The role of the military

Image: João Nitsche
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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

The sudden occupation of key positions in the federal public administration by the military is no longer an announced disaster. It became a tragedy with fatal victims

As a rule, a military man who is a military man does not know how, does not want to, should not and cannot manage public services under civilian responsibility. If military schools teach their students to take care of such services, they deviate from their mission, waste public resources and leave the nation without warriors prepared to face the cursed foreigner or situations of extreme calamity.

Warfare has always been the most challenging of public tasks, show the main works bequeathed by Antiquity. Life-and-death confrontations between collectivities demand far-reaching specialization, incessant training, solid and integral knowledge of the enemy, unconditional love for the community that maintains the military force, sublime individual detachment, absolute control of the impulse to violence, disregard for personal advantages and radical distance from the conflicts of political command.

There are no institutions more complex than the military. They are constantly obliged to absorb and articulate knowledge and inventions. They stimulate all areas of knowledge, as there is no area of ​​knowledge that is not used, directly or indirectly, in expanding the capacity to stop foreign perfidy.

In modernity, then, don't even talk about it. The frenetic emergence of novelties stuns, unbalances the game of forces. Overnight, what was strong becomes weak and vice versa. Hence the military does not take his eye off what only exists in promise. A warrior who is a warrior scrutinizes equipment not yet available with the anxiety of a farmer looking for signs of rain.

There is no more terrifying existential experience than war, where human beings plan the elimination of human beings. A military man who dedicates himself to something other than preparing to bend and jugular, if necessary, the malefactor foreigner is clueless, someone who doesn't know where he's gone, a fool obsessed with stripes and prebends. Involving himself in the management of public affairs other than war, he becomes irresponsible deviant, traitor to the community that guarantees him the pay to protect himself.

In recent decades, public administration in Brazil has reached a level that requires increasingly specialized, dignified personnel with career prospects. Whatever the scope of public policy, the manager, without a competent and well-oiled team, will fail.

It is not enough to have money and tell a subordinate: solve the problem. Without precise guidelines, without educated personnel, without adequate regulations, without the ability to articulate multiple institutions, the politician in power will squander public resources, screw up and make the people suffer.

Knowledge acquired to wage war in the depths of the ocean is of no use to the Admiral Minister of Mines and Energy, as revealed by the tragedy in Amapá. The case, by the way, can be repeated at any time in any place.

In the pandemic, the general minister proves what was already known: war logistics are different from health policy. Training to go to space is not enough for the Astronaut responsible for the development of science and technology. In Education, there is no room for warriors who disrespect qualified professionals to organize teaching. Dealing with the Indians and with the environment does not support people who consider the native a hindrance and the forest useless.

Ministerial office is essentially political. A competent minister is one who, in addition to clear guidelines, animates and articulates experienced technical bodies. Ministers devoted to the fraternal welcome of old comrades in the barracks disservice the people, deny their military status and tarnish the uniform that was no longer very clean. The sudden occupation of key posts in the federal public administration by the military is no longer an announced disaster. It became a tragedy with fatal victims.

The illusion that military “efficiency” can be transposed to public administration is based on the experience of Brazil in the past. Officers ran major federal programs from the 1930s onwards, when there were no universities and military schools and seminaries formed the educated elite. Few institutions of higher learning exemplified provincial bosses. Most Brazilians lived dispersed in the countryside, with no notion of basic rights.

In this Brazil, some officers stood out as cadres for the public service. They even developed a strategic sensitivity, capturing the importance of industrialization, infrastructure, social rights and technological training... Certain officers, during the dictatorship established in 1964, had administrative experience. They had been state intervenors and directed relevant institutions and programs. They knew how to manage, as long as the opposition was silenced.

Nothing to do with later generations, coming from expensive and aimless schools, hallucinated with false internal threats and dazzled by the powerful foreigner.

The disorientation of these schools was revealed by the desire to train “masters” and “doctors” along the lines of the civil academy. Where have you seen civilian academic titles used to qualify warriors? Of course, the mission of these schools would be to prepare for the bloody confrontation, not to guarantee that reserve officers would be well received by the job market.

Civilian universities are aimed at training providers of multiple and varied services, including offering knowledge about the military. (Without this knowledge, political command over corporations is chimerical: power is not exercised over the unknown!). The civil academy is constantly challenging established knowledge. It feeds on the endless confrontation of ideas, it does not support chains, it feeds on disagreements, it invents fashions, it tests concepts. It is a hardened iconoclast. It is based on chair autonomy. By nature, it causes instability in socioeconomic structures.

The military academy seeks the doctrinal unity necessary for the submission of the perverse enemy. It repels formulations that balance established beliefs. She is thirsty for novelties that provide an increase in brute force, but rejects the corrosion of her way of seeing the world of men. It is an eternal prisoner of the stability-instability dichotomy.

When the warrior covets the civil academic title, he belittles his own social function. He takes pleasure in declassifying himself when he says he is prepared to take on other functions. He presents himself as a pupil of Benjamim Constant Botelho de Magalhães, a masterful trainer of graduates who saviors the homeland in the twilight of the Empire.

We live in the XNUMXst century and the former colony has become a major player on the world stage. It is past time for the military to overcome its original dilemma, removing the childish desire to rule everything. By definition, under democracy, a warrior cannot wish to be a politician, police officer, academic, public manager or friend of a militia member. Otherwise, he will leave the homeland, poor thing, exposed to the merciless foreigner.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired UFC professor. He was president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and vice president of CNPq.

 

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