The Beltway, quasi-government think-tank of warmongerers provides a sick glimpse into the craniums of how governments approach war.
The U.S. should use diverse tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan that best minimize its own casualties, no matter that these operations greatly raise civilian casualties, as Israel learned from its 2006 invasion of Lebanon and executed in the 2008-09 Gaza Massacre, one of the most influential think-tanks on global policy reports to the U.S. Army.
In “Military Capabilities for Hybrid War: Insights from the Israel Defense Forces in Lebanon and Gaza” [.pdf], a report published by the RAND Corporation, “insights to broaden the understanding of the capabilities needed to prevail against more sophisticated hybrid opponents” is derived from Israel’s U.S.-backed massacres. The 2010 study was sponsored by the U.S. Army, in part with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff and G-8 Headquarters. The report “examines the experience of the Israel Defense Forces (I.D.F.)” in Lebanon and Gaza.
The 2006 invasion of Lebanon ended with nearly 1,200 Lebanese casualties not belonging to Hizbollah—only 37 identified as soldiers or police officers—and 44 Israeli civilians. Reports, unanimously show evidence of crimes against humanity.
The Gaza Massacre began less than two months after Israel broke a four-month ceasefire between it and Hamas. While Americans and the rest of the world were anointing so-called “change” to lead the world, Israel Defence Forces (I.D.F.) raided Gaza in the middle of the night, killing six Hamas forces. A fact-finding mission endorsed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, known as the Goldstone Report, found the Israeli government and Hamas committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. The so-called “conflict” resulted in over 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths, the ‘wanton destruction‘ of almost 40,000 Gazan homes and left tens of thousands homeless. Of the nearly 1,200 dead non-combatants, hundreds were children.
According to the study, in Gaza, the I.D.F. ” focused” on “using targeted assassinations (including air strikes) to ‘mow the grass,'”—what interviewed I.D.F. soldiers called the raining death in 2008—“and raids against high-value targets, all enabled by close coordination with Israeli security services.” These tactics are valuable because:
This approach [“attack by fires (principally air strikes)] also seemed to promise lower I.D.F. casualties (a major domestic political consideration), less collateral damage (a key consideration for managing international and regional opinion), and budgetary savings.
There is no mention in the study to how spontaneous death from above and massive home invasion by these government thugs “humiliate” and “terrorize” the population, as the Goldstone Report assessed, because that is not a cost relevant to calculate for the U.S. Army. This is not “collateral damage” to the researchers because it doesn’t enhance soldier casualties or raise monetary costs.
More disturbing is how RAND describes the Gaza Massacre in portraying the I.D.F. as God in the Book of Revelations:
The flat, relatively open terrain in Gaza facilitated a rapid ground advance to isolate Gaza City and sever the lines of communication from the Egyptian border…. Furthermore, Hamas is not as capable an opponent as Hezbollah, neither in its training and discipline nor its weaponry. Hezbollah defended its positions; Hamas frequently retreated. Hezbollah had advanced A.T.G.M.’s [anti-tank Guided Missiles] and used them to good effect; Hamas seems not to have had many and used few, if any, relying mainly on small arms, [rocket-propelled grenades], mortars, rockets, I.E.D.’s [improvised explosive devices], and mines.
This is displayed by encouraging the highly advanced military power “mow the grass” by “paving the way with fires” to clear the way for the big boys on the block against rag-tag bunches who retreat because they’re incapable of fighting back:
The Israelis also relied heavily on combat engineers and on artillery- and air-delivered fires to neutralize mines and I.E.D.’s on their approach routes (“paving the way with fires”). Furthermore, unlike in Lebanon in 2006, maneuver brigade commanders had air assets (attack helicopters and [drones]) and artillery units in direct support of their operations. By all reports, these fires were highly responsive and effective.
The overall lesson, RAND says the U.S. should take is that because civilian deaths are inevitable by nature of choosing to battle unsophisticated, non-state-sanctioned militants among the helpless in their homeland:
Precision, standoff fires are critical, but not sufficient, to cope with hybrid warfare opponents, particularly if they are operating “among the people.”…
Heavy forces—based on tanks and infantry fighting vehicles—are key elements of any force that will fight hybrid enemies that have a modicum of training, organization, and advanced weapons (e.g., A.T.G.M.’s and [surface-to-air weaponery]). Light and medium forces can complement heavy forces, particularly in urban and other complex terrain, but they do not provide the survivability, lethality, or mobility inherent in heavy forces. Quite simply, heavy forces reduce operational risks and minimize friendly casualties.
Indiscriminately rain death from drones before invading with full force to avoid “friendly casualties”—meaning minimize U.S. casualties, disregarding the deaths of natives because those are inevitable anyway. This is the cheapest way Israel ‘increased deterrence’ and inflicted submission.
This is how the mind of the Corporate War Party works: externalize the social costs of terrorizing civilian populations and tell everyone you’re using a ‘winning’ strategy. There’s no mention in the study about international humanitarian law, U.S. law or blowback.
This is what the strategy framers are reading as the Obama Administration escalates air strikes and night raids on the way into another large-scale offensive in the Afghan province of Kandahar.