Friday, July 31, 2015

Royal Armed Forces belongs to CPP? Constitutionally no, Politically yes

[Image Phnom Penh Post Khmer]
By Khmer Wathanakam

Since Hun Sen has summoned his top military and police officers to pay their loyalty to him in order to protect the constitution, his legitimate government, and to crackdown on all kinds of suspected color revolution, Hun Sen's speech has been echoed by many government spokesmen including defense minister Tea Banh, but a more brazen claim from a four-stars General, Chea Dara, declared that the Royal Armed Forces belong to CPP because Hun Sen supports, raises, and leads the armed forces is deviating too far. What Chea Dara has said is tantamount to a constitutional coup, for Cambodian constitution states that the Royal Armed Forces belong to the nation, not any leader or a party.  Thus those military officers who dared to profess their loyalty to any leader or political party while they get salaries from tax payers (the People), they should relinquish their position and title and go to work for those leaders and parties. There is no space for politics in the army and police in any democratic country.  They must be neutral and independent from all political parties.  They pledge allegiance to no one but the constitution and the nation. Without such a principle in their minds, those military and police officers would be the private police and army officers who being used as tools to protect the interests of a specific leader and political party, not the nation and constitution.  Consequently, the military and police institutions will lose their integrity and trust from the people. To preserve the integrity and neutrality of these key national institutions, all police and military officers from the top to the low ranks should publicly declare themselves as neutral and independent from all political parties and leaders; they should not brazenly declared themselves loyal to any party even the ruling party but only to the nation and the constitution since the political parties and leaders can be changed or lost power in every election, but the nation and constitution will last forever no matter which party win or lose the election.  What Gen. Chea Dara said suggests that he doesn't understand a difference between the national institution and political party.

As trained and educated under an authoritarian and a de facto communist regime, Gen. Chea Dara may be indoctrinated to be faithful to only his party and leader. As a deputy commander in chief of the Royal Armed Forces, he should not publicly declare his allegiance to the ruling party or claim the armed forces belong to any party or leader but to the nation and the people. He has seen no differences among the political party, the government, and the armed forces, only the communist country that the party controls the armed forces, polices and other government apparatuses.  Even Mr. Chim Phalvirun, a CPP's spokesman, tried to defend Chea Dara's statement,  assuming that to protect a ruling party means to protect the government since the party runs the government. In fact, the constitution never mentions about any party or the ruling party but the nation and the people. In this case, Chea Dara and Chim Phalvirun have confused with a notion of the ruling party, the government, and the nation. To protect the nation doesn't mean to protect the ruling party; the nation belongs to all people while the ruling party belongs to only a particular group of people.  Thus to protect the ruling party means to protect only a particular group of the people, but to protect the nation means to protect all the people regardless which party or group they belong to.  Hence, the armed forces have a duty to protect the nation and all people not any party or ruling party.

As Hun Sen and his military officers have echoed repeatedly their duty to protect the legitimate government and the constitution has recalled what had happened in the past during the post-election crisis as protests got more momentum caused Hun Sen more fearful of losing his power grip.  To guarantee his wielding power,  he needed reassurance of loyalty from the armed forces.  Then from defense minister, Tea Banh, interior minister Sar Kheng, and national military police commander, Sao Sokha released a number of statements, declaring to defend the constitution and the post-election government created by the CPP.  To reward their loyalty, Hun Sen promoted 20 additional four-star Generals.  Now the number of Cambodian four-star Generals are more than the number of US's four- star Generals.  The US's Army, Navy, Marine, and Air forces combined have only 20 four-star Generals when the US has a total number of armed forces more than 1.3 million personnel in active duty while other 800,000 personnel in reserve (source Wikipedia).  For Cambodian armed forces, they have at least 25 four-star Generals excluding military police and police Generals.  But Cambodia has total number of armed forces just 125,000 personnel in active duty and 200,000 personnel in reserve ( source Wikipedia).  However, Hun Sen tried to promote more four-star military Generals  to protect his power and to divide a line of command and control in order to inhibit a possible military coup against him from some unknown disloyal four-star Generals.  In case of  military coup attempt, if more than half of those four-star Generals still loyal to him, there is more unlikely the coup successful.  So the more four-star Generals he has, the better protection for himself but the most wasteful and extravagant for the national budget.

In short, is the armed forces belong to CPP? Constitutionally, is no but politically, is yes. What Gen. Chea Dara has claimed is not a joke but indicates a true situation in Cambodia where all armed forces, police, courts, and other national institutions including royal palace and religion institutions are strictly controlled by Hun Sen and his ruling party, CPP.  Look at how a judicial system operates and handle the cases of opposition activists, Chouk Bandidh, Sok Bun, Heng Pov, Tong Sarath..., how the military and police officers behave and speak publicly about their loyalty to the CPP, and most of them even the members of the CPP's Central Committee.  Accordingly, they have to show their faith and supports for the ruling party and to appease Hun Sen in order to earn their titles and statuses; they are not the professional military officers who got well trained and indoctrinated to serve and to protect their nation and their people but only to appease and worship their supreme leader, Hun Sen, while the national sovereignty and territorial integrity are being threatened and encroached by Vietnam, and there is no four-star Generals or Hun Sen dare to look at the border situation.  But instead, Hun Sen ordered his armed thugs ready to attack his own peaceful people who were courageous to confront with the odious Vietnamese people and soldiers who have systematically encroached Cambodian land.  The situation along Cambodia-Vietnam border has even clearly confirmed that Cambodian armed forces belong to the CPP because when Cambodian territory was violated by its neighbor (Vietnam), the Cambodian defense minister and commanders have said nothing about it but to swear their loyalty to the ruling party, threatened their own people about imaginary color revolution that causes awed strike for their leader. They don't pay attention about their constitutional duty to defend and protect the national sovereignty.

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