I found Weizman’s discussion of “swarming” military strategy very interesting. The image that stuck in my mind as I was reading was particularly the one described by a family whose home was “infested” by soldiers:
“…their faces painted black, submachine guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall?”
This image, that of the roach, is different than my usual imagination of the clean, orderly, effective soldier. It seemed with the roach metaphor that the effect was one of terrifying takeover. It was not the same fear of looking at rows of orderly soldiers marching on your death, but the notion that a nest of insects had been liberated and they were taking over one’s sphere uncontrollably and unpredictably. I also began thinking about the motivations behind using such a strategy in warfare. Is it our human nature that sometimes prevents us from being truly cunning? Our supposedly higher intellectual capabilities and reliance on world order has ingrained in us social norms that we don’t walk through walls; we use the portals planned out for us, such as roads, hallways, and doors. Weizman appropriately called this occurrence the “authority of borderlines.” Would a cockroach, or a rodent for example, think in the same way? Does it stop and say, “No, I can’t run through the walls, I should use the door!” Of course not; it has not been taught to be bound by the same social rules. It uses the most convenient and immediate solution offered to it. Additionally, I appreciated that Weizman acknowledged that this concept of using a swarming tactic to surprise the enemy is hardly new. It fulfills the different requirements of new wars, but it served the same purpose in various arenas a long time ago. It makes sense not to present the enemy with a clear predictable picture of what is going to happen, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a discussion of this method being carried out by the “reorganization” of space before, namely through the abandoning of routes and repurposing of barriers.