By S. Sivathasan –
Aftermath of World War II
To consolidate the peace dividend, very high on the agenda of the principal warring nations was demobilization. The end of the War demanded it from early May 1945 and earnest steps were in motion by June, the same year. It would suffice to examine facts and figures of two nations which were allies in war and then partners in the peace process. They were USA & UK. What was the objective? To stop the drain of resources into unproductive channels; to give a fresh lease of life to war weary soldiers; integrate them into civil society and to convert them into productive resources. Demobilization was the formula and it was implemented. Such a step was treated as basic to bringing the needed balance to take the economy forward.
The number serving in the US military in 1939 was 334,000. Compulsions of war on two fronts – Europe and East Asia – took the numbers 36 time higher to 12.209 million by early 1945. The military comprised; Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guards. The imperatives of peace called for relentless demobilization and the size of the forces was scaled down to 1.566 million, in just two years. This number by June 1947 was a mere 12.9% of what it was in June 1945.
US meant business. Not wasting time inordinately on war memories, never invoking material losses and the human cost for years on end, she set about rebuilding the nation’s economy. Neither did she venture on whipping up anti German hysteria nor anti Japan animosity to boost a vainglorious spirit of triumphalism. Demobilizing 10.7 million men and women, reorienting their skills for development challenges and converting manufacturing capacity from military hardware to meeting consumer needs. Several other efforts were launched to effect a sea change. They helped transform the American psyche and their economy. To the war torn economy dismantling excessive weight of the military machine was fundamental and this was done.
Compulsions for UK
Severe destruction of physical infrastructure, unprecedented loss of life, virtual disintegration of the social order and all the convulsions of war called for a massively transfigured UK with the advent of peace. Demobilization was inescapable to give the nation the wherewithal for this effort. The government refused to befuddle Britons of a prancing Nazi in every German home or the phantom of World War III looming in the horizon. Neither did it try to invoke fright of a deluge and to make a Noah’s Arc to stand in readiness for an invasion. With absolute honesty of purpose UK set out to have a rebuilt nation and a refurbished societal order.
Putting the scalpel on the spot of redundancy was the way to pare off excess fat. What best but to demobilize? From 100 to 16 was the result. In mid-1939, UK’s Armed Forces had 480.000 personnel. In June 1945 actual strength was 5,090,000. In June 1946 it was brought down to 2,030,000. End 1948 saw further scaling down to 810,000, which was 15.9%.
The British never saw such trimming as disregarding war heroes or as un-employing the employed. Nor was there a thought of keeping the cadres in the same strength because the economy couldn’t absorb them elsewhere. Neither did they provide 56% more finances in 1946, the very first year after war ended. This was what Sri Lanka did for 2010 by providing Rs 98 billion more soon after the war. The tempo has been maintained in ever spiraling mode since. For what purpose? Taking the Defence provision from Rs 175 billion to Rs 306 billion between 2009 and 2016 is Sri Lanka’s performance. Did the British carry the boat they used to cross and a borrowed one (loan funded) at that?
The UK Government’s concern was to give a respite to the weary and weather-beaten soldiers, to integrate them with their families and with society and to create for them meaningful avenues of employment. To mobilize finances, demobilization was the first choice or compulsion. Hence the reduction of the military to 1/7 it’s size, in three and a half years. American funding and Marshall Aid were to come later.
The cast iron dictatorship of Stalin saw no wisdom in demobilization. Wanting to be despotic till eternity, the same strength of about 12 million in 1945 was continued. With no thought of extending the peace dividend to the people, the war machine continued to be primed without abatement. The Cold War was supposed to require it. The warm air let in by Gorbachev through Perestroika (party reform) and Glasnost (openness) withered the dictatorship and USSR ceased to be a monolith.
About the economic collapse of the Soviet Union, the proud boast of the capitalist West was that they had “spent the Soviet Union into the grave”. This price of Russian militarism matching the spending of the West, was based on an economy half its size.
Sri Lanka continues to enjoy her cold comfort, despite war’s end and regime change in January 2015 reinforced further in August. Maithripala’s Perestroika and Ranil’s Glasnost have little effect on spending pattern.
Sri Lanka’s Evasion through Avoidance
Elusive Demobilization has eluded the nation’s governance hierarchy for the 7th successive year now. The nation’s tryst with reality has been avoided for long. Has the military become too slippery to catch or to hold? The budget 2010 far from failing to reduce military spending, increased Rs175 Billion of 2009 to Rs 273 Billion in 2010. This figure is reported in the public domain as ‘Appropriated Endowment’.
The figure of Rs 285 Billion in 2015 has escalated to Rs 306 Billion for 2016. It must be noted however that Ministry of Defence allocation includes several Departments and Boards other than military. When they are excluded, defence proper may have around Rs 250 billion in 2015 and about Rs 265 billion in 2016. This amount is unwarranted. It is heart rending that there has been little change in government policy to rebalance priorities and to alter fund allocation.
Since all data for 2016 are not readily available, I take the 2015 figures for examination. Out of Rs 250 billion, votes for the armed forces for both Recurrent and Capital are as follows:
Army Rs 139.564 billion
Navy Rs 50.450 billion
Air Force Rs 38.416 billion
Total Rs 228.564 billion
May it be known that out of this total, Rs 150,398 billion or 65.8% is taken up by: Salaries Rs62.538 billion; Overtime& Holiday Pay 0.975 billion and Other Allowances Rs. 86.890 billion.
It is amazing to know that Allowances exceed Salaries by 40%. More astonishing is the fact that Rs 150.398 billion paid to an estimated 300,000 military personnel, works out to an average of Rs 500,000 per person per year? Is this what Milovan Djilas called New Class? At this cost, should an obese military be kept without any thought of downsizing?
Path of Least Resistance
Is it necessary at all to keep the military at the same level or in growing mode? Even if attrition of war heroes is made equal to superannuation, annual exit rate will be 10,000. This would have made 60,000 in 6 years. But none of it as policy or programme was ever considered.
What are the casualties? To take just two, Health and Education. Health had a provision of Rs 181.894 billion for Recurrent and Capital in 2015. This includes Health Activities of Provincial Councils at Rs 39.071 billion.
For Education, total allocation to the Ministry in 2015 was Rs 47.600 billion. For educational activities of Provincial Councils it was Rs 98.209 billion. Thus total for General Education Sector was Rs145.809 billion.
Who will not say that Health and Education have suffered discrimination contrasted to indiscriminate partiality towards Defence. What the country needs is radical readjustment. Path of least resistance leads but to the grave.
Sengodan. M / October 27, 2015
A huge military is the largest white elephant in the country, totally unproductive and at the same time consuming heavy resources!
Obviously the military has become ‘too slippery to catch or hold’!
This is a dangerous trend and could possibly lead to a well organised coup in the not too distant future!
S.Modaya / October 27, 2015
Military run businesses are bad for the Discipline of the military and represent mission creep and mandate creep that promotes corruption and rent seeking in the military. This is what has happened in Pakistan which is almost a failed state with Al Quida running amok there.
But the Sinhala Moda Nationalism of Mahinda Jarapassa is like a virus that infects the whole corrupt political culture in Sri Lanka and prevents demobilization.
Mahinda Jarapassa is using Sinhala Modaya nationalism and the Geneva vote to DISTRACT people from his and his family’s corruption and criminality.
He is also using moda Sinhala Nationalism and Geneva to divide people and play the old game of DIVIDE DISTRACT AND RULE Sinhala Modayas. Ranil Wickramasinghe and Sirisena who are also Modayas have once again fallen in to Jarapassa’s trap and are protecting him and his foul mouthpiece WImal Weerawansa.
Rajapaksa must be tried for corruption and put behind bars. So too his corrupt and foul mouthed mouth piece Wimal Weerawansa. But Ranil and the AG’s office doing opposite?! Today the culture of corruption is going from strength to strength in the parliament of corrupt morons where Ranil Wickramasinghe plays King of the Circus while is twisting the law and undermining the legal process to save crooks like Weerawansa and Mahinda Jarapassa. The AG’s office is useless and not a single criminal and corrupt politician from the Mahinda Jarapassa circle has been tried and convicted so far. Rather Ranil is busy promoting impunity for corrupt politicians and further rotting political culture.
Getafix / October 27, 2015
It seems the Tamils are so intelligent that they despise minorities among their own community …. even their ‘freedom fighters’ quarrelled and split in the middle of the war
Kalupahana / October 28, 2015
SM you are right! The short answer to the question why is there no demobilization of a massive and expensive army? -is the corrupt and moda Sinhala nationalis political culture that is a foul stink in the body politic of Lanka and particularly in the Diya-wenna Parliament of corrupt clowns.
This stink of corrupt nationalism emanates from the Parliament/circus where Ranil Wickramasinghe struts the stage and plays GOD-KING, while making a mockery of the law, to protect Wimal weerawansa and all the other corrupt thugs of MRs circle.
Once again the Sinhala moda masses are being deluded by the Widkramasinghe-Jarapassa duo.. Hope JVP EDUCATES the masses.
Lanka has exchanged one dictator for another- Rajapaksa for Wickramsinghe.
EW Golding / October 27, 2015
It’s not quite that easy. The main reason for not demobilising is unemployment. All the de-mobbed buggers will be jobless and take to crime, burglary and drug trafficking. Gotha tried to use them as a kind of reserve labour force to collect garbage and ‘beautify’ Colombo, but the buggers did not like it and I think a majority (not sure) voted against MR in January and August.
After WW2 there was a huge reconstruction programme all over Europe financed by Marshal Plan money.
S,Sivathasan / October 27, 2015
In the concluding section, I suggested NOT filling vacancies occasioned by attrition would have reduced the military by 60,000 in 6 years.This is with heartburn to none and savings to the state.
You can draw the line at the most rational spot; a military cadre of 200,000 – 220,000 whileand striking a balance against affordability.
Spring Koha / October 27, 2015
If you were a fly on the wall during post-war discussions, you would have heard words to the effect that ‘we cannot abandon our men, our war heroes, now. We need to keep them, and look after them’. In time more ingenious ways were found to keep these trained fighters busy. When I take my morning walk round Vihara Maha Devi Park I see them sweeping and tidying up. An undignified end indeed.
Mr Sivathasan has provided a perfectly workable solution to reducing the numbers, the last regime wouldn’t hear of it, and we are still waiting to see what the present government will do.
Any fears for residual ‘terrorist’ threats should be dealt with by a strong and professional intelligence service. Dissatisfaction and consequent uprising will not be prevented by myriad camps in the north and east, on the contrary.
Getafix / October 27, 2015
Criticise the Government for creating a LTTE scare and create your own coup-d-etat scare….
Samuel / October 27, 2015
That is not only SL, any country millitary cant bring that much so long no civil wars are not the case. But Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and many countries Europe, I have seen millitary of each countries do join programs that help for the development of the country. Even if I dont agree with Gota AND his nature to have abused Milltary for ground work specially his urban beautification projects, to some extent, milltary can be used for the development projects of the country.
Barathan / October 27, 2015
The country may make you correct. Uncontrolled spending will fuel uncontrollable inflation. Unrest will require an ever expanding military. Then what you fear can come to pass.
The country will get the dictator it deserves. Oliver Cromwell or Gaddaafi. Students of history may become witnesses to see the unfolding of history.
kumaran / October 27, 2015
You are quite right! Unfortunately, the Sothern population has some suspicions specially when they hear talk from the diaspora and politicians. The other problem is what do you DO with a large army, once you “stand-them-down”. In England and Europe, there was a lot of re-construction after WWII because under the Marshall Plan, billions of dollars swept into Germany, Japan, England, France etc. Hence, the men of the armed forces jumped at the idea of getting out of the Forces. If ONLY little old Sri Lanka can get funds from the U.N., United States, World bank, etc etc etc., and the DIASPORA we can rush forward with a crash program of investments on various large and medium projects, educating these men in new disciplines, etc. Of course you are right in that we do not need such a large Defense Force. But how do we (1) allay the fears of the large population of the Sinhalese, the Muslims as well as many Tamils that there will never ever be a militant uprising and (2) if we do lay-off these large number of trained and fit men, how will they find work ?! IF only these fears are allayed, and the Diaspora make a start by investing cash and time in Sri Lanka, that would give the impetus for all other Treasuries to open.
Belinda Rani / October 27, 2015
I am beginning to distrust Ranil and Sirisena. Two Hindu temples were vandalized in Batticaloa over the weekend. The navy has not released 200 acres in Sampur. Yahapalanaya is fake.
Vibhushana / October 27, 2015
Well, the current period feels like the post 77 period. Back in 77 the main Tamil party after years of agitation awaits the Parliament to yield to its demands. It goes to the Parliament and takes home DDC.
The wide disparity between what 2/3 majority in Parliament can yield and what the main Tamil party always promises to people. So this obviously creates a tinderbox. The flames of post 77 tinderbox stopped burning just 6 years ago.
Although as if a lesson wasn’t learnt the main Tamil party yet again promises the identical to their electorate.
The govt now is far better position to make it final given its a national govt. So main Tamil party needs to take the expression of finality to their electorate.
We do not know whether the main Tamil party will succeed in keeping a lid down and not blowing it all up again. That is perhaps why the govt is paying for insurance.
So demobilization is like putting cart before the horse. The main Tamil party should to solve their political problem and normalise things before state of the conflict comes to a successful conclusion.
sinhalese buddhist / October 27, 2015
Good question to ask. However there are several significant differences between the SL and the US or the UK experience. One is the nature of the war.
US and UK were not fighting a civil war. Thus they did not have to worry about the enemy re-grouping on their soil, after the defeat of the Japanese and the Germans. Also do not forget that the US in fact imprisoned US citizens of Japanese descent in concentration camps, during the war (interestingly those of German-descent were not).
Another key difference between SL and US is that US benefitted from WWII. Due to the destruction of industry in continental Europe, and the loss of colonial territory/industry for UK, they actually suffered. THe US benefited from this change of the industrial center of the world to the US.
Thus at the end of the war, there were newly established factories to absorb the returning troupes. Also US had inversted a lot in increasing productivity including in research. The exodus of European professionals (Jews included) benefitted the US greatly in these efforts.
As a consequence, the universities in the US benefitted and expanded. THe GI BIll allowed former soldiers to get college degrees for basically free. These in turn fed in to the profssionalzing of these indivduals and increasing the middle class.
In Sri Lanka, while several key individuals profited greatly from the war (Tamils and Sinhalese), most people suffered, as did the economy. The education system also suffered and I’d say worsened, not providing skills necessary for the jobs available in SL. SL has never had the goals of open access to the university (rather we are obsessed with identifying the “Best” students), thus it would be impossible to provide these soldiers with a SL university education to get them in to the middle class.
So what to do?
Another idea to ponder is the impact of PR campaigns that lionized SLA (and the LTTE) by their respective cheer leaders. I believe that these PR machines helped create individuals who have a sense of superiority and act with impunity. A “might is right” approach to life. They also have arms and ammunition of access to thereof. So if these individuals who have been trained to destroy and kill are left with no employment options, what are they likely to become?
In countries more similar to SL, El Salvador, Honduras, these scenarios are being played out in a much more negative manner than the UK and US examples. Ex-military are taking to extortion, gang warfare and drug trafficking – all activities that benefit from the discipline and physical violence that soldiers/paramiltaries are trained in.
I hope SL does not go down that road.
Rajapakse may have been trying to follow the example of China in using military in commercial enterprises, to keep them out of trouble?
Will the civil society groups embrace the soldiers and former paramilitary members to train them in skills that are economically feasible? How about the war widows? Can one embrace all of these individuals without bias and help them engage in legal and non-violent activities? Can we help these individuals deal successfully with the inevitable mental problems they are likely to suffer, such as PTSD?
Is the UN interested in helping us with helping these fellow humans (and Sri Lankans)?
I sure hope so.
Jim softy / October 27, 2015
Tamils are itchy about the forces. Remover from the homeland. Demilitarize. Cut down the numbers.
After few days, come and talk about how great the TamilNAdu is.
Pandaram / October 27, 2015
Since you talk about South India (Tamil Nadu & Kerala) all the time, let me tell you some secret.
In the past, the Jaffna Tamil Vellala elite politicians used to say, the Sinhalese are nothing but low caste South Indians (Kerala, Tamil Nadu & Andara) who got converted into Sinhala-Buddhist.
In the present, the genetic studies show that more than 50% of the Sinhala population is having South Indian genes proving what those Jaffna Tamil Vellala elite politicians said is true.
Now Jim, can you please tell us from which TN tribal area (Dalit) your ancestors came to SL and got converted into Sinhala-Buddhists?
soma / October 28, 2015
Pandarem, so what we see is high cast kneeling down before low caste?
Jim softy / October 28, 2015
What ever they say, There are no Brahmins Tamils in Sri lanka. there can not be.
the highest caste is Vellahla who are tobacco farmers not even paddy farmers.
All those are beliefs and Sri lankan are Buddhists for over 2600 years and We don’t cosider caste as important as Tamils do.
It is Tamils who are from different tribes that fall into different castes. Barbers, toddy tappers, fishermen, who knows so many.
Pandaram / October 28, 2015
“What ever they say, There are no Brahmins Tamils in Sri lanka. there can not be. the highest caste is Vellahla who are tobacco farmers not even paddy farmers.”
First of all, Brahmins are North Indians, there are no Brahmins in South India & Sri Lanka. Those Brahmins settled in South India are not Tamils.
The highest caste is Vellahla tobacco farmers, the low caste Koviya (Tamil converts who were originally Sinhala goviya – paddy farmers) were working as servants in Jaffna to the highest caste Vellahla tobacco farmers. Goviya/Koviya (Sinhala paddy farmers) is a lower caste in Jaffna.
Now Jim softy, can you please tell us from which TN tribal area (Dalit) your ancestors came to SL and got converted into Sinhala-Buddhists?
James / October 28, 2015
You are talking about the Sinhalese of the North who were reduced to become low caste Tamils?
The Koviyars (also lower in caste) as a caste group existed only in Jaffna, and an explanation is that they are descended from the Sinhalese Govigamas. Koviyar a corruption of the Sinhalese word ‘ Goviya’ or ‘Goiya’ and that their original status was equal to that of the Vellalas can be inferred from customs which are still in Vogue in Jaffna. The fate that be-fell Sinhala ‘Govi-kula’ people living in the North, when they were submerged, and ‘absorbed’ into the Tamil ‘stream’, they were reduced to become ‘low-caste’ koviars, only fit to serve the ‘high-caste’ Vellala Tamils of the North.
The ‘Nalavas (or Nalluwars)’ and the ‘Tanakaras’ of Jaffna are also considered Sinhalese remnants of the North. The Nalavas were perhaps originally the Sinhalese climbers and received the Tamil name on account of their peculiar way of climbing trees. They too became the slaves of the Tamil Vellalas. The Tanakaras were the ancient elephant keepers and those who supplied the necessary fodder to the stables of the king. (Sinhalese: Tana=grass). They became inseparably mixed with the Tamils among whom they had to remain. The fact that the Kovias, Tanakaras and Nalavas were originally Sinhalese can be seen from the peculiar dress of their women who wear the inner end of their cloth over the shoulders in a manner quite strange to the genuine Tamils. I have also heard that Chandars too are of Sinhala Origins.
Mudliar Rasanayagam talks about all these in his book ‘ANCIENT JAFFNA’ where he says that some of the Tamils of Jaffna are descendants of Sinhalese.
James / October 29, 2015
The genetic study done by Gautam Kumar Kshatriya on the population of Sri Lanka also proves the above.
Genetic Admixture – the Sinhalese
By studying the Sinhala population, one can see that the Bengalis, the Tamils, and the Veddahs are considered parental populations for the Sinhalese. The Bengali contribution is 25.41%, the Tamil (India) contribution is 69.86%, and the Veddah contribution is only 4.73%. Thus the Sinhalese have a predominantly Tamil (India) contribution followed by the Bengalis and the Veddahs.
Genetic Admixture – the Sri Lankan Tamils
By studying the Sri Lankan Tamils, one can see that the Sinhalese, the Bengalis, and the Indian Tamils can be considered ancestral populations. The contribution of the Sinhalese to the Sri Lankan Tamils is 55.20%. Similarly, the Bengali contribution is 28.17% and that of the Indian Tamils is 16.63%. The results indicate a predominant influence of the Sinhalese (who already have a high contribution from the Indian Tamils) and the Bengalis to a lesser extent.
In conclusion, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka were the Veddahs, who have had very little admixture with the Sinhalese and possibly none with the Tamils.
Pandaram / October 28, 2015
“It is Tamils who are from different tribes that fall into different castes. Barbers, toddy tappers, fishermen, who knows so many.”
Then why do you have Karava (fishermen), Durawa (toddy tappers) and Salagama (cinnamon peelers) all considered lower caste low country Sinhalese (these are all south Indian migrants who got converted to Sinhalese).
James / October 28, 2015
The Vellalars were the land owners and they were dominating the entire Jaffna peninsula. One of the main sources of income the Portuguese and later the Dutch had at that time was Cinnamon and Tobacco. Both Portuguese and the Dutch supported the Tamil (Vellalar) farmers to grow Tobacco in the North very similar to how they helped the Sinhala (Govigama) farmers to grow Cinnamon in the South. They helped these farmers (both North and South) by bringing in laborers/workers/slaves from South India (Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andara). Those workers/slaves later assimilated with the local population (a naturalization process) and became Sinhalese (in the south) and Tamils (in the North).
CHANAKYAN / October 28, 2015
If you are inveterate caste warriors, obsessed with caste and nothing worthwhile why not have it out in a putrid forum of your own. Why pollute CT?
Pandaram / October 28, 2015
A few ignorants like Jim softy who keeps on harping here about Tamils without knowing anything needs to be educated. If it is not relevant to you please ignore it.
Non PhD / October 27, 2015
Excellent informative analysis. You are a Tamil Sri Lanka therefore the majority of the Sinhalese Buddhist Sri Lankans will not buy your arguments.
There are many ways the existing armed forces can be redeployed through re education and retraining. Many can be re trained and reducated as nurses, attendants, officers doing administrative works to work in the hospitals through out the country.
Some can be trained as teachers, school administrative works in all schools through out the country.
Many can be trained as skilled construction works, create construcrion firms and take up overseas contracts like Chinese companies doing big projects.
How about forming a land army to work and run cooperative farms mainly out side NE as there are vast uncultivated fertile lands. This land army also can be utilised to rehabilitate or improve the irrigation systems mainly out side NE.
A section of the army which is more disciplined can be sent UN peace keeping force.
There are many other ways the excessive armed forces can be redeployed to boost the economy. Also uprising by youths ( joining JVP and LTTE and other groups ) can be avoided.
Vichara / October 27, 2015
To make it brief the reasons in point form for not demobilization is as foll:
1.Is this a clever alternative to the demand of demilitarization of the the North and the East.
2.Demobilization does not mean that there will be a huge saving in salaries. The retired servicemen have to be paid their pensions.
3.Already ex soldiers have been associated with serious crimes. Large number of able bodied men trained in the use of arms and trained to kill, released to civilian life could create a unprecedented situation of break down of law and order.They will be readily available for hire by organized crimes and political mafia.
4. The option is to make use of their skills and talent in development work.
5. The immediate focus should be not to fill vacancies created by normal retirement.
Getafix / October 27, 2015
Mr. Sivathasan’s arguments are like the ‘devil quoting scriptures for his own purpose’. Mr. S conveniently forgets that the USA still retains a base in Okinawa – much to the distress of the community in that island. They also have troops in Germany – still. They maintain a battle fleet in Bahrain. Explain Mr. S.
Jim softy / October 28, 2015
US has over 1000 bases probably close to 1200.
Sri- Krish / October 27, 2015
It is not possible to have a benefit cost analysis leaving out relevant parameters and without taking into consideration the psychological aspects of the war
The military was triumphant and was very popular when the war ended.
The government prevented militarization of politics and administration to a great extent except in the North and East.
Soon after the war ended what was happening in the Northern and Eastern provinces were that security forces intervened in every aspect of civilian life.
The government may have thought that demobilization was too risky and not a viable option. The future was uncertain and the leaders opted to play safe.
A military coup was a possibility. Thankfully these trends were arrested after the regime change
thondamanny / October 27, 2015
Why Has Sri Lanka Never Considered Demobilization?
Actions of demobilised Servicemen will be more devastating than the the mobilised. as the Services have been unable to sacreenout PTSD cases due to lack professionals on that field.
Piranha / October 27, 2015
The Rajapaksa dynasty probably wanted the large military to help keep them in power and therefore demobilisation was not in their plan. They used the military after the end of the war to quell public protests and do other activities to safeguard their grip on power.
The new government has no real reason to maintain such a large force that is draining the national coffers. It is foolish to do so. Hope the government makes the sensible decision to trim the forces. Insch a case s solution has to be found to provide employment for these personnel without delay.
Thassim / October 27, 2015
Because if they do soon Tamil Tigers will regroup. These people joined the forces out of a desperate need to escape poverty. They went straight from bootcamp to the battlefront and died by the thousands. The Military is their ONLY salvation and ONLY means of income and employment.
What Gota did was right; he engaged them in civil work to keep them occupied so they will not be restless. Thousands suffer from PTSD. No THAnks to these young men, SL was freed from TAMIL RACISTS TIGERS who got their asses whupped after all the racist Tamils and people like CPA Sara, and Jehan said “Tigers cannot be beaten” They were beaten by superior troops under superior command and superior tactics. Almost all were sinhalese and muslim troops. The Tiger racists expatriates said “The inferior cingala army cannot beat us”.
Yes Sir Hon Member of Parliament. THEY SHOULD BE USED FOR DEVELOPMENT WORK and maintained so even India will think twice about invading again.
Plato. / October 27, 2015
May I advance an answer to your question,Why has Srilanka never considered Demobilisation?
One reason,of-course is the Vainglorious spirit of Triumphalism.
The other reason is that people down South of the country do not trust their own Security forces! So best thing is to allow the fellows to remain in the North-East and harass the Tamils!
still unfinished / October 28, 2015
Please get fixed.
soma / October 28, 2015
Plato, you are a genius.
Jim softy / October 28, 2015
Army Rs 139.564 billion
Navy Rs 50.450 billion
Air Force Rs 38.416 billion
Total Rs 228.564 billion
Sivathasan is worried about expenses of the Forces.
Else where I read, wigneswaran has spent Rs 80 million of his NPC budget, a penny of that is not from NPC, to save suicide bombers jailed in prisons.
Never talk about those stories. Always blame others.
Tamils are eternal victims. they never talk about them.
that is inferiority complex.
Sirisena Yatawara / October 28, 2015
The writer is member Tamil political class represent by TNA and LTTE terrorist outfit that he is an out spoken on politics of
anti- establishment of democracy norms against national security of an Island.
He (writer) want to be demobilization of security of that three armed forces of Sri Lankan ,as what US UK and France did in after the end war of domination by few rich countries in that Second World War.
US led forces has ever-never demobilization of its security forces and army since second world war. Instead of that US has increased his military power more than ten times.
The writer has ignored facts that USA has thousands of Military bases and Naval bases throughout the Globally the aim of aggression and occupy other Independence countries. US has its own military and Marine forces Japan more than 500,000 ,South Korean 200,00 currently in operation by Pentagon of US.
Writer want misdirected and misinformed readers on military balance of US and Indian power house in the Indian Ocean. He has omitted US and Indian military revival in Indian Ocean that is more or less threat to Sri Lankan security by encouraging Tamil Eealm terrorist by US and Indian -RAW.
Tamil Eealm of LTTE Government of Exile base in US and TNA demand for the ‘Federal State’ by Tamil political class is undermined of Nation sovereignty and Democratic norms; as well as threaten to security of democracy by Tamil anti-establishment elements and their politics since 1948!
Until such anti-establishment forces exist in our soil that we want more security forces to remain in alter by present number of security forces in operation—-safeguard Democracy.
We cannot take risk on Tamil political class long-term covered operation since 1948 by Federal Party, TULF and current TNA movement of political maneuvering behind Eealm state by lumped Tamil bourgeoisies.
Tamil political class is cannot trust and having no bona fida of their past politics has been proven their belongs to accepts and accountability for principles of democracy at all. TNA and lumpen politics of Tamil petty bourgeois cannot trust and they relied on Gun Rule politics than ballot of Democracy.
Second World War was originated by rival power of between UK ,France and US one side and other side Germany, Italy & Japan to be colonialized and domination for the partition of world agenda for their imperial hegemony. The said War lost millions of civilian life European countries by Imperial war launch by two revival power of Western civilizations.
US UK France Germany Italy and Japan that
so-called “democracy” cost life of millions of civilians of ordinary citizens of during second world war.
USSR had been lost 3.4 millions of life of Soviet people , that under the leadership of Stalin who fought against Germany Nazis and Italian Fascist and Japanese militarism during second world war.
The under the leadership of CPSU-Stalin that USSR was first country who liberated people from Fascist and Nazis that rule of Tyranny from millions of people in Europeans.
Billa / October 28, 2015
SL armed forces, the most disciplined, always carry Human Rights law in one hand and T57 in the other hand. They leave both of them only under pressure, if they have to engage with an enemy unarmed Tamil woman combatant. The valiant forces use combat tricks of pigs.They never go alone but in groups to do this kind of jobs. They prefer engaging (read as raping) women in groups, one after the other. It’s all the great training and instructions they were given. That’s how SL forces are proud and became famous world wide doing work in UN peace keeping job world over, especially in Haiti. MY3 wants to send more such disciplined forces to various countries for ‘peace’ keeping along with the famous human rights laws in one hand and whatever in the other.
SL govt. is not ready yet to deploy the unemployed forces in the South but prefer to maintain them in North-East to keep these folks, guys and women under control. To maintain the confiscated lands intact. To prevent Gota’s recruits from taking over the country and hand it over to MR. Promising to save these criminals from UN investigation and punishment. Now that they have saved MR & GR from ‘electric’ chair, they want to save the ever evil forces from punishment or due harm. And so..why demilitarize ? who cares about money ?! We have UN, IMF, USA, EU, Diaspora or even China for that matter.
Preachy president and see-no-evil Prime minister are doing a great and expected job perfectly while pretending to be taking action against all criminals. Yahapalanaya, MY3 & Ranil looks great indeed. All these politicians are from the same old political cesspit !
bo / October 28, 2015
Demobilization will happen when Tamils demonstrated that they are a part of Sri Lanka and integrated properly instead of considering that they are an extension of Tamil Nadu and conspiring in corners how to divide the Island. That is the bottom line. The writers arguments relating to UK, USA or USSR have no relevance to SLK
Vetmahadeva / October 28, 2015
The State Sri Lanka, Concocted Sri Lankan Tamils into a war since independence and protracted the war for 30 years, in order to place defense the system permanently around Palaly Air strip, which holds 1000 of acres most fertile soil in the peninsula. Permanent subjugation, is the means of war, forced on our people, economically strangle the Valigamam North people who became well to do through their agriculture, – today the army individuals from south are cultivating the lands enjoying their life – while the traditional owners land are languishing as permanent refugees in various places.
If the war was not for Permanent subjugation through deployment of army and to justify it – The Sri Lankan Government would have considered the redeployment and demobilization of the defense system in north – as a means of lively hood support for the people most battered by the war. First lot of people to be evacuated are these Valigamam North People. War was a justification of Army Occupation!
Plato. / October 28, 2015
It always takes one to recognize another!
kali / October 28, 2015
Mr. S. Sivathasan
Aftermath of World War II
To consolidate the peace dividend, very high on the agenda of the principal warring nations was demobilization. The end of the War demanded it from early May 1945 and earnest steps were in motion by June, the same year. It would suffice to examine facts and figures of two nations which were allies in war and then partners in the peace process.
*** I thought you once worked for the Civil Service advising the ruling elite but I am at a loss to understand how you apply the above in a Sri Lankan context.
Let me explain.
As you put it To consolidate the peace dividend, very high on the agenda of the principal warring nations was demobilization.
But this was after Crushing the aggressors both Germany & Japan. With Germany obliterated and Japan Nuked the danger was gone. But that ushered in a New Era of COLD WAR. Two blocks were formed NATO vs SOVIET Block. Capitalism vs Communism.
The demobilisation was achieved by Consolidation of Power.
But in Sri Lanka it was a Struggle within a Nation with the Majority intent on Imposing its will and embarking on Colonisation.
Just to give you an idea as to why Demobilastaion was not high on the Agenda first under Mahintha continued by MS & RW was:
To maintain the Status Quo of Subjugation and achieve what Gemunu and many successive Sinhalese Governments failed in their Quest what I would call SINHALAMISATION.
Colonisation and Ethnic Cleansing of North & East is the ultimate Goal and why do you think that until revealed by UN, MS ( I am sure he would have known of the existence as the Commander in Chief ) has denied the existence of these Camps.
Unless forced to Devolve Power by outside forces there wont be Demobilisation.
S,Sivathasan / October 28, 2015
You and a few others have written alike about US & UK. I made only one point.
Both countries wanted immediate reconstruction even as war ended and the first austere step taken was to cut wartime expenditure to the bone. Demobilization was inescapable and they took that step. How the economy was transformed after 1948 is well known.
Sri Lanka similarly placed had no option but to do likewise and launch reconstruction and redevelopment programmes. They were mandatory for a war economy to become absolutely redevelopment oriented. With Public Debt at Trillions crushing the nation, the first option was to lighten the burden. To demobilize. US & UK were fine models.
Instead Sri Lanka added Rs 98 billion for 2010, to its Rs. 175 billion in 2009. Reintegrating redundant military into a reconstruction economy as civilian participants never happened. The new government did the same thing,ie faltered and defaulted even in the 7th year. That was the occasion for my article. What is the budget deficit for 2016? What will be the Public Debt by end 2016?
Discursive excursions into post 1948 political developments – Cold War,Bases etc. – never could find a place in what I wrote.
kal / October 29, 2015
*** I am afraid you still havent grasped the issue and let me try to convince you to my point of view.
As a start
Demobilisation is the process of standing down a nation’s armed forces from combat-ready status.
1) You and a few others have written alike about US & UK. I made only one point. Both countries wanted immediate reconstruction even as war ended and the first austere step taken was to cut wartime expenditure to the bone.
Demobilization was inescapable and they took that step ( You have to distiguish US from UK)
*** Reconstruction was the order of Priority in the Theatre of War meaning Europe and winding down was made easier after defeating Germany and Japan with the threat eliminated.
For US it was simply a readjugement to pre war level and reconstruction was not on the Agenda as the war was fought somewherelse ( except attack on Pearl Harbour)
2) How the economy was transformed after 1948 is well known. Sri Lanka similarly placed had no option but to do likewise and launch reconstruction and redevelopment programmes.
*** You are comparing Mountain with a Molehill and Priorities were different.
3) They were mandatory for a war economy to become absolutely redevelopment oriented. With Public Debt at Trillions crushing the nation, the first option was to lighten the burden. To demobilize. US & UK were fine models. Instead Sri Lanka added Rs 98 billion for 2010, to its Rs. 175 billion in 2009. Reintegrating redundant military into a reconstruction economy as civilian participants never happened. The new government did the same thing,ie faltered and defaulted even in the 7th year. That was the occasion for my article. What is the budget deficit for 2016? What will be the Public Debt by end 2016?.
*** Here I think you are being a bit Naive and let me explain.
Except for a few bombs the South was Untouched and buisness was as usual and no need for major reconstruction but happened anyway with money from the Loanshark.
Whereas the North was never developed in the last 67 years but anything that stood was reduced to rubble.
But reconstruction of the North and East was never on the Governments Agenda as it was Tmil Area.
As for the Demobilisation GOSL from Mahintha to MMS saw it differently and they were not prepared to stsnd down Nations armed forces from Combat Ready Status as they perceived rightly or wrongly LTTE revival as a Threat to carry on Colonisation.
For that reason your comparison falls foul on its head and will never happen unless forced to by outside forces to Devolve Power to the North & East and Army confined to barracks.
DontCry4MeSgtMaj / October 29, 2015
It would have been better for Mr Sivathasan to have just considered the numbers rather than try to suggest that dictatorships retain strong armies while democracies demobilise, which he doesn’t go on to substantiate in any way.
Also, his snide remarks about the US & UK not attempting to scare the public with portrayals of resurgent Nazis (a reference to the previous GoSL’s scaremongering), is because there was no Nazi-party-in-exile or global-Japanese-forum calling for a Fourth Reich or a new Japanese empire in the way that some of the Tamil separatist elements in Europe, North America, and Australia are continuing to call for a separate state. But the US and UK governments certainly went on a propaganda blitz against the USSR, and constantly propagated the threat of an imminent Soviet invasion or nuclear strike. This was especially acute during the hight of the Cold War in the ’50s and ’60s.
Now, on the matter of demobilisation, the one huge stark difference between the Western Allies at the end of WW2 and SL at the end of the Eelam War that Mr Sivathasan has missed is that both the US and UK armies were almost totally made up of conscripts, while the SL military was and is filled completely by volunteers. Even the minority of American and British soldiers who were indeed volunteers had signed up for the duration of the war and, like the draftees, were eager to get back home to families and jobs as soon as the war was over. It would have been hard for the US and UK governments to have retained them even if they wanted to; indeed, there were several near mutinies when British troops were diverted to Palestine in 1945. There were similar situations with American troops in the Far East. In SL, military service was advertised as a career, a long-term commitment with prospects and pensions. WW2 was just four years for the Americans and six for the British, and men who had had training and experience in civilian jobs could easily return to them. In SL, the war was 30 years long. What are you going to do with a 35-year-old sergeant who has been fighting for almost 20 years? Or a 28-year-old soldier who has never done a civilian job since he left school? There are several hundred thousand troops like that. The US and UK also had a big need for returning soldiers to fuel, in the US case, an economy that had grown because of the war and, in Britain, to help reconstruct in a nation that had lost hundreds of thousands of young men killed. The situation is completely different in SL. There are no such jobs waiting for returning troops.
Everyone has a lot of bright ideas about what to do with the Army, but no one knows how to do it, including the author of this article.
S,Sivathasan / October 30, 2015
Don’t Cry …
Thanks for your rational comment. While holding with the tenor of your argument, may I indicate that we are not at issue. Yet I wish to bring more clarity. Voltaire said that definition of terms should precede any discussion. Readers do not always discern the mind of the writer with exactitude and the latter is generally at fault for this.
I did not wish to suggest numbers to the military or to the government; not even to the readers. Far from my mind was cutting the military to the bone. Citing reduction to 13% in US and 15% in UK was to highlight the way governments responded to the stringent austerity that the aftermath of war imposed.
I certainly had in mind reduction of numbers in SL by 35 to 40%, which would mean a saving of Rs.100 billion or more. What has been the government’s pattern of allocations for Defence – 2008 – 166 billion, 2009 – 175 billion, 2010 – 273 billion and for 2016 – 306 billion. Where can be seen earnestness for rationalizing the country’s expenditure pattern or to revamp the economy?
Sri Lanka has generally displayed suavity in facing challenges and managing situations. To name a few; smooth changes of government 1956 to January 2015, schools takeover, petroleum takeover, land reform, terminating rice rations in 1977, reconstituting the Supreme Court in 1978 and smooth transition in 1993 after a President was assassinated.
For action with equal facility was my suggestion of not filling vacancies, while getting the same results with practicable time phasing as with voluntary retirement. No compulsory layoff, no frustration, no obligation to find employment and no social dislocation. In any case voluntary retirement is moving along unobtrusively and is being lived with.
DontCry4MeSgtMaj / November 2, 2015
Thank you for the clarifications. Certainly in an ideal world the SL military should be looking to rely less on manpower and more on technology, at least in the long term. However, to be able to do so economically while still retaining current capabilities, SL needs to be manufacturing the bulk of the necessary technology. The defence industry in a nation like the US or UK actually contributes to its own economy, but in SL that is not so. A big chunk of our defence budget goes to procuring force multiplying technology. So the actual savings are questionable. Nevertheless, a large military force is not sustainable in the long term, even from a political standpoint, and perhaps the natural attrition rate of retirement is what the GoSL is counting on. Demobilisation on the scale you suggest is unlikely given the public worry of a resurgent separatist force.
Lastly, given the GoSL’s inability to solve problems like traffic congestion in Colombo, and the obvious lack of insightful thought on the matter, makes me very skeptical that it could solve the military issue satisfactorily.
Billa / October 29, 2015
…and so, let them confiscate arable lands, chase the owners of few fertile land in North, do cultivation, use school kids to sell drugs and gradually making them and the young population drug addicts, distribute pornographic videos, encourage them to drink, involve in fights, criminal activities, stop going to school or study, just waste time and do anything useful and gradually destroying a well disciplined younger generation of Northern Tamil kids.
That is the master plan, Mahintha chinthanaya or the majoritarian chinthanaya.
Just destroying a whole community and a nation of people with a vicious criminal racist strategy.
Senseless attitude of the corrupt evil people on fellow human, will one day boomerang on the perpetrators and destroy them if they don’t stop it.
Vichara / November 2, 2015
Sivathasan has got his priorities mixed. Before demobilization there has to be deelamization on the same lines as denazification that happened in Germany.