Thursday, July 12, 2007

Deconstructing Tulsathit Taptim: General Sonthi, at The Nation We Love You As A Dictator Not As A Democrat (small d)

Head straight at the crossroads and don't turn

Tulsathit Taptim

The Nation

Since he stepped out of his barracks last September 19 into rarely charted political territory, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin has been walking a thin line.

That line is a division between a saviour's status and that of a destroyer, malicious or unknowing. With the legal charges against the man he ousted in the bloodless coup now taking solid shape and Thailand struggling to re-embrace democracy, the general is nearing the end of his unique life journey.

Saviour status? Only a columnist at The Nation would give a military dictator savior status.

Of course Tulsie and his crew over at The Nation do absolutely nothing to actually examine the legal case against Thaksin. There is a lot of conjecturing and pontificating and other sanctimonious blather, but no actual reporting of the facts or a solid analysis of the case against Thaksin.

What does “solid shape” mean?
Does The Nation have access to the evidence? Obviously, it doesn’t, or they would print the evidence, or wouldn’t they? No, they wouldn’t, because The Nation isn’t a newspaper. Actually, it is a propaganda mouthpiece for the junta.

Back in September last year the country arguably had no choice - but Sonthi made his, to the cheers of some and the dismay of others. Today it's different. With his motherland beginning to see options again as she seeks to determine her own future, Sonthi has no other alternative but to bow out politically. If he wants to be remembered as a good son, that is.

The country had no choice? The Nation certainly never pushed for impeachment or any other legal mechanism to get rid of Thaksin. Instead, it supported to easy and illegal way out, which goes to show you just how much integrity Tulsie has if he supports criminal means to achieve a political outcome that he personally desires, regardless if it disenfranchises an entire nation and voids the votes of the majority.

Note the propaganda: Tulsie believes that Sonthi will be remembered as good son for his role as a military dictator, but not one as a politician. In other words, Tulsie likes Sonthi for being a military dictator and bringing about an illegal coup, but he doesn’t want Sonthi to become a legitimate politician. Tulsie’s argument really demonstrates how mentally and intellectually screwed up they are over at The Nation.

The journey will no longer be unique if Sonthi decides to turn toward that familiar route - taken by the likes of General Suchinda Kraprayoon. As a Thai citizen, he has the right to play politics, not least out of patriotism. As Sonthi Boonyaratglin, he doesn't have the luxury of playing the patriot in a democratic election. He has played his part, rightly or wrongly, and it's time to let the others play theirs.

Who was Tulsie’s editor? How many contradictory sentiments can you hold at the same time? He says General Sonthi as a Thai citizen and as a patriot has the right to play politics, yet believes he doesn’t have the right to participate in a free and fair election. However, a coup, which is an overtly political act, is OK with Tulsie, because that got rid of Thaksin, his personal political enemy.

History still waits, and the ends will justify the means. Sonthi will have badly misunderstood his own mission if he decides that his task is not finished until the "old power" is uprooted with a firm assurance it will not come back.

What kind of idiocy is this? How can Sonthi misunderstand his own mission if he decides to go into electoral politics?

The September 19 coup, as he and other collaborators proclaimed, was meant to restore the rule of law and people's faith in democracy.

This has been proven to be an outrageous lie. Of course the liars and hypocrites over at The Nation will never point out that the coup was a step back for democracy and all the legislation that the junta appointed legislature is pushing through demonstrates this.

A large number of Thais acquiesced to that, on the assumption that he would strive for the ultimate irony - a political system that could handle Thaksin Shinawatra on its own without intervention from men like him.

Tulsathit has drunk the junta’s Kool-aid if he truly believes this line of bullshit.

Sonthi's entry into politics now will not restore faith in democracy, even if he has a noble purpose for doing so.

Again, for Tulsie, General Sonthi is a hero for staging a coup, but a tyrant for entering electoral politics.

It will have a negative effect on the nation's already wobbly effort to find its feet. It doesn't matter that he will have retired from the military. It doesn't matter that he will run in the election "as a civilian" like all other candidates. And it doesn't matter that he doesn't aspire to become the next prime minister. Once he decides to play politics, he will mock his own initial agenda, alienate his allies and, most importantly, create unnecessary new risks for his country.

What is the basis for Tulsie’s analysis? The right thing from the very beginning would have been for General Sonthi to have run in a free and fair election against Thai Rak Thai instead of staging a coup. That would have been the legal and legitimate way of coming to power. What would Tulsie rather have: a General Sonthi who rules by fiat as a junta leader or a General Sonthi who is one of many MPs elected under a constitution? Obviously, Tulsie prefers the military dictator over the MP.

He will spawn divisiveness just like the man he overthrew.

The country is already divided.

He will give that man fresh ammunition to further discredit the political process in Thailand.

The political process in Thailand is already discredited.

He will undermine the credibility of the promised general election. He will sow the seeds of public doubt on his own beloved military institutions.

The military institutions are already a national disgrace.

Of course, all these scenarios may have much to do with negative perceptions, and, as a soldier, he must have been taught to care less about how others perceive him. But he must also have been taught to consider the country's utmost interests first.

Yes, Sonthi cared about the country’s interest so much that he took the rights of 65 million in the name of getting one man.

Thaksin is finished. The final nail was driven into his coffin by the purchase of Manchester City.

Love this sentence. Thaksin is finished because of Manchester City.

Again, he had violated the 1997 charter, that Sonthi's coup abolished, by failing to report that he had that a huge amount of wealth overseas.

Interesting how The Nation never did any follow the money investigations into Thaksin’s assets.

Look at how The Nation reports the facts. Thaksin bought Manchester City. But the junta froze his assets, so how did Thaksin get the money to buy MC? According to The Nation, the only way he could have received the money was through illegal channels. Of course, this is conjecture on the part of The Nation, because it never did a report on how Thaksin illegally moved his money around. It just assumed Thaksin did it.

The former prime minister, the "old power" if you will, has made things far more complicated for his legal self-defence, let alone his return to politics.

I have yet to read one report in The Nation detailing how Thaksin’s case has become more complicated based on a solid legal analysis. All we have is Tulsie's opinions to go on.

The whispered objective of Sonthi's possible entry into politics is to prevent Thaksin's return. This begs disturbing questions. What can he possibly do "democratically", that others can't, to achieve that? Does it mean he doesn't trust the "democracy" that his coup proclaims to be delivering? Who will be the politicians that form his parliamentary power base and give him enough strength to pre-empt the "old power"? Will he lead or join a party linked openly or secretly with former Thai Rak Thai MPs? If he does, how could he live with the staggering irony?

Why doesn’t Tulsie ask these questions to Sonthi and seek the answers? After all, that is his job. But, of course, you will never hear Suthichai or Tulsie or any of the others at The Nation ask any of the generals questions like these, because it is much easier to ask rhetorical questions in a column than ask real questions to the political principles who have all the answers to these questions.

The next election is not Sonthi's stage, not if he really wants to give the September coup, which was condemned worldwide, a worthwhile meaning. True patriotism sometimes requires letting go and trusting that others have an equal love of the land. The democratic world doesn't trust soldiers when it comes to political power because what starts off as an act of sacrifice often ends in addiction and monopoly.

Tulsie really is an idiot. Sonthi is just proving the point of the critics. But Tulsie is so awestruck and in love with Sonthi, he must write this column as a warning to his beloved. He is saying, please, Sonthi, my love, don’t make the farang right about us, prove them wrong by being a democratic dictator, give up power please, so we assholes at The Nation can tell the West that we were right about this coup and they were wrong.

It's up to Sonthi now whether he wants to create history by fading away and keeping his honour to himself, or choose the popular path which will make him an undistinguished part of old history lessons.

Who the hell knows what this last sentence means? More beautiful prose from the best and brightest over at The Nation.

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