Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Video is Worth a Million Words

Thanks to East West Plus for the tip. This video comes from Gaza.

Watching the video illustrates so many elements of the situation. I picked out four right away.

1. This isn't the varsity team. Running around in the middle of the street isn't exactly the apex of modern urban warfare tactics. There was no appreciable command and control or hierarchy. That means you've got to get them all. With no one in charge, there's no discipline and no discipline means that any surrender or peace treaty is worthless. How do you enforce a peace treaty when your organization looks like this?

2. No uniforms. There's a subsection of the video where a guy in a plaid shirt with an automatic weapon runs past the camera. What kind of APB do you put out? "Be on the lookout for a man in a plaid shirt and jeans. He is armed and dangerous." Every civilian fits the description of someone who has shot at the Israelis. Weeding them out in the middle of a firefight is impossible.

3. The UN soldiers might as well have targets on their heads instead of blue helmets. Their ambulances are troop carriers. It's war. You blow up troop carriers.

4. The place is a mess and there seems to be no lack of able-bodied men around. Here's a broom. Here's a trashcan. You can run around in the streets with your friends shooting your gun when the place is clean and the per capita income is more than $4000. And no backtalk, young man! Seriously, if they don't care that their country gets blown into rubble, why should we? Update: Someone on a discussion board disagreed with this last analysis, but misunderstood it. I'm not saying they should be cleaning up during the fighting, I'm saying they should work on improving their country instead of fighting. They're bringing all of this on themselves.

The video a cornucopia of information. Watching it for the third time, I was struck by a sense that to the young men with the guns, it was exciting and exhilirating, like a for-real paintball game. I tried to imagine myself at that age and there. It would be nearly impossible to resist the allure of it. The romantic struggle against the Zionist enemy, running around the streets at night with my friends, shooting real guns in the air, launching a rocket from time to time and listening to my elders egg me on.

How do you stop that? How does one incuclate responsiblity and a desire for productive work in a population of nihilistic teenagers? It's like a Nirvana concert where the audience goes home to no adults.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Fantatatic post. I especially liked the "It's like a Nirvana concert where the audience goes home to no adults" analogy.