Articles, Opinions & Views: Murder and service in the armed forces - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) 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

Photobucket
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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Murder and service in the armed forces - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, August 25, 2018

Malaysiakini : "They complained of exhaustion while carrying out the training and were given rest in the detention room. They were experiencing vomiting, exhaustion and shortness of breath," – statement on the deaths of Mohd Baihaqi Nik Mat, 28, and Muhammad Lailatulman Mohd Sukri, 26.
That quote was the statement that followed the deaths of two seamen last year. All of this should sound familiar, especially if you have been keeping up with the work of human rights lawyers Latheefa Koya and N Surendran. Two political operatives who actually seem to be serving the country, instead of making grand statements to galvanise the base.
In this case, three uniformed personnel were remanded to help in the investigations into the deaths of these two servicemen. Post-mortems on these young seamen revealed signs of abuse and injuries, which necessitated a reclassification from the original findings to murder.
Navy chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin (photo) said he would cooperate with the police. Then defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Twitter no less, "I have instructed the RMN (Navy) to provide its full cooperation to the police in their investigations. Nothing will be hidden. That is my promise".
If you think that this points to a happy ending in this case, you would be wrong. There is always a familiar pattern. A service person dies. This is followed by statements that it was part of a training exercise. Then the family points to suspicious circumstances and then (maybe) there is an investigation. The usual assurance from the political establishment that there would be no cover-ups.
I keep rereading Latheefa’s piece on the death of J Soosaimanickam and cannot help but feel frustrated at how the Royal Malaysian Navy has morphed into something unrecognisable. Many former service people feel this way. Everything about Soosai’s death – like those before him – reeks of the uncaring attitude of the establishment and points to the systemic dysfunction of the armed services.
When people die in this country especially when it is linked to the state security apparatus most times, the cause is "sudden death". If you want to know why people distrust the security service in this country, you do not have to look far. The familiarity of Soosai's death – like those who were murdered while in service to this country – is an indictment on the way how the Ministry of Defence operates.
Just last month, Surendran said it was unacceptable for Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman to say to the family that the probe was completed and the family should wait for the results. This after Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had ordered that a probe conducted into the death of Soosai.
'These are not rich, privileged kids' 
This would mean a new probe because, as Surendren correctly pointed out, the admiral was relying on the old probe which did not even call the family of Soosai, who had evidence that the young man had been murdered. "In the so-called 'investigation' carried out by the Navy earlier, which Kamarulzaman now relies upon, the family members of Soosaimanickam (photo) were not even called to give evidence or have their statements recorded.
"Yet, the Navy was fully aware that the family members were in possession of crucial evidence regarding Soosaimanickam's death, as this had been conveyed by the family to Navy officials," Surendran had said.
Someone asked me if this was a race or class issue when it comes to these types of murder in the military. I honestly do not know. Maybe just more of the latter. These are not rich, privileged kids who are murdered. They are (mostly) from the working class who want to make a better life for themselves and their families and, are no doubt, motivated to serve their country.
When people belong to a certain economic bracket and they die, the people who do the covering up understand that their families have extremely limited avenues to turn to get some form of justice and redress. They know that there are “bigger issues” that the public hankers after than poor kids who die during physical training.
This kind of thinking is the foundation on which corrupt systems thrive. These deaths and the corruption endemic in these types of systems carry on because the public is more interested in the scandals and corruption of the political elite. The death of Altantuya holds more public interest than the murder of servicemen.
The irony, of course, is that the public would be mortified at how deep the corruption is in the security apparatus and how dangerous such corruption is because it literally jeopardises the security of this country.
I know physical training. Over the years, I have put my men through the ringer. I know many officers who have done the same. Even if these men died during physical training, the responsibility for their deaths falls to the officers in charge.
Why? Because obviously, these officers did not care about the men under their charge. I cared for the men I had authority over. And that’s really the issue here, isn’t it? The military establishment does not care for the people under its authority.
I know that there are many people within the military establishment who are worried at the state of the armed services. The lack of discipline, the lack of basic amenities, the lack of basic equipment, the decline of standards which we used to be proud of, and of course, the systemic corruption.
There are many officers who attempt to maintain some sort of standard and honour in their own units but the reality is that like all systems connected with the former regime – and this is not solely Najib’s fault – there is a rot in the system and these deaths are, in effect, a physical manifestation of how wretched the system has become.
Latheefa is right (again) when she talks about the hypocrisy of the pomp and pageantry of Merdeka celebrations. When young people are murdered while attempting service to this country, there is nothing to be proud of when it comes to Merdeka or regime change.
If Mat Sabu is really interested in reforming the ministry he is in charge of, then he should have the interest of the young people who live and die in service to this country and not be seduced by the military establishment which has other priorities.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:55 PM  
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