agincourt is realistic and downright bloody, as was the real battle. They do not seem to have missed a thing with this movie at all. For film fans, see it. The dialog does not seem to digress from original script of Shakespeare in the least. Sticks to the original to the greatest extent possible.

Richard III. With Ian McKellen as the brutal, fascist, cold-blooded, crippled, and possibly demented King of England.

Has been adapted from the original work of Shakespeare. Less true to the original. But then this version of Richard III takes place in 1930 England.

"Tagline: What Is Worth Dying For... Is Worth Killing For. (more)

Plot Outline: The classic Shakespearean play about a murderously scheming king staged in an alternative fascist England setting."

According to one reviewer:

"An absolute pleasure to watch. True, setting Shakespeare in a more modern yet parallel setting is nothing original, but the Bard here comes to life in a way unequaled by any other Shakespeare adaptation I've seen yet. The art direction is sumptuous, the jazzy score intoxicating and perfectly suited to the range of emotions these human characters encounter, the direction stylish without sacrificing substance, and the acting...well, they just make it look easy. McKellen floats somewhere above the realm of brilliant, and his cast follows him beautifully. Shakespeare's words don't come alive in this film; they sing."

Again, I concur. This movie did have Oscar nominations, but was not touted as well at the time as it should have been. I made a special point to rent and see, and I recommend that all do so that can.

It seems that the works of Shakespeare are eternal. Can be adapted for any and all settings and still come out as outstanding. I think that in the year 2000 Shakespeare was voted as the most important person of the last 1000 years!!?? I would generally agree with that.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


This is coolbert:

From a comment made by a reader:

"Israel is a victim of the lesser jihad, but she has never concluded that the Moslems never will let go of their stolen Eastern Roman & Persian spoils of 1400 years ago"

This is true. Israel is being subjected to the lesser jihad. The lesser jihad being open warfare on the part of the Muslim against non-Muslims. Greater jihad of course being the striving of the Muslim for moral perfection on the part of the individual worshiper.

I don't think that when Ben Gurion made his statement, "between the Arab and the Jew, a hundred year war" he took it literally. My guess.

I do think the Zionists did anticipate a state of war that would last for some decades after the creation of Israel. But NOT necessarily a turn of events as has transpired.

There has been a series of threats over the years to Israel. Manifesting themselves in different ways.

* The Pan-Arabism as espoused by Nasser and to a lesser extent by Ghaddaffi.

This concept has not been successful. Seems to be passe'. Never took hold. Leaders such as Nasser and others saw THEMSELVES as being THE leader in the pan-Arab movement. These military men [Nasser and Ghaddaffi both were Colonels] were uniformly unsuccessful in their military confrontations with Israel. Sometimes shockingly so! I am thinking primarily 1967 here. Rather than leading the Arab armies to victory over the "Zionist entity, they presided over very shameful and humiliating defeats.

* Socialist movements [Baathism].

As found in Syria and Iraq. Socialist movements aided and abetted by communist Soviet Union in a massive way with armaments. Again, to confront and defeat the "Zionist entity". Secular societies that desired to create a westernized-Arab nation state. Even with an huge over-abundance of Soviet weaponry, nations such as Syria and Iraq to a much lesser extent, were basically impotent in their pronounced desire to eradicate Israel.

To some degree, at least with Egypt, the Israeli have achieved rapprochement' and an uneasy co-existence. NOT so with other regional powers.

My guess, is again, that by now the Israeli would have thought that the Arabs would have ALL reached an accommodation with the Jewish state. But this has just not happened!

NOW, Israel faces a new threat.

That from:

* Islamic extremists/fundamentalists.

Those movements, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that SEEM to have taken hold and are dominant, organized, successful, and self-sustaining in a way that pan-Arabism and Baathism was not.

[I would not include the PLO in this grouping. The PLO under Arafat was a bumbling and incompetent group if there ever was one. Did a lot more harm to their own movement than good. Arafat ran things poorly and was highly ineffectual. His own worse enemy and the enemy of his "people" too.]

Confronts Israel with militancy, and an outlook that is far different from those of the nation-states that Israel faced on the battlefield for decades.

As Islamic fundamentalists, these groups recognize the world as being divided into Dar-al-Islam [House of Islam] and Dar-al-Harb [House of War]. The former is all land areas either now under the rule of Islam or once WAS under the rule of Islam. The latter is all other lands of the earth.

According to fundamentalist scholars, lands that have been "taken" from under the rule of Islam, such as Spain, the Philippines, or current day Israel, are lands that MUST BE RETURNED TO THE ISLAMIC "FOLD". The current rulers or populations "occupying" Islamic land are illegal and no mercy can be or should be shown to them.

[Israel, of course, is included as a land that has been "taken" from the "fold" of Islam!!]

Islamic fundamentalists are showing now, and will show for any foreseeable time in the future, a TOTALLY IMPLACABLE hatred of Israel. Coupled with an EVERLASTING resolve and with the connivance of Iran, this makes for a specially troubling mix.

What we are seeing now in Lebanon, between the Hezbollah and the Israeli [and for that matter between Hamas and Israel too] is not so much a war as a battle in a war. A seeming never-ending war for which there is no reasonable solution.

Once GOD tells you something [in the minds of the fundamentalists], you cannot argue.

Lands "taken" by non-Muslims cannot be conceded under ANY circumstances.




This is coolbert:

I am listening to the radio talk show host Michael Savage the other night.

Michael figures prominently within the radio talk show genre' generally called "right wing radio".

An educated man. Has a degree in botany, knowledgeable in homoeopathy and nutrition as well. Would also be considered by almost anyone to be highly opinionated.

"Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in Epidemiology and Nutritional Science. He spent decades searching and saving tropical rainforests."

Does not have a military background, by his own admission. But does have a close relationship to the U.S. Navy. Visits navy ships and does goodwill gestures.

The other night, made some rather informed and profound comments on the current war in Lebanon and war in general.

Said the Israeli would be making a big mistake to launch a ground invasion of Lebanon to go after the Hezbollah fighters. DO NOT fight the enemy on the enemy's own terms. DO NOT go after the Hezbollah fighters in their tunnel complexes from the ground. Continue what you [the Israeli] are doing. Use airpower and bomb them. Take as long as it takes, but continue to use airpower to the greatest extent possible.

This is in keeping with a recent blog entry of mine.

"fight the enemy with weapons you have, but he does not" - - Alexander Suvorov.

Michael also said that his reading of history also tells him that the Arab armies of conquest from the time of Mohammad numbered only in the several thousands. This includes the military force of Mohammad himself and the caliphs that furthered Islamic conquest in the approximately one hundred year period following the death of Mohammad. Small armies THAT WERE EXTREMELY MOBILE.


Michael DOES seem to be an informed person. NOT the type of thing you generally find in an OPINIONATED person. But then, Michael is an EDUCATED person.

Even among the non-military, it seems very basic but fundamental concepts are realized and appreciated. Basic and fundamental concepts that sometimes even those in the military do not have a grasp of!!

Why is that??



This is coolbert:

This is one of those headlines that astounds me:

"UN deaths 'threaten peacekeeping'"

"The UN said it wanted to 'get to the bottom' of what happened.

The UN has warned the deaths of four of its personnel in southern Lebanon may deter countries from contributing to a future peacekeeping force in the area."

This from a BBC internet article dated today.

Of course the BBC is talking here about the incident where an outpost of UN observers in southern Lebanon was hit by Israeli fire. Four [??] UN observers were killed.

And the consensus opinion from "informed parties" in the UN is very negative.

"Mr Malloch-Brown told the BBC the UN 'continued to harbour serious concerns about what went on in the Israeli military forces that day'."

"He said the losses posed a 'very serious threat to the whole concept of neutral peacekeeping.'"

"'Peacekeeping is a dangerous business and we depend on the support of the international community,' he said."

[well, at least Malloch-Brown does understand some basics.]

"'When people die it is not a simple accident to be brushed away.'"

Yes the informed opinion is negative. But this is the type of fuzzy thinking that sometimes makes me wonder about "informed opinions".

As I have said many times before, being in the military period is a dangerous business, and cannot be thought of as being otherwise.



But to say that the entire role and concept of UN Peacekeepers is jeopardized because of one incident seems to be ludicrous. When people "donate" and "volunteer" forces to be Peacekeepers under UN auspices, what do they think may or very well occur??



Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tunnels & Bunkers.

This is coolbert:

The Hezbollah seem to have built, over a period of years, an extensive series of underground tunnel and bunker complexes.

And has done so right along the Lebanese/Israel border.

Allows for Hezbollah "fighters" to survive the most horrendous aerial and artillery bombardment. Then emerge to engage in battle with advancing Israeli troops.

This was the sort of thing that American forces faced when fighting the Japanese in World War Two [WW2] and the Viet Cong [VC] during the Vietnam War.

If history is any guide, such tunnel complexes will provide the Israeli Army with a dilemma it has not faced before. A highly motivated enemy that is shrewd in it's approach to facing an offensive minded, technologically superior foe [Israel]. Use tunnels to escape the massive firepower the enemy can throw at you, then emerge to fight a defensive battle, inflicting unacceptable casualties upon a foe [Israel], that CANNOT accept such casualties.

Tunnel complexes were widely used by the VC in Vietnam and proved to be a successful counter to American firepower. Such may be the case in Lebanon too.

[the two above photos should be best juxtaposed side by side for the full effect!]

Both the VC in Vietnam and the Hezbollah in Lebanon had years, even decades to create, improve, and maintain and increase the size and sophistication of their tunnel complexes.

Evidently too, the Hezbollah engineers are no amateurs either. Read about their preparations along the border between Israel and Lebanon in 2003.

"Hezbollah demolition teams building a network of fortified underground tunnels and bunkers along the border with Israel. Some of the tunnels are connected to an abandoned train tunnel, newly renovated by Hezbollah engineers with new rails and a lighting system."

"New rails - - lighting system - -"

A sophistication well thought out and prepared for well in advance.

Israel is going to have a tough time, and IS having a tough time dealing with this threat.


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This is coolbert:

It seems the Israeli army is having a very hard time dealing with the Hezbollah "fighters" in Lebanon.

Israeli units, primarily the "Golani" brigade, have suffered casualties that are normally unacceptable for ANY Israeli army force. Especially one fighting a foe who is generally considered to be "terrorists" or guerillas.

Hezbollah seems to hold the advantage in this latest round of Middle East combat.

Has seized the initiative and is holding it.

* Hezbollah attacks an Israeli base, kills Israeli soldiers, captures [kidnaps] two.

[Israel responds]

* Hezbollah fires rocket artillery into Israel.

[Israel responds]

* Israeli troops cross the Lebanese border to "take out" Hezbollah positions.

[Hezbollah ambushes the Israeli, fights from prepared defensive positions and succeeds in making the Israeli respond to them!!]

This seems to be a decided shock to Israeli commanders and the general Israeli public at large. NOT something the Jewish state is accustomed to. NOT having the initiative is considered to be a big minus in warfare, period.

As covered in today's Chicago Tribune:

"When [the army] falls into ambushes time after time, and is surprised each time anew, this series of events has to be stopped." Rafi Noy, a retired general and former chief of staff in the army's northern command told Channel Two television. "It's not good when this happens to an army that is so [well] trained and so [well] professional."

[this is the type of thing that happened to the U.S. Army in Vietnam over and over too!!]

That says a lot.

This war IS NOT going well for Israel.


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Old & New?

This is coolbert:

The eightieth birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth II was recently celebrated at Buckingham Palace.

As part of the celebration there was a flyover by the Royal Air Force [RAF]. A flyover consisting of old and new aircraft.

The old aircraft were a Lancaster World War Two bomber escorted by four Spitfires.

The new aircraft were the RAF's newest addition, the EuroFighter [EF].

Called the Typhoon for export purposes.

The EuroFighter has been adopted as the standard fighter combat aircraft by the airforces of Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Portions of the aircraft are made in each country.

Developed as a state-of-the-art combat aircraft that will be able to perform multiple tasks. Fighter superiority, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance.

And will be able to do so with proficiency for decades to come.

Analogous to the American F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Looks like a very classy and sophisticated fighter plane. In skilled hands will dominate the skies.

Combat aircraft of this type had an advent with the much earlier Panavia Tornado. A multi-role-combat-aircraft [MRCA]. A joint venture of England, Germany, and Italy. A European alone development involving multiple companies in multiple nations. The individual nations of Europe no longer develops on their own [with the exception of France and Sweden], their own combat aircraft. NOW a more European Community minded type of development.

Some observers have made an interesting comment regarding the EF. That it so closely resembles a MUCH EARLIER fighter design [decades earlier actually]. This one from the old Soviet Union. From the design bureau of Mikoyan-Guryevich [MIG]. This was the Ye-8.

And even a casual observer would have to agree, that YES, there is a remarkable resemblance here. What is it? The EF? A close copy with improvements, or a case of parallel development using the same rational, logical reasoning process to arrive at a similar design.

You the reader have to be the judge!!


Monday, July 24, 2006


This is coolbert:

In a number of my blog entries, I have quoted extensively from an interview that Amos Oz, the Israeli novelist, did with a man he refers to as "Z". An interview that comprised an entire chapter in the 1982 Oz book,"In The Land of Israel".

An interview that has stirred up and created a lot of controversy since the book was first released. This is way back in 1982.

A lot of folks have inferred that the man called "Z", who is actually not identified, is Ariel Sharon.

I do not believe this to be true.

However, the belief that "Z" is Sharon seems to have a lot of credence on various web sites.

Such as:

The two above web sites most categorically state that the man called "Z" is Sharon. The above two web sites portray "Z" as a Judeo-Nazi, genocidal, militaristic, cruel, even craven and calculating in his malevolency toward all opponents of Israel.

Again, I do not believe that the man being interviewed by Oz was Sharon.

I have reasonably inferred that "Z" was the late Rehavam Zee'vi.

Those particular web sites, and they are abundantly anti-Israeli, extract and reprint only those portions of the interview they wish to display.

[again, only those extracts they wish to reprint.]

They do not include this particular passage:

"What's so terrible about being a civilized people, respectable, with a slight criminal past? It happens in the best of families. And I've already told you that I'm willing to take the criminal record on myself, together with Sharon and Begin and General Eitan.

[This quote taken from the book, "In The Land of Israel", by Amos Oz, First Vintage Books Edition, September 1984.]

"Z" is described as being:

* Living "in a pleasant farmhouse on one of the veteran farming villages"

* About fifty years old.

Such a description could well fit either Zee'vi or Sharon. Sharon did have a "ranch" where he raised cattle. Zee'vi evidently too had some connection to Israeli settler communities, kibbutz or moshav.

Both men in 1982 were about fifty.

Since "Z" mentions "myself, together with Sharon and Begin and General Eitan", I would have to think my inference is pretty right on the money.

In addition, fancy this:

Here is what Oz himself had to say about Sharon:

"Amos Oz - - The Guardian"

"I have never met him personally. I have never been in the same room with him."

Does that clinch it or not??!!

I would even go so far to say that Oz deliberately used the initial "Z" to tell his knowledgeable readers who he was referring to. My assumption.

Reasonably, I feel that "Z" WAS Zee'vi.



Sunday, July 23, 2006


This is coolbert:

"Fight the enemy with weapons you have, but he does not" - - Alexander Suvorov.

This is the Japanese Type 95 "Ha-Go" tank.

Used by the Japanese widely during their Malayan campaign of 1941-42 with great effectiveness.

During the fighting that led to the capture of Singapore and the greatest defeat in the history of British arms, the Japanese had at their disposal two hundred of these tanks.

Tanks, that even by the standards of the time, were INFERIOR.

At yet, played an important part in the defeat of the British.

British doctrine held that tanks could not be used in the jungle. Because of this, at THEIR disposal, the British had ZERO tanks available to THEM in all of Malaya.

[American officers, as I have said before, were of the belief that Vietnam was NOT an American type of war as tanks could not be used in the jungle.]

The Japanese DID NOT EMPLOY their tanks in the jungle. They used them strictly on the road network of the Malay peninsula. To chase the British troops during the retreat of the latter to Singapore.

The Type 95 possessed a very small and weak main gun, only 37 mm. About the same size as most anti-tank guns of the time. And yet, the tank is an OFFENSIVE weapon. When employed en masse', as a group, they can overpower through sheer numbers anti-tank defenses, as the anti-tank gun is a DEFENSIVE weapon.

From Suvorov again:

The anti-tank rocket [anti-tank gun in the case of Singapore and the Type 95 tank] is a defensive weapon - part of a passive system. The tank, on the other hand, is an offensive weapon. Any defensive system involves the dispersal . . . over a wide territory, leaving them stong in some places and weak in others. And it is where they are weak that the tanks will appear, and in enormous concentrations . . . They [tanks] are an offensive weapon and they have the initiative in battle".

Infantry, such as the British, must have been confounded and in consternation when confronted with Japanese tanks [even an inferior variety] for which they did not have a counter. Confidence must have gone hill fast.

Couple this with the quick, easy, and sustained control of the air over Malaya by Japanese warplanes, and the British were sitting ducks.




This is coolbert:

The great Spanish writer Miguel Cervantes did have a military career.

Fought at Lepanto. Was wounded in the hand [did not regain full use of the hand for the rest of his life]. Also fought in other engagements against the "Moors".

"Cervantes went to Rome in the service of Giulio Acquavita. In 1570, he became a soldier, and fought on board a vessel in the battle of Lepanto in 1571. He was shot through the left hand and never after had the entire use of it.

He recovered sufficiently to participate in the naval engagement against the Muslims of Navarino in October 7, 1572. He participated in the capture of Tunis on October 10, 1573 and in the unsuccessful expedition to the relief of La Goletta in the autumn of 1574."

Was also A SLAVE OF THE BARBARY PIRATES FOR FIVE YEARS. Was thought to be a person of some status [at that moment in his life he was not famous], and was finally ransomed for the price of three hundred gold ducats [I guess a princely sum at the time].

"He was held captive for five years, since his family could not afford the overpriced sum, undergoing great suffering, some of which seems to be reflected in the episode of the "Captive" in Don Quixote, and in scenes of the play, El trato de Argel. After four unsuccessful escape attempts, he was ransomed by the Trinitarians, and returned to his family in Madrid in 1580."

It is the most famous work of Cervantes, "Don Quixote", that David Ben Gurion had in mind when he learnt Spanish. Wanted to read the work in the ORIGINAL. Ben Gurion, felt, for whatever reason, that Don Quixote was an essential read for all those wished to understand and exercise statecraft!!

"Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion learned the Spanish language so that he could read it in the original, considering it a prerequisite to becoming an effective statesman."

"This is one reason it has been a favorite of statesmen ranging from the Philippines' José Rizal, to Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India and father of Indira Gandhi, to Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who "laboriously learned Spanish" so he could read Don Quixote in the original. Ben Gurion tried to re-read it once a year, because he considered that all the secrets of statecraft were contained therein."

"the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky called it "the ultimate and most sublime word of human thinking"."

"In a survey conducted in 2002, some of the world's leading writers, representing nearly all continents, from Africa to Australia, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, selected Don Quixote as the world's best work of fiction. "If there is one novel you should read before you die, it is Don Quixote," said the Nigerian-born Ben Okri."

How this is so I am not clear about! Suffice to let it be that it is!

Also suffice to say I have never read Don Quixote!!



This is coolbert:

In his book "Military Intelligence Blunders", the British retired officer Colonel John Hughes-Wilson makes a startling assertion.

An assertion that the casual reader would not probably appreciate.

The assertion is that the attack [on Pearl Harbor] by the Japanese that brought America into World War Two [WW2] was a mere sideshow to further operations by Japanese forces in "southern waters".

A sideshow??!!

How could this be so??!!

After all, the Japanese DID assemble an enormous fleet for the Pearl Harbor operation. A assemblage of aircraft carriers hitherto never seen or ever even contemplated.

A striking force of great power, that was used ruthlessly and without hesitation.

[this was the kido butai!!]

Even the good Colonel questions his own assertion!

"This fact comes as a slightly shocking revelation to many observers. After all, was it not Pearl Harbor that dragged the USA into the Second World War and turned an essentially European quarrel into a global conflict?"

And yet, Hughes-Wilson seems to be right on the money.

[Well, he is a retired military intelligence officer of ability!]

Pearl Harbor was politically important, but militarily NOT as important as those further military operations of the Japanese directed against Malaya, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies.

"Hard though it is to accept, Pearl Harbor was NOT the main Japanese target on 7 December 1941. The merest glance at the balance of Japanese forces deployed in the Pacific during the first week of December 1941 shows that only a fraction of Japanese power was dedicated to neutralizing the US fleet."

The main goal of Japanese forces in the days just after the attack on Pearl harbor was the capture and occupation of territories in "southern waters", mainly Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, for the exploitation of natural resources. Those resources such as rubber, tin, and OIL.

Attacks against the Philippines would be for the purpose of eliminating American forces in the area that had the potentiality to interfere with Japanese efforts in "southern waters". The American garrisons in the Philippines too had to be defeated as a part of successful conquest, occupation, and exploitation.

This emphasis by the Japanese on the "southern operations" was FULLY RECOGNIZED BY ALLIED MILITARY LEADERS IN THE DAYS PRIOR TO PEARL HARBOR!!

[this would include the Americans, British, and Dutch.]

Allied intelligence experts did recognize this threat.

"This was inevitably reflected in the number of messages [radio] intercepted by the American and British [and Dutch too]. The greater part of the traffic [radio] was taken up with events in the South-West Pacific, and Asia, and staff interest in the US fleet at anchorage appeared to be minimal or non-existent.]

"The salient fact about the intelligence disaster at Pearl Harbor is that most of the evidence was hidden by a blizzard of other information at the time. This masking of vital indicator in an overall level of other signals is called "noise" by professional intelligence officers. Quite simply, the clamor of other voices drowned out the Pearl Harbor material."

Furthermore, according to Colonel Hughes-Wilson, and this is germane to 9/11 and WTC too:

"After any surprise attack it is relatively easy to go back over the evidence and pick out he crucial indicators".

Yes!! All that second-guessing done after 9/11 was done by folks that could easily pick out the indications of the attack as they already knew what to look for and what was the significance of what they were looking for.

I recommend this book by Hughes-Wilson highly. Each and every time you read and re-read passages, you pick up on something you had not realized before. Such as what I have just described!

[let me conclude by saying that a lot of folks feel it was a major mistake on the part of the Japanese naval commander Nagumo NOT to have had follow-up attacks on Pearl Harbor. Further attacks would have weakened the U.S. fleet even MORE. Perhaps part of the thinking on the part of Nagumo is that he did not want the kido butai endangered in any manner as it could possibly be needed for more VITAL operations in "southern waters" at a future time. My speculation!]



Friday, July 21, 2006


This is coolbert:

They are talking about some sort of new Israeli weapon on National Public Radio this morning.

A rocket apparently fired from helicopter gunships. Has a devastating effect on lower limbs. The doctors in Gaza have not seen this before. So many amputations required in so short a time. This is a rocket that when explodes goes after legs? Hard to say what it is!

And the news media is most clear about Hezbollah. The "military wing" of Hezbollah is more sophisticated, better trained, more motivated, and better armed than the Lebanese military. Even if the Lebanese army wanted to intervene and stop Hezbollah, they probably could not. Hezbollah represents a very potent state within a state.

Hezbollah IS well prepared for anything the Israeli can throw at them.

Tunnel warfare is being used by Hezbollah for protection from Israeli artillery and airstrikes. Well prepared and numerous fighting complexes guerrilla fighters can emerge from to wreak havoc. NOTHING LESS than a direct hit will get them. Sounds reminiscent of what used to go on in Vietnam.

And Israeli is gun-shy about invading and occupying south Lebanon. Too many bad instances from the eighteen year occupation that ended in the year 2000. Israel DOES NOT want a repetition of what happened before.


Thursday, July 20, 2006


This is coolbert:

Read here about Hezbollah rocket artillery.

This type of military exchange occurring right now between Israeli forces and the Hezbollah happened back in 1996 as well. Hezbollah fires rocket artillery type weapons at Israel and the Israeli fires back with counter-battery radar directed artillery and airstrikes.

In 1996, this was called "The Grapes of Wrath".

"When Prime Minister Shimon Peres launched Operation Grapes of Wrath, the plan was to whip Hizballah into submission by bludgeoning the landscape until Lebanon and Syria cried uncle. Israel's response against Hizballah was a high-tech blitz, targeting specific buildings and vehicles hiding the enemy, while avoiding civilian casualties."

"The 1996 Grapes of Wrath ceasefire accord stated that Hizballah and Israeli troops must not attack civilian targets or use civilians as cover, even while assaulting each other's forces inside Lebanon."

Well, forget about 1996. This is NOW! Escalation.

Read here about Iranian rocket artillery. As I have said, the Iranians have gone for rocket artillery in a big way.

A whole lot of potent stuff. Including and allowing for a chemical capability in some instance. This would be a barrage of rockets all launched at once, saturating the target with chemicals and causing a "big hurt".

Iranian rocket artillery includes:

* Fajr-5 missile, which is launched from a mobile platform, reportedly has a range of between 60-70 kilometers.

* Fajr-3 missile 240-millimeter has a range of some 25 miles

* Shahin I is a HE rocket. [there is a Shahin II.]

* Oghab.

* Noor and Hadid 40 tube 122 mm MRL [multiple rocket launcher].

* Arash version of the 122mm Katyusha MRL.

* Haseb, an Iranian 12 tube 107 mm MRL

This is a formidable capability. Israel proper is threatened in a manner that Arab airforces and artillery WERE NOT able to threaten in the past.

There is a counter to all this rocket artillery??

Read too about the high energy laser system THEL, a cooperative venture between the U.S. and Israel. A battlefield laser designed to DEFEAT rocket artillery. The Nautilus. First developed as a counter to rocket artillery in the late 1990's, and fielded [??] in the early part of this current decade??

"THEL tests during 2000 and 2001, which focused on the threat of rockets, proved highly successful, intercepting and destroying 25 Katyusha rockets."

Lasers used in this manner have up to now been strictly within the realm of science-fiction.

Will this Nautilus work and will it be deployed and will it be successful?? Maybe it already has??


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This is coolbert:

Read here the entire story of the Chinese designed anti-ship missile that struck an Israeli warship operating off the coast of Lebanon. Did some significant damage, with four Israeli sailors missing. Evidently this is a Chinese missile built in Iran and operated by Iranian Revolutionary Guards fighting along side the forces of Hezbollah.

Two missiles were fired, one striking the Israeli vessel, another striking a cargo vessel much further out at sea??

See here for another blog that contains a full run-down on the Chinese anti-ship missile.

This [the missile attack] IS, combined with the rocket artillery attacks upon Israeli cities, a significant escalation by the Hezbollah and Iranian forces in the low intensity war they have been waging against Israel. Where Israel was once impervious to such actions, they no longer are. This is realized, it seems, now, by a lot of folks.


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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Military Man? II

This is coolbert: .

The Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is not a person someone could ever regard as a military man. But did influence the military of the Bolshevik regime in a very big way. An influence which lasted for a long time, perhaps until the very end of communism in the old Soviet Union [70 years].

As with David Ben Gurion, Trotsky [real name Lev Davidovich Bronstein] was not a stereotypical military man.

Did not ever serve in the military of any nation per se, in any capacity.

Was NOT physically imposing, and surely did not possess charisma or bearing as would be normally found in the traditional military leader.

Was an intellectual, a long time Bolshevik revolutionary, and a confident of Lenin.

Still, in the period after the successful revolution that led to the Bolshevik regime gaining power in Russia, DID have an inordinate influence on the course of the military in what became the Soviet Union.

Trotsky was keenly aware, that after gaining power, the Bolsheviks must first consoldate their power, and then defend it against all comers. Merely gaining control was not good enough. Control of political power had be maintained, and maintained through FORCE!

There were many factions contending for power, autonomy, or seeking to displace the Bolsheviks during the period directly following the end of World War One [WW1]. Threats to "red" rule.

Among the contenders were:

* The German Army in the latter days of WW1.

"the new Russian (Bolshevik) government made peace with Germany at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ratified on March 6 1918. This negotiated peace was the only option because the Russian army was in a chaotic and undisciplined state when the Germans advanced in February 1918, although the old Russian army had been re-organized in January into the "'Workers' and Peasants' 'Red Army'".

* White Guards. Russian forces opposed to the Bolsheviks.

* Communist dissidents. [Kronstadt rebellion]

* Czechs, Poles, Cossacks.

* Nationalist "Asians".

* Social Revolutionaries.

* Nationalists and anarchists, such as the "Greens" and the "Blacks" respectively.

* "Basmachi" [bandits of Central Asia].


* Foreign interventionist forces. The militaries of England, France, the United States, and Canada.

To combat such an array of opponents, the Bolsheviks had to rely upon a military force that was counter to the precepts which had had followed in the past. A violation of basic Bolshevik precepts that caused consternation among the loyal "red "rank and file.

This at the insistence and perseverance primarily of Trotsky

The Bolsheviks had seized power by relying upon small, proletariat fighting groups. Small bands of heavily armed and determined communists, politically reliable and fanatical, who seized control of power bases when they could.

Trotsky quickly realized that such "fighting groups" could not possibly ward off, defend against, and emerge victorious, when faced with widespread and massive rebellion as the communist faced. Trotsky understood that the "old ways" would no longer suffice.

"That we could no longer fight was perfectly clear to me and that the newly formed Red Guard and Red Army detachments were too small and poorly trained to resist the Germans." [Trotsky]

"The German side resumed military operations on February 18. Within a day, it became clear that the German army was capable of conducting offensive operations and that Red Army detachments, which were relatively small, poorly organized and poorly led, were no match for it."

A enormous conscript army had to be created mostly from scratch, organized, and led into battle by a group of professional, trained, experienced officers.

Such a cadre of professional, trained, experienced officers was lacking.

Conscripts could be had by the millions, but they would not and could not win with mere revolutionary Bolsheviks at the helm.

A solution had to be found. And was.

"Following their poor display against the Germans, the Red Army re-reorganised under the new Supreme Military Council, headed by Leon Trotsky. The many units were homogenized and former army officers were brought back into the army as "military specialists". In May 1918, compulsory conscription was reintroduced because the number of soldiers was only 450,000. In July, army commanders were purged, with the purpose not of introducing Communists but of bringing back experienced military officers from the pre-revolution period. In September Trotsky was appointed head of a new Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, with wide-ranging powers."

About 20,000 former Czarist military officers were let into the Red Army as commanders. Soldiers from the old regime of the "pre-revolutionary period".

This again, was done at the insistence of Trotsky.

This was extreme heresy to the dedicated Bolshevik rank and file. All the old ways of the Czarist government were being re-introduced. This did cause a lot of dissidence and consternation within Bolshevik ranks. Trotsky was reviled and had an enormous amount of hatred directed at him. But the decision of Trotsky to follow this path was agreed upon by Lenin as the only course possible.

"They [the hard-core Bolsheviks] believed that the Red Army should consist only of dedicated revolutionaries, rely on propaganda as well as on force, and have elected officers. They viewed former imperial officers and generals as potential traitors who should be kept out of the new military, much less put in charge of it."

But was an effective plan. Proved to be successful. ONE by ONE, the various rebellions, uprisings, and challenges to Soviet power were defeated. Even the foreign interventionists had to flee.

[one prominent exception to Soviet rule was the victory of the Poles that created a free and independent Poland from what had been Czarist territory. This is the "Miracle on the Vistula!!"]

Trotsky was also a determined and harsh taskmaster:

"Facing military defeats in mid-1918, Trotsky introduced increasingly severe penalties for desertion, insubordination, and retreat. He organized the formation of the infamous "blocking units", special squads stationed behind the front-line troops, whose role it was to summarily gun down all soldiers suspected of desertion and unauthorized retreat."

[those who have seen the movie, "Enemy at the Gates" will remember the use of such "blocking units" at the start of the movie. This of course from World War Two!]

Trotsky was vindicated. His policies set into motion the reliance upon military power to maintain Soviet rule and to expand where and when possible. Trotsky saw HIS Soviet Red Army as being the vanguard of world-wide revolution. His idea did not manifest itself on a world-wide scale, but did pose a threat to the "free world" for a period of almost seventy years thereafter!!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Military Man? I.

This is coolbert:

One person that has had a marked influence on military thought in the latter half of the Twentieth Century was David Ben Gurion.

NOT a man that is thought of as being a military man.

Rather the opposite.

Was a physically unassuming man. Small in stature and lacking what most folks would refer to as military bearing.

Did serve in the British Army during World War One, but as an enlisted man, of no special talents or abilities.

Was from his earliest years an ardent Zionist. A lawyer by training, emigrated to Palestine in the early part of the 20th Century, doing manual labor of the most menial type. Was an intellectual and ascetic.

Active in the Zionist movement along with other like minded persons. Came to some definite conclusions regarding the course of Zionism. Like others, realized that for the Jews to establish a nation/state in what was a part of the Ottoman Empire, war and military conquest on the part of the Jews would be required.



[Ben Gurion at some time prior to WW1, predicted "a one hundred year war between the Arab and the Jew."]

This did present a dilemma for the Jews worldwide. They had not had for almost 2000 years, any military tradition or experience as a group at war.

Ben Gurion and other Zionists came to the conclusion that the Jewish mind-set had been warped. The "ghetto Jew" was a poor example of a man. Always existing at the mercy of his tormentors, always taking it on the chin, not capable of self-defense. Weak people.

This all had to be changed for the Jews to gain a nation/state.

[Ben Gurion and the Zionists wanted to "make" a fighting Jew. Succeeded all too well in the persona of Ariel Sharon.]

WW1 offered world-Jewry a chance to gain military experience.

Ben Gurion and other Zionists lobbied the British government to form a "Jewish Legion". A military unit comprised of Jews, fighting on the side of the British. Fighting in the Middle East against the Turk. A "Legion" that would allow the Jews to gain military experience. Learn how to fight, how to command, how to organize, etc.

This lobbying was successful. A "Jewish Legion" was formed and performed it's duties with distinction. Fought at Gallipoli and in the Middle Eastern campaigns of Allenby. Was more a transport mule corps than anything else. But did see action. Allowed the participants to gain military experience.

Ben Gurion was thirty years old when he enlisted as a private. Served with honor. Admirable. A man who would put his body where his mouth was.

Indeed, many of the foremost Zionists of the time did enlist in the Jewish Legion. Also persons willing to put their bodies where their mouths were.

[indeed, those Zionists, colloquially, were NOT a bunch of "pussies"!!]

In the years after the war, Ben Gurion continued to immerse himself in the study of war. As an intellectual would. Even is reputed to have learned Spanish solely for the purpose of reading Cervantes. Many of the works of Cervantes [I am not sure what ones, Cervantes was such a prolific writer], dealt with war and statecraft. Reading Cervantes, Ben Gurion felt, would enrich his mind regarding all things military.

In the years just prior to World War Two, Ben Gurion, now among the leadership of the Zionists, was involved in the organization of such Jewish fighting groups as the Haganah, Palmach, Special Night Squads. Was gratified to see that concepts such as the Special Night Squads were approved of by serving British officers such as Orde Wingate.

[Wingate was held, as I have said many times before, in high esteem by the Zionists. Ben Gurion in his memoirs stated that if Wingate had survived WW2, Ben Gurion would have offered the COMMAND OF THE ISRAELI ARMY TO WINGATE!!!]

[others are less kindly toward Wingate. Montgomery of El Alamein is reputed to have said of Wingate, "been mentally unbalanced and that the best thing he ever did was to get killed in a plane crash in 1944"]

In the aftermath of the formation of the Jewish state in 1948, Ben Gurion was a long time Prime Minister AND Defense Minister both. Established a tradition on one man holding both positions, such was the importance of the military to Israel.

Appointed vigorous men to high positions that he approved of. Officers such as Moshe Dayan. While being a socialist, Ben Gurion disapproved of some elements of Israeli society who wanted a "red" type of military. A military drawing on "leftist" virtues. Ben Gurion wanted and got a military developed along British lines.

Ben Gurion, by his creation of retaliatory units such as Unit 101, established the tenor of the Israeli military for decades to come, even to present time. An aggressive, offensive minded military using spirited action [elan'], technology, and a cogent strategy for dealing with the Arab armies.

I think it is safe to say that you cannot overestimate the world-wide role the Israeli military has played in the second half of the twentieth century!! At least in the minds of military thinkers in the western world. Israeli military thinkers have had an influence all out of proportion to the size of their nation or population.

An influence due in great measure to the efforts of Ben Gurion. He started what others have continued.



Gonen II.

This is coolbert:



Another comment has been made with regard to the conflict in the 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadan war between Sharon and Gonen:

"Based on the previous post & w/o checking, I assumed General Gonen was sound, of average ability and performance, willing to strike hard, keep striking and not be dilatory, with a difficult brilliant subordinate. That Ariel Sharon preceded him at Southern Command or that the Peter principle might apply didn't occur to me. If anything, General Gonen should have been taken away from troops faster. I was wrong."

"General Gonen should have been taken away from troops faster"

I think that it is safe to say that this will be a point of contention as long as the subject is debated.

Gonen was in all probability a sound commander at lower echelons who DID find himself over his head at higher levels of command. In the first most crucial days of the 1973 war, through no fault of his own, he WAS a victim of the "fog of war". He had to make decisions based upon faulty and imprecise intelligence and appreciations of the situation.


Dayan and Sharon had for the period of twenty years prior to 1973, a close working relationship and a combat style that was similar. That is one reason Dayan placed Sharon in charge of Unit 101 in the first place.

Sharon advocated the "tank charge" and crossing of the canal at a time when SUCH A MOVE WOULD HAVE BEEN TOO RISKY GIVEN THE EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES AT THE TIME. This must have been the thoughts of Gonen. Dayan saw Sharon as being a "can-do" man and did not think of Gonen in the same manner.

Having had Sharon as HIS PREVIOUS COMMANDER IN SOUTHERN COMMAND MUST NOT have helped matters at all either for Gonen. Such a relationship too COULD NOT HAVE BEEN helpful or desirable. But did exist. To the detriment of Gonen.

Gonen for no other reason should have been relieved as his own PERSONAL CONFIDENCE HAD TO HAVE GONE DOWNFALL IN A VERY ADVERSE WAY, AND FAST TOO!! His command ability was forever damaged.



Monday, July 17, 2006

Gonen I.

This is coolbert:


A person commenting on the blog entry about the insurbordinate character of Sharon has written:

"but there is no reason to believe General Gonen was the second coming of Henry Halleck or G.K. Warren. Civilian authority must sustain the judgment of the army commander on the spot or relieve him."

We are speaking here about General Shmuel Gonen. Commander of the Israeli Southern Command during the 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadan war. Commanded the Israeli forces opposite the Egyptians.

[known by the affectionate [??] diminutive of "Gorodish". It seems that most if not all Israeli Generals are known among themselves by some diminutive.] Such as:

Sharon ["Arik"].

Adan ["Bren"].

Mandler [killed in the 1973 war.] ["Albert"].

Tal ["Talik"].

Gonen was the superior officer that General Sharon was reputedly insubordinate to.

It seems that the person of Gonen is very complex. Gonen was NOT a man easily pigeonholed.

As for the plus:

* Fought in four wars for Israel [1948, 1956, 1967, 1973].

* A man of obvious physical courage.

"He served in the Haganah at fourteen, and participated in the battles over Jerusalem in Israel's War of Independence, being wounded five times."

* A man who was an excellent tank commander.

"He was later charged with overseeing the integration of the new Centurion tank into the IDF, and later commanded the first battalion composed of these tanks".

* A man who excelled as a small unit commander, battalion and brigade commander.

* Commanded with distinction the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade in the 1967 war.

[the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade has the reputation as the BEST unit in the Israeli Army for it's size!!]

* Was a strict disciplinarian. Perhaps too much so.

"Throughout his army years, Gonen was not well-liked by his subordinates, who viewed his methods as unjust and Draconian."

* Studied and fought under the great Israeli tank commander, Israel Tal.

Also a man that:

* Did not excel when commanding units in greater size than brigade.

[this is similar to the situation of General John Bell Hood of the CSA. During the American Civil War, Hood was an excellent divisional commander, but a very poor army commander, presiding over the worst Confederate defeat of the war, Franklin!!]

"In March, 1968, Gonen oversaw the failed offensive against the village of Karameh in Jordan , where Yasser Arafat and the PLO had their base."

[this was an above divisional level operation of the Israeli Army.]

* Was felt to be derelict in his duties during the 1973 War.

"He failed to fulfill his duties adequately, and bears much of the responsibility for the dangerous situation in which our troops were caught."

[that particular wiki I am quoting from is incorrect about Bar Lev. Did NOT replace Gonen as commander of the Southern Command. Bar Lev was an "advisor" from the Prime Minister [Meir] who approved and seconded the decisions of Gonen. Gonen could not make any decisions without first getting the approval of Bar Lev.]

* A man who felt betrayed. So much so that he contemplated murder and suicide in response.

"Gonen believed Dayan to be responsible for his disgrace and would tell reporters that he had considered walking into Dayan's office and shooting him."

"his personal assistant, Amir Porat, revealed that Gonen considered assassinating Moshe Dayan after the war, and that he lived in fear that he would somehow 'disappear.'"

[Read here what one person has to say about Gonen and the belief that Gonen was suicidal and bore a huge grudge in the aftermath of the 1973 war.]

"On the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Israeli newspapers are full of revelations about it. Among them is the disclosure that I saved the life of Moshe Dayan . . . it appears to be true . . . This man, who practically overnight had fallen from the height of glory (as one of the heroes of the 1967 Six Day War) to the depths of ignominy, was in despair. He blamed Dayan for the injustice done to him. In the end he made an appointment with him, planning to shoot him and then himself . . . I talked with him at length. During the whole conversation he toyed with his pistol . . . Therefore I promised to help him getting his side of the story across. He saw that the whole world was not closed to him."

Whoa boy!!!

In his later years [Gonen died a premature death in 1991 at the age of 61] prospected for diamonds in Africa. Probably trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his countrymen.

"left for Africa, where he embarked on various business ventures. He never returned to Israel."

[Israel does have a very large and prosperous diamond cutting and faceting industry. Gonen did desire to redeem himself by striking it rich and making deals for the Israeli diamond industry.]

Gonen has even been portrayed in a sympathetic manner on the stage.

"His tragic life story was the subject of a play, "Gorodish", by Israeli author Hillel Mittelpunkt."

Did not achieve his redemption! Will forever be seen as a "weak sister" when compared to Sharon. Did his life end in tragedy? I think so! Undeservedly so? The jury is out still, at least in my mind!



Rocket Artillery.

This is coolbert:

The newspaper accounts say that the bombardment of Israeli cities, including Haifa, is being done by the Fadjr-3 rocket.

Hezbollah evidently has a whole arsenal of Iranian manufactured rockets and missiles. An arsenal that gives the Hezbollah the capability to range and fire at Israeli cities at will.

Even almost the length and breadth of all of Israel.

This is unheard of for an organization described as "terrorists". Hezbollah comprises a state within a state. Lebanese central government forces cannot restrain Hezbollah them from attacking Israel. Incapable from a "will" standpoint, and a capability standpoint both.

It seems that Iran has taken to rocket artillery in a BIG way. Manufacturing locally copies or improved versions of copies from the former Soviet Union or other communist countries, namely China and North Korea.

Rocket artillery is a cheap and dirty way to saturate an area target with firepower. A poor man's way of doing without artillery or airpower and yet achieving results.

First used by the Germans in World War Two [Nebelwerfer]. Then by the Soviets [Katyushas].

[some may suggest the British Congreve rocket artillery used by the army of Wellington was the first rocket artillery. Others may suggest the British just copied the rockets fired at them by the Indian army of Sultan Tipu as being the first rocket artillery!!]

"A military tactic developed by Tipu Sultan and his father, Hyder Ali, was the use of mass attacks with rocket brigades on infantry formations. Tipu wrote a military manual called Fathul Mujahidin in which 200 rocket men were prescribed to each Mysorean 'cushoon'. (Mysore had 16 to 24 cushoons of infantry)."

An entire battalion of rocket artillery, consisting of eighteen firing units, each having a forty round capacity, firing en masse, can obliterate an entire grid square [1000 meters square] in seconds!! Impressive.

These units are mobile, and can be displaced quickly for further use.

But, are also very susceptible to counter-fire. Rocket artillery gives off a lot of trailing smoke that gives away the position of the firing units. And of course the location can be very quickly determined by counter-battery/counter-mortar radar.

Israel will have a real problem with these rocket firing units in a prolonged conflict.


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Sunday, July 16, 2006


This is coolbert.

In his book, "Elusive Victory", Dupuy mentions at length the insubordinate nature of Ariel Sharon.

Sharon, now in a coma, is probably the most recognized and best known Israeli of his generation. A military man who had a distinguished and controversial career as a soldier. Followed by a distinguished and controversial career as a politician.

Sharon's insubordinate nature was most apparent during the 1973 war between the Arabs states and Israel. Sharon commanded a division in that war and was a subordinate to General Gonen, the commander of Israeli Southern Command. The Israeli command opposite Egypt.

Repeatedly, during the campaign to stem the Egyptian advance and then in the counter-attack and crossing of the Suez Canal by Israeli forces, Sharon went over the head of his direct superior, Gonen, and appealed to the Defense Minister [Dayan], and various General officers of the Israeli General Staff. Made his case for action counter to the orders of Gonen. And did so repeatedly!!

Consider these comments of De Puy:

[talking here about the 1973 war and the attempt of Sharon to cross the Suez Canal in a preemptory manner.]

"Sharon's zone . . . was less busy . . . he was able to send his reconnaissance battalion on a maneuver . . . without encountering any serious resistance . . . appealed to General Gonen to permit him to make a crossing . . . Gonen, annoyed that Sharon had attacked against his orders, preemptorily refused, and ordered Sharon to withdraw . . . Sharon simply radio directly to Tel Aviv, where an old friend and former subordinate . . . was Deputy Chief of the Operations Division . . . and asked him to get Major General Israel Tal to persuade either General Elazar or Defense Minister Dayan to authorize the crossing . . . . when Gonen realized what had happened he was furious at Sharon. First it seemed to him to be unpardonable that a subordinate would bypass him and seek to have his order countermanded by higher authority. Even worse was the fact that Sharon had deliberately disobeyed his order"

"After the war, Gonen confided to his friends that he had been unable to control Sharon, and that Bar Lev had been sent down for the single purpose of exercising the control over that general that he, Gonen was incapable of exercising."

[I could go on and on with such typical comments and observations regarding the insubordinate nature of Sharon during the 1973 war. I have confined my blog to strictly this few!]


For Sharon to be in direct contact [and going over the head of his direct superior as well!!] with the highest command levels of the Israeli military and the civilian leadership was not unusual. Sharon WAS IN THE HABIT OF DOING SO! That a distinguished a military historian such as De Puy did not seem to be aware of this is unusual!

Sharon had developed this familiarity with high levels of command from the earliest stages of his military career. From while he served as commander of the Israeli Unit 101.

[Unit 101 was named such in honor of the U.S. 101st Airborne division.]

An Israeli ranger/commando/special operations unit.

"Unit 101 was set up on 30 July 1953 and Ariel Sharon was chosen as its commander. In Israel's Border Wars, Israeli historian Benny Morris describes the killer squad: "The new recruits began a harsh regimen of day and night training, their orientation and navigation exercises often taking them across the border; encounters with enemy patrols or village watchmen were regarded as the best preparation for the missions that lay ahead. Some commanders, such as Baum and Sharon, deliberately sought firefights. Unit 101 recruits went on forced marches and did calisthenics, judo, and weapons and sabotage training, at their base camp at Sataf, an abandoned Arab village just west of Jerusalem."

[this training has the type of tenor that has typified all elite Israeli military forces even before the inception of Israel. The type of units and training and operations as espoused by Orde Wingate!!]

Created for the purpose of:

* Counter-guerilla/counter-terrorist/special operations.

* Cross-border raids. [against Arab neighbors of Israel].

* Punitive expeditions. [punish Arabs for attacking Israel.]

Organized in response to Arab fedayeen attacks on Israel.

Organized at the behest of the Prime Minister/Defense Minister, David Ben Gurion, and the Chief of Staff, Moshe Dayan.

As commander of Unit 101, Ariel Sharon, as a very junior commander, had a direct line to both Ben Gurion and Dayan.

Operations of Unit 101 had to be approved in advance by the highest level of command authority in Israel. Sharon was accustomed to dealing with levels of command that a junior officer would almost NEVER deal with. NOT only dealt with, but gave advice and consulted with in a manner unheard of in any other military in the world, period. Sharon was a man with his finger in decisions of the greatest portent. And this from a very junior officer!!

Sharon, from the earliest point in his career, was given extraordinary leeway and almost carte blanche authority to perform his missions as he saw fit. And DID so too. Sharon is seen as a man possessing elan'. Spirited action. A man who employs measured audacity while in command.

To go over the heads of his direct superiors and appeal to the highest levels of command authority was NOT unusual for Sharon. On the contrary, it was standard practice for the man!!

Persons in the command authority of Israel have ALWAYS listened to and heeded the military advice of Sharon. A lot of familiar adages and sayings apply in the case of Sharon. Such as:

* "A good plan now is better than a perfect plan tomorrow." [don't dither.]

* "He who dares, wins!!" [motto of the British SAS.]

* "Make the enemy bleed, make him keep his head down, make him wonder where YOU are coming from!!" [attributed to General Patton.]

* "Offensive action is necessary to win at war!!"

Keep in mind also that the fighting style of Sharon is in consonance with the doctrine of the Israeli military eve since it's inception. This doctrine places great emphasis upon:

* Carrying the war to the enemy. Fighting the war on the territory of the enemy.

* Quick decisive action leading to victory and a cessation of hostilities. Wars fought by Israel MUST BE over relatively quickly. Israel cannot fight a war of prolonged attrition. Commanders who exercise restraint and exhibit cautious behavior are NOT wanted. Commanders who "make" things happen, even if displaying an overly aggressive style, are desired and appreciated.

The advice of Sharon WAS listened to by those of the highest command echelons in Israel. Even if Sharon WAS wrong, and you can make a case that in some instances he was, Sharon is the type of commander that those in Israeli HIGH POLITICAL OFFICE are fond of!!

Israel has had a military that has ALWAYS combined unconventional military tactics with the conventional. As a prior practitioner of both, Sharon, in 1973, pushed everything to the limit. NOT necessarily desired in a conventional commander, but then Sharon in his lifetime WAS ANYTHING BUT A CONVENTIONAL COMMANDER!!