Friday, August 24, 2007

Bangkok Post: Those Wacky, Wacky Thai Generals



Defence Minister Gen Boonrawd Somtas yesterday denied there were any divisions among the three candidates for the army's top post, saying the upcoming military reshuffle was likely being exploited to stir up political turmoil.

His comments followed rumours that assistant army chief Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr was plotting a coup to prevent his junior Gen Anupong Paochinda, also assistant army chief, from being promoted to become army commander.

It was also reported that elements of the old power clique were backing the army chief-of-staff Gen Montri Sangkhasap to take up the top post.

''They don't have conflicts, but it is outside elements. As individuals, they are not divided,'' said Gen Boonrawd.

Gen Saprang had ordered a check on the commanders of some 50 combat units in the central, northern and northeastern regions to gauge his support, said a military source.

Most combat units under supervision of the First Army Region were said to be loyal to Gen Anupong while those in the Second Army Region were reportedly loyal to Gen Sonthi, the source said, adding Gen Saprang appeared to have overwhelming support from the Third Army Region, where he was commander before moving to Bangkok.

According to the source, Third Army commander Lt-Gen Jiradej Kotcharat told his subordinates in a recent meeting that relations between Gen Saprang and Gen Anupong remained strong.

''Both of them understand each other and they are not affected by the rumours,'' said the source.

It was believed that the rumours were spread by the old power group who did not want either of the two men to rise to power, said the source.

Gotta love the selfless Thai generals who are always looking out for the best interests of the country.

General Saprang: Wah, I didn't become chief, Wah, I am going to start another coup because I didn't get my way. Wah, it is all Thaksin's fault that I am so short.

Looking for the right (and loyal) man

The question of who will be the next army commander-in-chief is creating such pressure within the top echelons of the military that rumours are flying of the possibility of another coup


Gen Sonthi has revealed the qualifications of his successor on several occasions. The next army chief must not be tainted by corruption, for example. The general has also said he prefers a ''good man'' over a capable one. Training a good man to become capable at a job was possible; teaching a capable man to be morally good was impossible.

Loyalty to Gen Sonthi would be key. The next army chief would be the one he deems as unconditionally faithful to him. He must be ready to protect him from the wrath or revenge of Mr Thaksin and his supporters if he chooses to retire and live a civilian life away from politics. At the same time, the chosen one must be able to provide him with the necessary support and power base should he decide to enter politics.

How about a general who actually performs his duties by protecting the country from its external enemies instead of meddling in politics?


It may or may not be a coincidence that Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and Council for National Security chairman Sonthi Boonyaratkalin share a common opinion about coups d'etat. When asked by reporters on separate occasions about the possibility of another coup, the two men gave similar answers. The premier said it would depend on whether the government leader strictly observed good governance or not. Gen Sonthi said it would depend on whether the government leader was honest and loyal to the country.

Both answers were blunt and straightforward but troubling, especially at a time when the country is gradually shifting off the yoke of military rule towards democratic rule, with general elections tentatively set for Dec 23. It would be even more disturbing if the same view - that a coup might still be unavoidable -were held by Gen Sonthi's successor in the army and by other top military officers.

Notice that a Thai general never acts because of any legal obligation to protect and defend the constitution. They just do what they want and hell with the law.

Activists, politicians sceptical of Chavalit

Former PM has little to offer, say critics


'Gen Chavalit claims to represent a chain linking politicians together, but I think it's more of a rusty chain that is ready to snap at any time,'' he said.

The coming together of veteran politicians was ''like putting old wine in a new bottle'', he said. To be a true third choice, a party must be represented by people with a good knowledge of the country's fundamental problems.

What can you say about the Big Jiew? He was a disaster in the nineties, he was disaster as Thaksin's deputy PM, and he is so old and senile now that whatever comes out of his mouth will be a hundred times more buffoonish than before. But, if he makes a come back, I will have a lot of material for this blog.


Unknown said...

Feel so sick, my stomach turns, especially the Editorial quote that you make. How non-chalant they are about how "natural" it would be to make another coup if the next leaders just were "not loyal enough", whatever and how ever the military would like to define it...:-(

Anonymous said...

This one is dedicated to you Fonzi:

The country is divided that is true. At one corner, are those who depend and live on Thaksin bribes and handouts. At the other corner, are those who reject and condemn bribes and handouts.

Take this Shark Fonzi who cannot bring himself to condemn, much less berate Thaksin Shinawatra for the extrajudicial rampage, for the Shinawatras & inlaws tax evasion streak, for that glaring conflict of interest AmpleRich-Shin-Temasek $1.8 billion sale deal, for Thaksin's high-handedness and ineptitude in the management of the Southern unrest that has brought more Muslim fundamentalist radicals to the fore, for Thaksin's divisiveness and Machiavelian tactics that nearly ripped Thailand asunder, for that butler-service to Shinawatra Thai Rak Thai party that was the Shinawatras doormat no more and no less, for the corruption spree being directed by Thaksin Shinawatra himself on nearly every government project from Suvarnabhumi airport to fire trucks to farm seedlings et al.
Sure the generals were bungling fools and we should be suspicious anytime these generals start running the country. But it was Thaksin's criminal abuses that provoked these generals in the first place . . . and Fonzi the Shark, Bangkok Pundit and those academics at New Mandala are all clearly being subsidized or funded by Thaksin Shinawatra. Why else would they be pro-Thaksin all the way despite what is already known about Thaksin's criminal deeds?

Defending democracy? That is a laugh calling Fonzi, Bangkok Pundit and that Australian crocodile Andrew Walker of New Mandala, defenders of Thai democracy . . .