Israel Defense Forces live blogs Gaza offensive

The Operation Pillar of Defense that Israel launched in the Gaza Strip today, which included the killing of Hamas military commander Ahmad Jabari, is big news, and could spell a dramatic escalation in the long-simmering violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants in Gaza. But as Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal points out on Twitter, there's another remarkable aspect of the offensive: the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been updating us on the military's actions in close-to-real-time. 

If you go to the IDF's website, you'll find a post with live, time-stamped updates on the operation, including this jaw-dropping YouTube video of the strike on Jabari: 

Or you could go to the IDF's Twitter feed, where you'll find updates like these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast Company is calling this "the first time a military campaign goes public via tweet." That's not entirely true -- in November 2011, for example, the Kenyan military took to Twitter to warn Somali civilians about an impending offensive against al-Shabab (al-Shabab tweeted -- more like taunted -- back).

Still, the IDF's approach to getting the word out about Operation Pillar of Defense does represent a milestone in military communications -- one we should reflect on. What does it mean for us as a society when we can follow a targeted killing in real time, and watch a video of it on YouTube hours later?

Update: The military wing of Hamas appears to be tweeting back at the IDF. Here's the reaction to the Israeli military's warning for Hamas operatives to keep their heads down:

 

 

 

Passport

Call of Duty casts Petraeus as future defense secretary

Like many of us, the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which goes on sale this week, apparently didn't see the David Petraeus sex scandal coming. As Kotaku's Stephen Totilo reports, Activision's much-anticipated video game casts the former general and CIA chief as the U.S. secretary of defense in 2025, serving a female president who, according to Totilo, "looks a whole lot like Hillary Clinton" (I don't see the resemblance as much, and Petraeus refers to "President Bosworth" at one point):

At least Petraeus wasn't spending his off-hours at the CIA working on the game, though maybe that would have helped him avoid his current jam. A rep for Call of Duty: Black Ops II publisher says Petraeus was "not involved in making the game." Actor and political impressionist Jim Meskimen is credited with voicing the game's Secretary of Defense.

Minor Black Ops II spoilers follow.

Petraeus doesn't do much in the game, and there's no sign of Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom Petraeus had his affair. When we first see Petraeus, he's receiving a terrorist prisoner on board the [USS Barack] Obama. Another mission in the game starts with Petraeus and the Clinton-esque President Bosworth on board a futuristic version of Marine One before it is shot down over L.A. The crash should kill everyone, but this is Call of Duty. The important people tend to survive. We don't see Petraeus again, but an audio message indicates that he survived.

You can check out the scenes Totilo describes here. Call of Duty, of course, wasn't alone in predicting a bright political future for the general. After the election, a number of assessments of who would compose President Obama's second-term national security team -- including one at FP -- floated Petraeus's name.

And hey, a decade from now the folks at Activision could have the last laugh. If the long history of political scandals has taught us anything, it's that we may not have seen the last of David Petraeus.