I have no problem with Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat's ordering the retroactive removal of opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as an instructor at an army cadet school. If Mr Abhisit in fact dodged the draft as charged, then he certainly is not worthy to teach our cadets, and must be held accountable.
But I suggest that the defence minister's main job is to defend our country _ not curry favour to keep his post secure.
Gen Sukumpol, you have a multitude of tasks far more important than firing a sub-lieutenant who left the army decades ago, don't you?
For example, you haven't done anything towards court-martialling your fellow generals who were guilty of excess usage of force at Krue Se (32 killed), the manslaughter at Tak Bai (73 killed) and murder most foul at Nong Chik (4 deliberately killed).
You haven't gone after your fellow generals who approved the GT2000 bomb detector, which has been proven accurate only 20% of the time, so our soldiers would be better off by flipping a coin, and we'd save 1 million baht per device as well.
Our navy's pride and joy, the Chakri Narubet, has been incapable of fighting for many years now, and nobody's identified a possible enemy for it to fight anyway. Why haven't you sold it off and given the proceeds to the navy so they could defend us more effectively?
The air force's scandal-plagued airship can't fly above 20m without crashing; why haven't you investigated the generals who proposed and approved the purchase of the craft?
We have 1,600 generals/admirals on active duty, against 10-20 in a typical Western military force; have we traded quality for quantity?
General, get busy with protecting our country, and your job security will take care of itself.
Democracy not for sale
The source of the following quote is disputed, but it was reportedly made by Ronald Reagan, before he became US president, in Ohio on June 8, 1965:
''... a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority ... always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship.''
The quote takes many forms with different attributions all over the internet, but it seems to resonate with millions and is apparently quite relevant today in the current international economic environment in which the impact of failing political systems, fiscal survival and the very existence of countries, unions and alliances might result in global catastrophe.
Here is my version: Imaginary wealth provides only the illusion of independence and subsequently the illusion of independence produces delusion.
Democracy was never meant to be bought and sold like a consumer product.
Question of rights
On the internet below a recent Postbag letter of mine (Jan 4), two people commented that I force my vegetarian philosophy on everyone. What rubbish!
Force is murdering 60 billion animals a year (not including sea animals) for food. Force is wreaking havoc on the environment. For example, raising animals for food causes more global warming than all forms of transportation put together.
Believe it or not, I am a libertarian who has probably done more for human rights than all my critics put together.
But a real libertarian knows that you only have the right to do as you please as long as you're not hurting anyone else. And killing 60 billion animals a year is an act of extreme violence which causes enormous harm.
But perhaps more importantly, a true libertarian would argue that if eating meat is ''a matter of choice'', so is promoting vegetarianism .
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