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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2557

Whose advising the Forces now?

By 'A Patabendi'

A fearless President with his Tri Services Commanders, led Sri Lanka to victory after 26 years of terror on 19 May 2009.In the face of daunting adversity, he never gave up. The cost was about 100,000 lives of troops, civilians and terrorists. Complete peace reigned thereafter.

While massive, unprecedented development projects that changed the face of SL were undertaken he unfortunately did not rule wisely or well thereafter. He was deservedly drubbed while attempting one election too many. His place and that of the military leaders who brought victory will never be forgotten in the history of the SL, although it is said that the evil that men do, lives after them too. Many of his close colleagues now face the full force of the law for their gross misdeeds.

All over the world, from Korea to Iraq military forces are advised by experienced Generals with high level training teams.SL has been so advised in the past. However who is now giving gratuitous advice after the job is done and total victory achieved? The sweeping advice given in Jaffna in March was for the troops not to live in the past but look to the future. This was given not by a 5 star General but a politician whose sole experience was to lead a Corps of Appeasers with diplomatic cover from the West, to beguile his countrymen that the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) he signed without the authority of the then President with SL’s Hitler in 2001 could trade peace for an illusion of sovereignty? Hundreds of troops and innocent villagers and some political leaders died thereafter while the agreement was in force. Is that a qualification or disqualification?

A few weeks before that when interviewed by an Indian TV station he stated “In 2005 if the people of Jaffna were allowed to vote, I would have prevented what happened in 2009.There was a deal between Rajapakse and Prabakaran.That’s well known…..We could have had a resolution”! What more is needed to know that on the banks of the Nandikadal in May 2009 SL was saved from an apocalypse by ‘resolution’ by its valiant sons and daughters in the uniform of the nation.

“Appeasers are those who feed the crocodile hoping they will be the last.” – (Winston Churchill – of whom, Singapore’s late Lee Kwan Yew, in including him amongst the 3 world leaders he most admired in the recent past, said: “because any other person would have given up”.

The Corps had one division with 3 brigadiers called Grandpass, Madawachchi and Pamankada. They, from the sanctuary of Parliament, delighted in mocking the Army’s hard fought series of victories in the Wanni in 2008-9. They were a prelude to the final outcome at Nandikadal that was celebrated Island wide and caused wonderment worldwide. Did the ‘Corps’ join? While all SL leaders were targeted for assassination by the LTTE, it appeared that this lot was never. Hence their unforgiveable glee even as the greatest of tragedies was ending. The people with the Forces would not forget.

Like Chamberlain, the ‘Corps’ boss had promised ‘peace in our time’ with a Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) that gave every possible advantage to the terrorists and few if any SL or its forces. The best of SL’s Special Forces (SF) cover was blown to bits in 2001. They had earlier, by taking out targets like the LTTE’s Air Wing Commander Shanker more than 30 kms inside LTTE territory, shaken the heavily guarded and fortified ‘no go’ sanctuaries of the LTTE. The mother of all betrayals resulted in over 20 very experienced and not easily replaced SF men who had specialized in deep penetration, being murdered by the LTTE mainly in Colombo and Batticaloa.

This was never acknowledged or grieved over by the then rulers except for one Minister. The treacherous, politically skewed police officer responsible was not punished. His was a brown nose response to the familiar ‘coup’ story that follows every election that the ‘Corps’ wins. That time it was supposed to be thermo baric weapon assassination of a single person. No wonder the UN and its promoters accuse SL of also using cluster and canister bombs too? One of the accused was late Suriyaarachchi MP, a close ally of a former SLFP Minister who is once again a Minister.

Consequently LTTE suicide bombers practiced their primary trade with impunity and abandon, causing many high profile deaths in Colombo itself. Terrorists in the guise of so called political activists were permitted by a one sided CFA to set up base in Colombo. There was no reciprocation. Did the Corps worry? History must record this perfidy for posterity.

The previous time the ‘Corps’ had been in appeasement mode was when a President treacherously gifted an abundance of weapons, ammo, cash and cement to the LTTE in 1990. With this the LTTE developed a formidable conventional warfare ability that in time threatened to overrun Jaffna itself. The President then mixing bravado and pique, a worn out, if also very silly party leadership trait (or trick?) ordered the IPKF out of SL. Later, a Defence Secretary when requested by LTTE spokesman Pulendran for berthing facilities for the Sea Tigers in Trincomalie, without pausing for breath, immediately said he had no objection. He then put the call across to the Navy Commander who was present. The furious Navy Commander immediately told the Defence Secretary ‘why don’t you ask him to come to Navy HQ too’?

The ‘Corps’ boss used to promising even chewing gum as a benefit of appeasement may have thought that those troops who forced smiles at his wise cracks that pass for humour, have forgotten.

Was it forgotten that the conflict was started by ill advised remarks by President Jayawardene who in 1977 said ‘If the Tamils want war they can have it’. Did he know he was declaring war on his own people? The 1983 ‘race riots’ turned a splintered insurgency with about 30 cadres into a popular, well supported and very formidable terrorist force that had not only a sea but uniquely a nascent air wing in addition to its estimated 30,000 land cadres by 2009.

Where were the ‘Corps’ during these tumultuous times? None of the party faithful were to be seen anywhere as mobs ran amok in the Capital first and then other towns and cities without any restraint from the custodians of law and order. At Ratmalana airport, then serving as a ‘refugee’ (displaced people) center, run effectively and generously by Sarvodya’s AT Ariyaratne, Minister Athulathmudali was challenged to say which ‘government‘he represented. A party that had come into power with a 4/5th majority, hid like mice from its supporters who were wreaking mayhem in the Capital. The then President said on TV in Sinhala it was justifiable revenge for the 13 soldiers killed in an ambush in Jaffna. The next day was ‘koti’ (Tiger) Friday when more defenseless Tamils were killed Island wide. No one has ever been punished for these atrocities.

Is it a wonder that the Chief Minister of the North, a new recruit to the irresponsible rabble rousing leadership traits of SL politicians, cries forlornly and plaintively of ‘Genocide’ ?

Can those who caused violations of SL’s security and defences by the terrorists, ever advise the Forces? Especially for the Forces to forget the past? They will not. It cost 100,000 lives. It allowed the Indians to invade SL and shamelessly guarantee the safety of the benumbed President with Indian war ships hovering off the Galle Face Green. With it he was able to stare down the despondent and agitated Tri Service Commanders assembled at the Presidential Secretariat as he made his announcement of virtual capitulation.

A naval rating settled part of the score by nearly felling the Indian PM while the latter was reviewing a guard of honor. That was the discipline of the ‘Corps’ then! Nattily dressed Modi must have been shivering in his sandals when he did a repeat inspection last month while the international media waited in great but disappointed anticipation.

While the punishment for bribery and corruption must be enforced rigorously who will enforce the law for those guilty of helping and also collaborating with the enemy and for treason? Will SL seek answers from the banks of Nandikadal by Mullativu, Killinochchi, both now ear marked for accelerated development, and Elephant Pass where the majority of the 6,000 soldiers who died in Eelam IV laid down their lives?

Or will it submit to the last outpost of the Imperialists, the UN that has been invited to root around looking for clues to nail SL’s own? Will they know it all started in 1983 when those who now invite them were in roaring ,unbridled power, declaring war not on the LTTE but the Tamils, stoning judges’ residences, walloping striking trade unionists and even championing an international criminal in their search for any hero by calling him SL’s ‘first airline hijacker’? Will anyone in SL and not only the forces that turned that dreadful defeatist past into glorious and brilliant victory, forget that?

- Asian Tribune –

President Rajapaksa returning from Jordan on the 16th of May 2009,  seen kissing the floor indicating   an  the official announcement that the war has been won.
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