Time for a Spot of Fractal Maneuver
Okay a great tidal wave of opinion, by which I mean one person, has demanded a post on the contribution of high theory to the Israeli military. I never resist surges of opinion; I splash about in them like a happy little child playing in the surf. By which I mean, that is quite an intriguing piece, isn’t it.
The Israeli Defence Forces have been heavily influenced by contemporary philosophy, highlighting the fact that there is considerable overlap among theoretical texts deemed essential by military academies and architectural schools.
Oh, that fact. Well, one can see that both military academies and architectural schools have a genuine and keen interest in the subject of buildings – but one can also see that it’s a fundamentally different kind of interest. One is up the other is down; one is together the other is fissile; one is assemblative the other is disassemblative; one knits the other unknits; one constructs the other – okay you get it. But anyway it appears that there is more to all this than the theoretical and practical differences between piling bricks on top of one another and knocking them all to the ground.
…the reading lists of contemporary military institutions include works from around 1968 (with a special emphasis on the writings of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Guy Debord), as well as more contemporary writings on urbanism, psychology, cybernetics, post-colonial and post-Structuralist theory. If, as some writers claim, the space for criticality has withered away in late 20th-century capitalist culture, it seems now to have found a place to flourish in the military.
Oh dear – has the space for criticality withered away? The way the state was supposed to but didn’t so much? I didn’t know that. Here I’ve been dancing around in my little space for criticality (as well as nagicality and mockicality and derisionicality) in blissful ignorance, unaware of the walls creeping ever closer. But that’s how it goes, innit – late coughcough capitalist culture makes the space for criticality wither away the way it always does, the pesky thing, but happily the military comes along and saves it and gives it a place (or a space) to flourish. That must be ironic. Or do I mean de-centered.
Kokhavi, commander of the Paratrooper Brigade…said…’We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not want to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps.’
The hermeneutics of alleys and doors and windows. Cool.
Kokhavi’s intention in the battle was to enter the city in order to kill members of the Palestinian resistance and then get out. The horrific frankness of these objectives, as recounted to me by Shimon Naveh, Kokhavi’s instructor, is part of a general Israeli policy that seeks to disrupt Palestinian resistance on political as well as military levels through targeted assassinations from both air and ground.
Uh…yeah. And this came as a surprise to you? You’re taken aback by this horrific frankness? Uh…what did you think the objectives were then? To enter the city in order to teach members of the Palestinian resistance how to embroider? Are you sure you have a firm grasp of what words like ‘military’ and ‘battle’ and ‘weapon’ mean?
In a lecture Naveh showed a diagram resembling a ‘square of opposition’ that plots a set of logical relationships between certain propositions referring to military and guerrilla operations. Labelled with phrases such as ‘Difference and Repetition – The Dialectics of Structuring and Structure’, ‘Formless Rival Entities’, ‘Fractal Manoeuvre’, ‘Velocity vs. Rhythms’, ‘The Wahabi War Machine’, ‘Postmodern Anarchists’ and ‘Nomadic Terrorists’, they often reference the work of Deleuze and Guattari.
Way cool. That’s what I call a rich, well-rounded life – combining warfare with referencing the work of Deleuze and Guattari. Doncha think? It’s kind of like Socrates fighting at Potidaea, or those Renaissance men who wrote poetry with one hand and stabbed cardinals in the back with the other. Exciting and erudite both at the same time.
I asked Naveh why Deleuze and Guattari were so popular with the Israeli military. He replied that ‘several of the concepts in A Thousand Plateaux became instrumental for us…allowing us to explain contemporary situations in a way that we could not have otherwise. It problematized our own paradigms.’
I love the smell of problematized paradigms in the morning.
That’s not even halfway down the page – there’s a lot more. Read it all.