Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A New Kind of Front

    Unlike many of its contemporaries and adversaries, the Israeli government holds its military to a standard that demands results that are in line with ethical expectations. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is, consequently, no surprise the world leader in counter-insurgency warfare due to its “unique” position as a nation literally surrounded by perpetual enemies, foreign and domestic. This reality has demanded this small but enterprising nation to develop the best means to engage in 21st century terrorist warfare.

   I witnessed this unique kind of training first hand when I visited a counter-insurgency training camp in the high mountains of Samaria (commonly known as the West Bank). Apart from the typical military atmosphere of uniformity I have felt before in other excursions, this camp included additions that were specific to combat environments that Israel faced on a regular basis. Close quarter combat in buildings and tight spaces, smaller strike forces , and a focus on time and accuracy that avoided unnecessary casualties were only a few examples of the ways our instructors attempted to imbue a mentality of urgency Israeli soldiers face everyday on the front lines.

   According to IDF Col. Bentzi Gruber, a code of ethics that center on necessity, distinction, and proportionality are essential for any successful counter-terrorist operation. Ideas like using force only for accomplishing the mission, avoiding harming civilians at all cost, and investigating all means possible to avoid collateral damage on the battlefield are embraced with a passion. Consequently, these same values are held to a greater standard here in Israel, a nation that prides itself in the science of tactical and strategic homeland defense.

-Luke Basaca

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