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General dies a political death -Part Two

“The commander is responsible for establishing leadership climate of the Unit and developing disciplined and cohesive units. This sets the parameters within which command will be exercised and, therefore, sets the tone for social and duty relationships within the command.”
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Written by Day

(January 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) 2. SF sounded almost like Lou Dobbs after Lou’s resignation from CNN (Lou Dobbs is the Host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Lou Dobbs Show. He was the anchor and managing editor of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight)

a. Tamils in general and Wanni Tamils in particular would have laughed they ‘posterior’ off or chuckled themselves by reading the Factors 14, 15 and 16 in the Annex A to GEN SF’s Letter of Resignation. They could not have believed their eyes on those factors given the SF’s pronouncements in the media in support of the majority community in Sri Lanka. He need not have shed ‘tears’, crocodile or genuine, or his heart bled in this manner. He should have maintained his strong opinion what come may. What people want see in a President is ‘consistency’, not a candidate changing the tune to placate or sooth the ears of IDPs to win their votes or their hearts and minds. How come one could depend on someone, who has hurt the feelings openly and badly and change overnight without a ‘very genuine public contrite or apology’ to atone the Tamil feelings hurt? Remember, what Abraham Lincoln said, which I quoted somewhere else too? ‘You may fool all the people some of the time……’! Analyzing Tamil media websites one could see that Tamils had already detected sort of embellished, contrived or insincere nature of SF’s wordings. He would have earned the respect, all the votes and backing, accolades of all the Sri Lankan Tamils all over the world with a genuine public apology for poor choice of words!

Here is the analogous situation from recent history and recent memory. This is how media put it-Dobbs to Latino Voters: Let's Be Amigos! Once rabidly anti-illegal anchor now warms to 'amnesty’. There was a collective cheer among Latino community leaders and many Latinos in general the day that Lou Dobbs announced he was leaving his nightly CNN program. Actually, the cheer came one day before, when news of his impending resignation spread throughout the Internet. I’m not sure when the Dobbs express turned into a train wreck. It may have been when he claimed that one-third of the inmates in federal prisons were undocumented, or when he proclaimed that undocumented immigrants were to blame for a surge in cases of leprosy. He was such an opinionated person. If Lou Dobbs does indeed run against the only Hispanic in the Senate, New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, he may have to mend some fences with Latino voters—and here he goes. The former CNN anchor, notorious for his views against illegal immigration, gave an interview to Telemundo in the interest of “smoothing the water and clearing the air”. In the interview, Dobbs said “we need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants under certain conditions.” Dobbs, it seems, now supports an idea once derided as “amnesty.” “Whatever you have thought of me in the past, I can tell you right now that I am one of your greatest friends and I mean for us to work together,” he said. Interviewer Maria Celeste didn’t quite buy it. “Many Hispanics consider you to be the No. 1 enemy of Latinos,” she reminded him. No, no, Dobbs countered. That’s the result of “efforts of the far left to characterize me in their propaganda as such.”

3. Playing second fiddle to the failed politicians and perennial losers, political rascals and humbugs, and the insurgents or Comrades in Red and terrorists in slippers then, now turned activists and peaceniks in civilian garb.

a. Most of the people who dote and adore SF wanted him, once elected as the President, to run the roughshod over the laughably corrupt politicos, and violent underworld and purge the unsuitable, venal government and public servants and revamp the whole corrupt system to bring in good governance. No sooner SF declared to run against the incumbent what we heard and saw in the media was a mighty General is cornered, helpless and held to ransom, in a sorry and pathetic ‘quid pro quo’ situation by the politicos with vested interests , ulterior motives and hidden agendas. His naively and willingly playing second fiddle to the politicos who are not held in high esteem did not help him either.

b. One party demanded the abolition of Executive Powers of the President for their support for SF. The very same party members who jeered, slighted and slandered him all the way from Pamankade to Alimankade, Medawachchiya to Killinochi, and said that Thoppigala is a jungle not worthy of clearing at a human cost are hell bent on promoting SF to bring him to power and get the positions of power by sneaking behind his enormous popularity. The latest is said to be that TNA has worked out a confidential agreement with General Sarath Fonseka. Who knows TNA is putting up a ‘show’: Sampanthan playing the’ good cop’ and Sivajilingam playing the ’bad cop’, in order to have a ‘beneficial’ foothold in both camps. What else Sri Lankans do not know of the hidden agendas and compacts signed behind closed doors?

c. The insurgents or Comrades in Red then, now turned activists and peaceniks demand the abolition of Executive Powers of the President for their support too. Moreover they cry blue murder on lack of personal security provided to SF by the government in power. They are the ones, who wanted to kill all service members when reported to duty during the reign of Terror. I have seen as a university student and a soldier the enormous or monumental damage caused by the Red Brothers and its affiliated IUSF to Sri Lanka, setting back her otherwise promising future by decades due to the Insurgencies. They were a hidden player in the 1983 Black July riots, student strikes, causing damage to government property, forcing closure of schools and universities, and inciting workers to strike leading to cause loss of GDP and GNP (how farcical to shed ‘crocodile tears, now, on GSP!). Those acts are sky rending and heinous crimes!

In the final analysis or long run I believe if the damages caused by LTTE and Red Brothers are weighed in a balance, no doubt, the Red Bothers’ pan will tilt down. Politics makes strange bedfellows, that may be the reason the ISUF that, one day, had arrayed an arsenal of Molotov-cocktails, bottles filled with sand, brickbats, improvised sharp and blunt instruments etc, the biggest cache I have seen in the hands of a crowd of students, undergrads, or civilians, against ‘kotiaya’ (Vajira Abeywardena, now MP Galle) and his UNP affiliated student union members in 80s at the Moratuwa University’s hostel. Oh times, oh mores; they are working hand in glove now!

The same ISUF destroyed the brilliant future of many a Narada, an electronics engineer from Ananda College, 1990 Convocation, which, by the way, he did not attend, by involving him in underground politics rather than allowing him to attend lectures. When it was Final Exams times his batchmates used to teach him for ten days the entire year’s worth of lectures, in next fifteen days Narada did ‘review classes’ for the entire batch! Such was his gaining and retaining power. Shame on you, IUSF, for destroying the bright future of millions of students (thousands of Naradas)!

Can you remember during a past presidential election that JVP boasted of a voting age membership of about five hundred thousand and when votes were counted their candidate had received only about three hundred thousand? How come the rest of two hundred thousand vanished into thin air?

SF ought to have known this better than me; he would have seen Red Brothers on motorbikes, revving up the engines, parading pompously on May Days, he also would have seen and heard the gung-ho shown to send the IPKF pack off home, I almost forgot this, what about their cheering on your fighting formations during the humanitarian operations? Let me ask you this; how many of them ‘VOLUNTRIALLY’ took up arms to fill the rank and files or augment your depleting troop strength when recruits and privates were deserting in droves or getting Killed-in-Action or Wounded-in-Action? Is the answer is, nil, zero or none? I would tell you this; some gang members belonging to the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the Bloods and the Crisps join the military in their respective countries for the military training free of charge (FOC)! Has he, as Army Commander, kept a tab or a ‘database’ on the thousands of SL Army deserters to know about their ‘political affiliations’ or ‘future intentions’? What is SF going to do when they come out of the Fifth Column at a time and place of their choosing? If Red Brothers’ sorry and pathetic history is such, given their track record what is the guarantee SF has had that their entire block vote would have been given to him on a platter on 26 Jan 2009? I am afraid that SF would feel hoodwinked, bamboozled and abandoned! But SF has already given them perks, made an ‘ura’ as one of his two spokesmen!

I am at loss to understand this; SF is a retired General now but he was trained by his 3rd Intake Officer and the Chief Instructor at Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) on ‘public speaking’ when he was an officer cadet at SLMA. The drill army instructors use to train cadets on public speaking is called ‘giving a Presentation for 45-minuites on a given topic’! Why on earth he decided or assumed a dress designer or a revolutionary is more articulate or can get a point across than a military officer who has been trained all over the world! SF needs give his distraught true and innocent followers the logic behind it.

d. Terrorists in slippers now turned activists and peaceniks in civilian garb. How come he allowed terrorists in mufti or sympathizers to dictate terms to or bluff him with a 10-point questionnaire or forcing him to sign a confidential agreement for ‘quid pro quo, removal of HSZs, releasing terrorists from prison etc for the ‘promise’ that Tamils would vote en bloc? One needs to analyze this very carefully in the light of Sampantahan, TNA MP, ‘promising’ SF Tamil votes and the pronouncement of Sivajilingam, another TNA MP, and his determination to allow ‘nether candidate receive 50% of votes.
When they sent the questionnaire to him, SF’s answer to them in return should have been something similar to this; in 1944, ordered to surrender by Nazi troops who had his unit trapped during the Battle of the Bulge, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division replied with one word: "Nuts!" Or SF should have simply said, using phonetics, FOXTROT OSCAR!

Voting is done by secret ballot, then what was the guarantee that Tamils would vote en bloc for SF, was it just because he plaintively mentioned about the plight of IDPs in his Letter of Resignation’s Annex under Factors 14, 15 and 16? He would find himself sadly mistaken. Here is the example: In last presidential election how the incumbent came to power as Tamils boycotted; ‘Kundumanis and ‘podiyans ’ were forced, at gun point to dump the perennial ‘green boy loser’ by LTTE.

If we purely go by logic, the Tamil block vote should go to Dr, Bahu, old Anandian like Gen SF, for his relentless effort to stop the onslaught on the murderous outfit and burning the midnight oil to save the LTTE leadership from annihilation. Remember, Dr. Bahu appearing in solidarity and brotherhood, as a Band of Brothers, on LTTE political stages in London? Old Bahu might have not minded a ‘very tight’ bear hug from ‘MIA’ even, I posit! Dr. Bahu may have been counting on ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ in London and Wanni to come on ‘MIA’s paper planes’ to vote for him to get the presidential mantle.

For him this is probably the moment of truth he had in his mind when he lent his voice and moral support on that London stage. In the morning of 27th January 2010 he would wake up to realize sadly that he has also lost without cost! And jilted, like the ‘green boy’ was in last presidential elections! "Blood is redder (thicker) than water- Blut ist dicker als Wasse”.

e. Association with a jinx and shameless chameleons or the proverbial ‘forked tongues’. It is not many a moon ago a dress designer who says that he is capable of designing uniforms for Salvation Army did not think that SF was fit enough to be enlisted into the Salvation Army wear one of the uniform he could design. Remember he once said “there is no permanent enemy or friend in politics. Both of them say there is no love lost between them now, and that is the nature of the rough and tumbles politics in Sri Lanka. How SF could forget that Sri Lankans needed most was a unique president devoid of deceit and intrigue and corruption and mendacity!

f. If one looks around the room or table at a UNF gathering one would see a majority of them are rats that left a sinking ship or waiting to leave the sinking ship. Or else the ones who have changed sides or ‘crossed over’ shamelessly surrendering the principles or have been bought off with public money or the promises of filthy lucre, gravy train jobs or plush and plum appointments, local or overseas! Sri Lanka needed a ‘strongman’ who is ‘consistent’ and a courageous and outspoken CEO with probity and physical and moral courage. Not a vacillating, dithering, pliable or malleable ceremonial figurehead President or an invertebrate leader playing second fiddle to a bunch of humdrum, humbug, failed sorry politicians!

4. Fatal mistake of assuming that ‘mulligans’ would be allowed once SF ruffled the incumbent’s and his brothers’ feathers, got on their nerves or stepped on their toes.

a. As Army Commander he saw to it when officers did not make the grade. He was vicious when it came to settling the old scores. How many military officers have had filed Fundamental Rights cases that might or might not have merit? People are not machines but beings with senses and emotions. They never forget or fail to remember and settle some scores, if any. Once SF fell out with the incumbent and his near and dear ones he should have expected life was going to be very rough and tough and a terrible and living nightmare for SF, his kith and kin and his loyal military officers around him. Remember or familiar the flurry of sudden and immediate transfers, like snowflakes appearing from nowhere, that followed his resignation!

SF, his loved ones, close relatives and loyal officers were caught off guard with the MR administration’s sudden and stern response without mercy or an iota of love or gratefulness for SF for his spearheading the military efforts to vanquish the LTTE. SF had to react instead of being two steps ahead of the game as he had not planned though he should have expected, anticipated and put countermeasures in place.

Sadly, the entire country and Sri Lanka watchers witnessed that he was behind the power curve! Maybe, SF forgot that a ‘mulligan’ is allowed only in golf; Sri Lanka is a cricket-crazy and cricket playing nation, loves football too, NOT GOLF!

Here are a few measures taken by the present administration against SF for his being ‘adamant and stubborn’, not listening to exhortations or to the ‘clichéd’ advise to not to join the rascal and failed opposition politicos; reduction of ‘quality and quantity’ of personal protection contingent; withdrawal of transportation and other assets; displacing from official bungalows to the status of a homeless General; stymieing the efforts to find a house and an election office; sudden transfer orders to kith and kin to the proverbial ‘Siberia’; outsourcing or contracting out to the persons, local and overseas, to dig to any depth to find out the extent and level of his and his son-in-law’ s association or involvement in arms and munitions and equipment purchases; the media assaults and barrages to disgrace and discredit, especially the scurrilous paper that was circulated with a vivid and racy description of SF’s alleged penchant for or propensity towards ‘very rough and ‘kinky’ sex ; Tri-Service Commanders, top Generals and flag officers being absent at his last salute; the rumours of making way for the appointment of his enemy among friends, the Secretary of Highways, as the CDS, to name a few.

5. SF talking like a typical politico (Politicians Creed Never take Responsibility but Generals do!) rather than a visionary General, a CEO or a President; engaging in Pilate-like hand washing instead of accepting responsibility as Army Commander for what went right and what went wrong, especially during the last phases of humanitarian operation that culminated on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on 18 May 2009.
When a General, a CEO, or a President opens the mouth he or she has to speak substance, every word ought to represent or be relevant to his/her vision for the future of his enterprise-military machine, corporate or the country. A General is in killing business, and he orders it in the defence of national security. Human rights, media and peace activists do know about it though they decry it or cry ‘blue murder’.

An Army Commander or a General orders ‘neutralizing’ a threat aka ‘targeted killing’, ‘liquidating’, ‘erasing’, ‘assassination’, on behalf of national security, after serious and exhaustive Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). The war is diplomacy by other means, they say. The modus operandi here is totally different from Dr. Dutu Gemunu sending an inebriated thug with a packet or vial of heroin for his personal use or snorting before bumping off a political opponent! Only thing that a General and his men have to do is to be reticent and keep their mouth shut at all times and go on life with a business as usual attitude. Let the interested parties to scrutinize all day or all year long but as long as the general’s story and that of his men story is the same in the ‘public affairs packet’ they are alright and they have done their duty by the nation. Certain things in life and on the job need only known by those involved in the operation or process, which is why it is called ‘Top Secret-Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS-SCI). Simply put, if you have not been read on the program or the operation you have no need or right to know about it, be they AI, BTF, FMM, MSF, RSF or HRW! It is the same secrecy or privacy a married couple maintains, they are not going to tell everyone how they have sex in their bedroom just because others have a prurient curiosity! Any military in general and Sri Lankan military in particular is no place for the sufferers of Cognitive Dissonance (Sri Lankans believe in Animal Rights but are not reluctant or hesitant to kill ‘Tiger the terrorist’ or ‘Red Bears’, each and every one of them when turned violent)!

Here is the leadership doctrine for starters. Commanders are responsible for everything their command does or fails to do. However, commanders subdivide responsibility and authority and assign portions of both to various subordinate commanders and staff members. In this way, a proper degree of responsibility becomes inherent in each command echelon. Commanders delegate sufficient authority to soldiers in the chain of command to accomplish their assigned duties, and commanders may hold these soldiers responsible for their actions. Commanders who assign responsibility and authority to their subordinates still retain the overall responsibility for the actions of their commands- AR 600-20 Army command policy.

The commander is responsible for establishing leadership climate of the Unit and developing disciplined and cohesive units. This sets the parameters within which command will be exercised and, therefore, sets the tone for social and duty relationships within the command. Commanders are also responsible for the professional development of their soldiers. To this end, they encourage self-study, professional development, and continued growth of their subordinates’ military careers.
Check this out:

a. Familiar with the aftermath or uproar of an interview given by SF, which appeared in a Canadian magazine? “I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people…..”

b. The 68-page report issued by the US Department of State to the Congress on 22nd October said to contain contains a reference to Gen. Fonseka. It says, “A media outlet reported on July 18 that at a celebrity event in Ambalangoda, Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka stated that the military had to overlook the traditional rules of war and even kill LTTE rebels who came to surrender carrying white flags during the war against the LTTE.”

C. “Gota Ordered Them To Be Shot” – General Sarath Fonseka, in an article published in Sunday Leader on 13 December 2009. It further said, “Common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka says Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa instructed a key ground commander in the north that all LTTE leaders must be killed and not allowed to surrender”.

d. “Less than 24 hours after his sensational statement that Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa had instructed a ground commander in the battle zone during the last phase of the Eelam War IV to shoot all LTTE leaders that had come out waving a white flag with the intention of surrendering to the military, the retired General and contender for the January 26 presidential poll, Sarath Fonseka did a volta face.”

To be continued....

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