Bovine military

23 05 2020

The military once delighted in comparing red shirt protesters to buffalo, implying they were stupid and led around by the nose. In fact, though, as two reports at The Nation demonstrate, it is the military brass that lacks intelligence and insight.

One report is pretty much standard fare for the military. In it, yet another dinosaur officer is wheeled out to “explain” that the Royal Thai Army can stand tall on its hind legs because of its role in “saving” the nation. General Chettha Thanajaro, a former Army chief and minister of defense under Thaksin Shinawatra “commented on the sixth anniversary of the 2014 coup.”

He lied that “political issues were not the Army’s responsibility” – that’s why military bosses have grabbed the prime ministership so often and for so long – and that the Army’s “duty” is the “protection of the country.” This role usually means defending the country’s borders not, as is the role of the Royal Thai Army in murdering citizens it considers threatening to monarchy and ruling class.

The aged general says:

The Army does not need to be polite [hadn’t noticed this trait] in taking political action because it has to prevent conflicts in the country…. I believe the Army must carry Thailand and when conflicts occur, it must intervene and leave when the country returns to peace.

Of course, this is nonsense, concocted by military types to justify never-ending authoritarianism and exploitation.

Naturally enough – the herd sticks together – he went on to praise current Army boss Gen Apirat Kongsompong for “doing a great job in national matters.”

Apirat defending his nation

Emphasizing a different perspective, Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit reminded Gen Apirat “of his promise to reform the armed forces within 90 days in the wake of the Korat shootout in February” that “claimed up to 20 lives.”

We wonder about the call for Apirat to take responsibility for the virus cluster at the Army’s boxing stadium.

For many Thais, protection from the Army is more salient that the Army’s self-appointed role as “protector.”


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