Lula cannot fear the military

Former political prisoners of the Dictatorship/ Source: Launch of the book "Bagulhão" by the São Paulo Truth Commission


The cry “no amnesty” expresses the democratic will. But there is a huge gap between this will and the organization of the Armed Forces mission to guarantee national sovereignty and democracy.

For Oswald Barroso

Will Minister Luciana Santos and Minister Camilo Santana suspend funding for researchers studying the 1964 coup and the dictatorship that followed? Will UnB be prevented from promoting posthumous tribute to Honestino Guimarães, murdered by the dictatorship?

Will the Ministry of Education suspend its bows to Anísio Teixeira and Paulo Freire? Will you stop implementing policies contrary to the civic-military education advocated by the fascists? Will you punish teachers who allude to the military coup in the classroom?

Will Minister Marina Silva cancel environmental studies that refer to the devastation of the Amazon promoted by the Dictatorship?

Will Minister Sílvio Almeida coordinate the “forgetfulness” of state terrorism practiced for more than two decades?

Will Minister Anielle Franco ignore the homophobia and misogyny practiced in the barracks? Will tributes to coup plotters be removed from public places in Brazilian cities? Will the bust of putschist Castello Branco be removed from the hall of the Army Command and General Staff School?

The government's guidance for public agents to remain silent about the 1964 coup is absurd and unenforceable. How to understand it?

The false idea is spreading among certain democrats that the containment of military political interventionism must be operated by the Federal Police, Public Ministry and STF. The government would have nothing to do with it. Lula would have acted correctly by interdicting, at the government level, initiatives related to the 1964 Coup. In this way, he would have calmed “tensions” and governed with tranquility.

This idea deprives Lula of his status as supreme commander of the Armed Forces, as defined by the Constitution. It is up to the president to define the guidelines for the organization, operation and use of the military apparatus. He must demand that his subordinates obey the law.

Lula's guidance grants unreasonable autonomy to the Armed Forces. Military corporations cannot be handed over to their own will. This would support the notion that the military constitutes a moderating power, in accordance with fascist discourse. The military is not ultimately responsible for the fate of Brazil.

It is not up to the Supreme Commander to negotiate politically with commanders. Commander commands; politician negotiates with politician. The idea of ​​confrontation between political power and the Armed Forces admits insubordination. Political power must exercise constitutional authority by demanding obedience and discipline. The actions of the Judiciary do not eliminate the responsibility of the President.

Lula's fearful attitude towards the barracks is understandable. We all fear the unknown and Lula, like most Brazilians, is unaware of the military.

Lula does not seem to understand that the military is a public agent educated to follow orders. If he doesn't receive them, he will decide on his own what to do. He will plot in search of political command. Unaware, Lula is encouraging insubordination in the barracks.

It is true that the Federal Police, the Public Ministry and the Judiciary surround the military most recognized as active in the political arena. But this is a limited siege: all corporations have responsibilities in electing a promoter of the disaster. The punishment of a few dozen officers, even high-ranking ones, will be an important message, but insufficient.

Brazil needs new guidelines for National Defense. If well defined, these guidelines will guide reform of the military apparatus. It is not about punishing, much less promoting revenge. It is about preparing the State to exercise its sovereignty in a conflicted world. In this role, the Supreme Commander is irreplaceable.

The cry “no amnesty” expresses the democratic will. But there is a huge gap between this will and the Armed Forces organization mission to guarantee national sovereignty and democracy.

When Lula becomes aware of the problems of Defense and military affairs, he will understand that he has no right to fear the soldier. She won't even have a reason to. By issuing clear and justified orders, the soldier will serve the Commander.

* Manuel Domingos Neto He is a retired UFC professor and former president of the Brazilian Association of Defense Studies (ABED). Author, among other books What to do with the military – Notes for a new National Defense (Reading Cabinet). []

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