A military-backed government | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 14, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 14, 2007

A military-backed government

The above phrase was probably first used by The Economist to describe the present system of government in Bangladesh.
They always love to put some labels, especially if it has to do something with the third world. Unfortunately, the local media also got the wind and we now see a myriad range of connotations of the above both in English and in the mother tongue, print and electronic media inclusive. But is there any such thing as a military backed government or the antonym of it? Military is like any other integral part of a state machinery like the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive branches of a modern state. The government and military are mutually inclusive and they “back” each other. Isn't it the same in London , Washington and Beijing?
Can a government afford to have a military which does not support it, conversely can a military justify its existence without enjoying the support of the government! A government without active support of the military will suffer from hypoxia and a military devoid of support from the government will probably fall victim to asphyxia .
Having said that, a question might appear whether the present caretaker government is enjoying a bit more support than the ordinary. To me, the answer is both Yes and No. Yes, because in the absence of an elected, constitutional authority some “extra- celestial” power is needed to propel things. And No, because although the uniformed personnel might be a bit more visible nowadays than at normal times, they are not directly engaged in running the day to day affairs of the state.
Our military officers today are well educated, highly disciplined and internationally acclaimed, having exposure to international environment. It bears self pride. Yet, the military is well aware of its limits and respectful of its limitations under a democratic system. What happened in January last was in response to a higher calling! And such sacred duties are matters better perceived and understood than being openly discussed. The military acted with prudence and resilience. One should also note the quick response of the army to dismantle the camp on the campus. They displayed genuine sincerity.
Sun Tzu had listed five dangerous faults which may affect a commander. Two among those are: if quick-tempered, he can be provoked to rage and make a fool of himself; if he has too delicate a sense of honour, he is liable to fall into a trap because of an insult. Wise sayings indeed!
We all know and believe that there will be elections by the end of 2008. What we don't know is what would be the composition of parliament. Known unknowns. But what we don't know at this stage is that we don't know how things would shape up before the next elections.
Unknown unknowns!

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