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Re: <nettime> IDF reading Deleuze and Guattari (and Debord)
Keith Sanborn on Sun, 20 Aug 2006 16:54:25 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> IDF reading Deleuze and Guattari (and Debord)


A short response:

1. It's interesting the military is finding its inspiration in 
ubanist theory which dates from the 1950s in the case of Debord and 
the Situationists. In the case of Deleuze and Guattari, the work 
dates from the 1960s and 70s. Not exactly today's cultural 
avant-garde, even if an inspiration for it.

2. While the refusal of conventional architectural space--door, 
windows, passages, stairways--in favor of unexpected penetrations of 
walls, does have a terrorizing effect which can not doubt procure 
psychological advantages for those carrying it out, it represents an 
elaborate admission-couched in theory which is at a minimum decades 
old-that the war effort being carried out by the Israeli military is 
a massive attempt to level a culture, so that not one stone shall be 
left on top of another. A time honored tactic in the local Hittite 
tradition, rather than the more distant French one.

3. It's not about surprising and intimidating the "bad guys" in their 
hiding places, it's about carrying forward a war of extermination: 
the Israeli military's goal was essentially to destroy infrastructure 
in their recent campaign; the inhabitants of the territory who died, 
were of less importance to them. They are attempting to make the 
space of the Palestinians, and those who sympathize with them in the 
immediate vicinity uninhabitable. In this they achieved notable 
"success." It is a "cautionary" narrative: pour encourager les autres.

4. The UN Troops were not "in the wrong place and the wrong time" 
because the goal was to destroy the place, hence the direct hits on 
UN Troops, in spite of repeated advisings of their positions to the 
Israeli Military. The information was not ignored, it was irrelevant 
to the Israeli mission.

5. Random media reports from the field carried nothing of a sense of 
an Israeli soldier, reinvigorated by radical theory. The ones I heard 
carried the profound sense of disorientation typical of the 
conventional soldier used in urban terrain. The disorientation effect 
may have backfired.

6. Hezbollah is no longer conceived of either in Israel or Lebanon as 
a "terrorist organization" in the old sense but a space which resists 
Israeli penetration. The two Israel soldiers, whose capture were used 
to justify the Israeli attack, were captured by Hezbollah-not 
kidnapped-inside Lebanon, or shall we say inside Hezbollah space. The 
use of this as a justification for the brutalization of the Lebanese 
victims by the Israeli military is part and parcel of their repeated 
violations of Lebanese air space: we can come and go as we please, 
penetrate your most private space, terrorize you. It is a pattern 
more nearly based on the tactics of gangsterism, or domestic violence 
than on radical French theory, whatever its intellectual veneer. In 
the "he started it" scenario, it is at best a grotesquely amplified 
mirroring back of the rockets which occasionally but symbolically 
send Israeli settlers scurrying to their bomb shelters. But instead 
of sending people underground, it brings their houses down.

7. Interestingly, Hezbollah, who clearly understood that the Iraeli 
attacks on Lebanon were primarily directed against infrastructure as 
an act of extermination, has moved quickly, according to us media 
reports, NPR for example, to offer architectural and engineering help 
as well as financial support for those affected by the Israeli 
attacks. Labelling Hezbollah a "terrorist" organization is certainly 
either a deliberate misrepresentation of its activities or a feeble 
misunderstanding of them.

8. The Israeli version of "swarming" has less to do with "tactical 
media" than the 1968 strategy suggested by US General Westmoreland: 
bombing Vietnam "back to the stone age." This is the same one applied 
in Iraq by the US. Architecture comes in the back door in Iraq in 
cynical corporate form: boondoggle, no-bid contracts, which, 
according to the US Government's own recent reports, are failing 
because of grotesque mismanagement as well as "security issues."

9. Even if IDF tactics are not credible as a recuperation of 
decades-old French theory, we should remember the old Situationist 
dictum: those who make revolution half-way, are only digging their 
own graves.

Keith Sanborn


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