AFTER THE KILINOCHCHI DEBACLE
(1998 October 07)
Contrary to what the government propaganda machinery is trying to tell the people it cannot be denied that the
LTTE commemorated the death of Dileepan by gaining control of the Kilinochchi defence area. However the armed forces
have entered Mankulama and the tactics of the LTTE are not very clear. Are they preparing for a major assault on
Jaffna or on one or more of the camps at Paranthan, Ali Mankada and Mankulam which surround Kilinochchi? In any
case the armed forces will have to do some thinking in the next few days.
The UNP, which tried to gain a political mileage out of the Kilinochchi debacle, did not succeed. However the entire Jayasikuru operation has had major problems and the government will have to do something to keep the morale of the armed forces, and the public in general, high. It cannot be achieved by not presenting the correct picture to the public or by getting army personnel to give wrong information.
The censorship imposed by the government is not effective as information is filtered in through the foreign news agencies and the internet. On the other hand the armed forces which are aware of what is happening will lose confidence when they come to know what is being told in the government media. The best policy would be to tell the people the truth and nothing but the truth on the outcome of operations. It is not the strategy or the tactics that people want to know but the actual results of the operations.
The government is reluctant to do so, as it has no confidence in the people. There are many reasons for that state of affairs. Neither the PA government nor the UNP governments have told the people, what they wanted to achieve through the military operations. In fact it would be correct to say that they have not even told the army what they are expected to do.
The government is supposed to give the political leadership to the operations and not the military leadership. The present day rulers differ from the ancient kings in this respect. When king Dutugemunu led the army to fight the invaders (he did not fight Elara as some Tamil racists, NGO's and some university historians try to make out, it was not a war between two kings but a war between the Chola or some other invader and the Sinhala people who wanted to liberate their country) he gave the political leadership as well as the military leadership. He was at the war front in person at all times and not only when the Rupavahini camera was in the vicinity. He told the people and the soldiers in very clear terms what he had in mind.
The aim was very clear. Defeat the invader completely and protect the Buddha Sasana. No so-called political solutions, no peace talks with or without conditions; with or without facilitators and mediators. Fight the war to the end to defeat the enemy.
The present day politicians do not have to take part in military operations. They have only to give the correct political leadership. But what is happening in Sri Lanka today is that no political leadership is given by the politicians and instead they are trying to decide on the strategies and tactics. It is not a case of defeating the enemy to protect Buddha Sasana or the Unitary state or some grand ideal but a matter of devising a strategy for the next presidential election. There is no political leadership but only a political agenda.
The army is always in two states of mind. A journalist has called this a war and the NGO bandwagon goes on repeating the inhuman nature of the war thus demoralising the armed forces. There is the never-ending talk of negotiations with the LTTE. These peace talks are the preoccupation of the NGO funded peace merchants. They sell peace for Dollars, Pounds and Scandinavian money. The army, especially the top brass, continues to get two contradictory signals.
The army and the public are told that the Tamils have grievances when they do not have any and when their leaders themselves admit that there are no grievances. A so-called political solution is presented to solve these grievances. Then the public is also told that it is a war for peace and the Tamils have to be weaned away from the LTTE. One of the implications is that the LTTE has to be weakened but not annihilated.
It is the LTTE, which thrives on this situation. They are not in two minds. They have a goal to achieve. Prabhakaran and his generation have been told by his political uncles and granduncles that the Tamils are under the Sinhala imperialists, that the British in 1948 gave independence only to the Sinhala people and that the Tamil kingdom was given over to the Sinhala people and that they have to liberate the Tamil Eelam from the Sinhala imperialists. The TULF has propagated this myth, which has become the opium of the Tamil youth. The LTTE finds no problem in recruiting the youth using this mythical "patriotic cause".
The Sri Lankan army and the Sinhala people have been continuously reminded that the 'war' is unjust. If at all the propaganda by the NGO's and the government media will make the army to throw their arms and desert. The Sinhala people, especially the Buddhists are blamed for the so-called grievances of the Tamils and as a result they have been made to feel guilty for the situation in the country. Anybody who tries to say anything against the NGO, Tamil racist and non-national ideological hegemony is immediately branded as a Chauvinist.
Few months ago the army was engaged in a recruitment programme. During the same time the non-national lobby was going from school to school discouraging students from joining the armed forces! They campaigned against the so-called war. As a result the Sinhala people as a nation are suffering from some kind of schizophrenia. But these non-national forces will never campaign amongst the Tamils opposing the 'war'. If they are so concerned about the hardships caused to the Tamils by the fighting all they have to do is to request Prabhakaran to lay down arms.
The government goes on telling the public that a large amount of money is spent on the "war". They claim that 25 percent of the budget is spent on the ministry of defence. In Sri Lanka the police and even the department of customs come under the ministry of defence and there are many questions raised as to the validity of the above figure. However even if one were to assume that figure for the sake of argument one has to point out that it is not only the money that matters in this connection. In the absence of a correct political leadership, a political awareness given to the soldiers, a will to crush the LTTE, a campaign using the media to instil a patriotic consciousness among the people, making the people to become identified with the soldiers in one way or the other, these military operations will drag on.
It is essential that the government gives the correct political leadership and then leave the army high command to work out the military strategy. However in order to do that one has to first identify the problem. As long as the problem is seen as an ethnic problem no correct political leadership cannot be given. The problem is due to Tamil racism created by the British. After more than a century a section of the Tamil racists have taken up arms against the state to create an Eelam.
There is no doubt that we have a political problem, which is in need of a political solution. However, it does not mean that the political solution has to be a 'political package' or a draft constitution. Political solutions of this nature are good only if there are grievances that have to be solved. The political solutions, from the Bandaranaike- Chelvanayakam pact to the provincial councils have not solved any such problem. If there were any grievances then by now all these pacts and amendments to the constitution would have solved them. But all that we can see is the pageant of the Tamil racists demanding more and more according to their policy of 'little now and more later' and gradually getting closer to their aspiration of a Tamil Eelam, supported by the western Christian countries.
A misconception has been created among the people by the non-national forces that a political solution has to be in the form a package or a draft constitution. It need not be so. Even military solutions are political solutions. Packages, Constitutions, military operations are all different forms of political solutions. In certain cases the political solution takes the form of military operations. In Sri Lanka at present we have a political problem where a section of the Tamil racists have taken up arms against the state. The political solution to this particular political problem is the annihilation of the LTTE using the armed forces. After all, war is continuation of politics by other means. If war is such, then military operations against a terrorist organisation that has taken up arms to create a separate state cannot be anything other than a political solution.
While we bow our heads in respect of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country we should realise that the only political solution to the Tamil racist problem is military operations against the LTTE. If the Sinhala people, leaving aside the NGO's, can at least agree on this in the wake of the Kilinochchi debacle then we would have achieved much.