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The Israeli Defense Force: The Application of Theory to Military Practice

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Deleuze, Guattari, Debord, Critical Theory, and the works of the Situationists is being used by the Israeli Defense Force to revolutionize warfare. The focus, in this case, is on urban warfare, how it can be waged with greater efficiency by the army. The listed theorists have had and continue to have great impact on art, our understanding of space, politics, and architecture. These same ideas are being applied to reformulate the understanding of combat and the battlefield.

Eyal Weizman’s, Director of Goldsmith’s College Centre for Research Architecture, has written an excellent article on the subject. An excerpt and link to the full article can be found below.

The Art of War: Deleuze, Guattari, Debord and the Israeli Defense Force”

Eyal Weizman

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

The attack conducted by units of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) on the city of Nablus in April 2002 was described by its commander, Brigadier-General Aviv Kokhavi, as ‘inverse geometry’, which he explained as ‘the reorganization of the urban syntax by means of a series of micro-tactical actions’.1

During the battle soldiers moved within the city across hundreds of metres of ‘overground tunnels’ carved out through a dense and contiguous urban structure. Although several thousand soldiers and Palestinian guerrillas were manoeuvring simultaneously in the city, they were so ‘saturated’ into the urban fabric that very few would have been visible from the air. Furthermore, they used none of the city’s streets, roads, alleys or courtyards, or any of the external doors, internal stairwells and windows, but moved horizontally through walls and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors. This form of movement, described by the military as ‘infestation’, seeks to redefine inside as outside, and domestic interiors as thoroughfares. The IDF’s strategy of ‘walking through walls’ involves a conception of the city as not just the site but also the very medium of warfare – a flexible, almost liquid medium that is forever contingent and in flux.

Link to complete article at the InterActive Info Exchange >>

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