A colonel and his ethical blank space

10 08 2016

There have been many efforts to explain or rationalize the outcome of the military’s referendum. That’s to be expected.

However, one statement that caught social media attention was an offbeat statement by junta spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree who seemed so excited by the (expected) outcome that he seemed to forget all previous history.

He stated that “[p]oliticians critical of the referendum result were holding the country back…”. In fact, over 80 decades, it has been the military’s politicians and multiple political interventions that have held the country “back.” Back here seems to be sometime in the 20th century, with a military preference for absolutist times in the pre-1932 period and then in the 1950s and 1960s.

Winthai thought that the referendum had had “participation from all sectors in society.” We are confused. Which society was Winthai observing? Certainly not Thailand during the no-campaign period on a charter that almost no one has actually seen and read.

Winthai declared that, “What they [politicians, but not military politicians] say can be seen as showing no respect to the people’s opinions.” This is a nonsense. What is being said by critics is that the military’s referendum was a farce and an outcome of repressive politics.

When Winthai calls on these “politicians” to “give factual information based on real circumstance,” he neglects that this is exactly what they are doing. The problem for the junta is that they don’t like facts.

When he demands that “politicians” should “adjust their attitude,” he suggests more repression, arrests and threats.

All of this is normal dictatorspeak. However, when Winthai turns to international politics, he becomes remarkably incoherent, as if he has been reading only yellow shirt social media.

When asked “about the negative reactions from some countries, including members of the European Union,” Winthai claimed that “many people [he means yellow shirts and other anti-democrats like the junta members] wondered just how they [foreign governments including the EU] had reached such conclusions, because they were far away from the real situation.”

He then comes up with the now standardized yellow-shirted claim: “Those countries might well have have received biased information…”. This is a statement of a massive conspiracy centered on Thaksin Shinawatra who they think has superhuman capacity to influence Western governments.

When he states that he these foreign governments “were ethically impartial,” it is as if Wintahi has and understands ethics. We are sure he is clueless on this. Any spokesman for a military dictatorship cannot – by definition – have any ethics, for they are charged with lying for a murderous regime.


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