Sunday, January 20, 2008

Comments on :Where there's no war, there's no market for peace!

A Voice In Colombo posted this on the 12th of July 2007

This was his closing para, which sums up his argument:

"Where there's no war, there's no market for peace merchants to sell their bullshit. With the Easter province falling away from tigers hands, the market for peaceniking in East has now collapsed. That's the truth! So the peace merchants will do their best, to retain this war for another decade."

My comment was:

This government is indeed persuing a more agressive military campaign, (indeed agression regardless of collateral damage in many instances) as promised in the election manifesto.

However this in itself is not vindication that they are "doing the war more honestly".

Just as much as there is a 'peace industry' there is also a 'war industry'.

The beneficiaries of the war industry include many within government, probably up to the highest levels, sections of the armed forces and the businessmen involved in procurement and supplies.

I have known persons who supply milk powder (commission used to be Rs.1 per kg - army used to be 100mt per month) to chicken (commission about Rs.25 per kg, supply was about 80 tons a month, if i remember correctly). The money was split between supplier, purchasing people in the army and a couple of others who where wholesale contractors. - Rs.1 was offered to the sales guy in the milk powder place - army used to buy direct, the "agents" wanted it routed through them)

This is the lower end. The big deals are on weapons and big equipment, which is why half the airforce fleet is grounded for lack of spares.

The government in office benefits in numerous other ways as well. The war is a convenient distraction from other pressing problems, and anti-terror laws can be used to suppress political opponents - such as Tiran Alles/ Sripathi etc.

Coming back to the original point that war is being fought honestly, my father who retired from the army about 30 years ago, is of teh view that to eliminate the LTTE one must go after the "strong base" or the head. In his day, this was in India and out of reach but today it is in Killinochichi and the Wanni.

Fightingf in the East will not eliminate the lTTE they will lose ground but the problem will remain. HOWEVER fighting in the East does make good political propaganda - fo rthe government - bringing the aforementioned benefits to the parties involved. True- it does bring more land under government control but holding it is difficult and costly.

This is going to be a long drawn out campaign, which needs to be funded - and the tax base is not wide enough to support this level of conflict for any length of time (in my opinion).

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