Articles, Opinions & Views: What the opposition can learn from the fall of Saddam by Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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What the opposition can learn from the fall of Saddam by Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, July 14, 2016
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”  - Aldous Huxley, ‘Collected Essays’
Malaysiakini : Only Umno propagandists could liken the plight of their chosen potentate to the toppling of a genocidal dictator by foreign intervention.'s attempt to contextualise Umno’s current political turmoil because of foreign intervention, and that ultimately regret would be what is waiting for those who partake in displacing Umno, should appeal to a certain section of their demographic and I am not talking about the stereotypical “rural Malay” that oppositional types like to bandy about.
I am talking about middle-class, educated Umno/BN supporters who would ignore greater Islamic malfeasances - although to be fair to Saddam Hussein, he was a contradiction of secularism and virulent sectarianism unlike your average Islamic dictator - in favour of advancing the populist neo-colonialism American narrative which most of these regimes use to sustain political hegemony.
This is not new. In fact, the New Straits Times attempted the same a couple of years back. Here is a recap for those who may have forgotten this sordid episode from an article of mine in response to this manufactured outrage:
“Under the vomit-inducing headline of 'Plot to destabilise the government', the New Straits Times (who I believe are propagators of a plot to destabilise rational thinking) outlined a chilling scenario of a motley group of new media types (which includes Malaysiakini) and social activist organisations who are apparently being funded by a nebulous American entity to destabilise the government and the implication being, to create chaos ... CHAOS, I tell you, in Malaysia.
“You know they are scraping the bottom of the credibility barrel when they quote Just World president Chandra Muzaffar who gravely intones that NED (National Endowment for Democracy, the nebulous American entity in question) is responsible for funding NGOs in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria 'in the name of democratic freedom with the objective of making people rise up against leaders who were allegedly deemed to be cruel.'"
However, here is the thing. I am not interested in debunking this latest round of horse manure from the cauldrons of Putrajaya. Anyway, anyone who thinks that the regret of the man whose family was butchered by Saddam, looking back in fondness of the despot’s tenure is anything but some sort of post-traumatic stress, should have their heads examined.
While I have never claimed even in my most polemical articles that Umno is some sort of genocidal Islamic regime and I do think it is odious to attempt to find any kind of commonality between the possible toppling of the Najib regime and the Saddam regime, but since the Umno propagandist have opened that door, why not run with it?
I am not interested in pointing out how the regime is going the way of every other Islamic regime - I have been ranting about that for years - but I do think that the opposition could learn a few lessons about “regime change” from the American experience.
In 2012, Stephen M Walt’s contentious article ‘Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq war’ was published in the Foreign Policy magazine. As with these types of articles, some folks agreed while others did not. Although I had some issues with it, even then I thought there was some applicability to how the opposition operates or should operate.
What constitutes a meaningful win?
While the author of the article lists 10 reasons, I have only included eight that I thought applicable to the Malaysian oppositional context.
Lesson #1: The United States lost. “The first and most important lesson of Iraq war is that we didn’t win in any meaningful sense of that term.” What constitutes a meaningful win if the opposition ever gets control of the federal government? Will the opposition amend laws that create economic, social, racial and religious disparity amongst Malaysians? Will the opposition slay sacred cows or nurture them for their own purposes? Is changing the system the reason for regime change or merely replacing the current BN line-up with a more acceptable less corrupt counterpart?
These are not questions that can or should be dismissed with an ABU (Anything but Umno) slogan. These are difficult questions because political expediency, Umno malfeasance and a fractured opposition comprised of divergent interests ensure that only the most easily digestible political bromides are used in lieu of concrete, complex and perhaps politically disadvantageous policy ideas that ultimately would move the country into progressive waters.
Lesson #2: It’s not that hard to hijack the United States into a war. “The Iraq war reminds us that if the executive branch is united around the idea of war, normal checks and balances - including media scrutiny - tend to break down.”
This relates to personality politics and the reality that small but influential power brokers or mongers operate with impunity and lead the opposition and its supporters down ruinous paths. We have to look no further that the disastrous Selangor menteri besar power struggle - the ill-fated ‘Kajang Move’.
The internal politics of the opposition is rarely scrutinised. Instead, the opposition relies on personalities to maintain stability instead of adherence to common principles and policies. The passing of Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat fractured the opposition and PAS. The jailing of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim nearly destroyed Pakatan.
Moreover, today, we have the possibility of a snap election in an effort to demonstrate that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng still has support as if this was ever in doubt.
Lesson #3: The United States gets in big trouble when the "marketplace of ideas" breaks down and when the public and our leadership do not have an open debate about what to do. “Given the stakes involved, it is remarkable how little serious debate there actually was about the decision to invade.”
I have written about this before. The partisan nature of the alternative media and the disastrous consequences it has when it comes to debating issues and ideas.
“This does not mean I don't subscribe to the concept of a ‘marketplace of ideas’ which is dependent on freedom of expression, which has always been constrained here in Malaysia, the press being the prime example. Of course, the ‘alternative media' is slowly becoming one big echo chamber (if it's not already) and any real objective analysis gets in the way of the business of reinforcing bias.
“However, what this has created is the perception that the alternative media has the monopoly on the truth and everything from the mainstream media is a pack of state sanctioned lies. This perception is passed off as an axiom by proponents of the alternative media in any discussion on the state of the fourth estate in this country, which has led to the inevitable ‘us vs them' mentality in which name calling, with choice epithets like ‘pariah’ and ‘prostitute’ is substitute for rational debate.”
In other words, do not drink the kool aid.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 7:17 PM  

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