Who offends the ranks

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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

Those who offend the Brazilian military corporations are their commanders

If it is true that they have “consulted” officials about respecting the results of the polls, Lula and Nelson Jobim attacked the Armed Forces: they admitted that commanders could act outside the law. It is not up to generals to manifest about the voter's taste, which embodies the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty.

As far as I know, neither Lula nor Jobim confirmed what the press reported. The commanders did not react. If it were true, would they notice the aggression?

Behold, on April 24, the Minister of Defense accuses a minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) of seriously offending the Armed Forces. Luís Barroso said that the ranks were being oriented to attack the electoral system.

In this case, the Minister of Defense reacts quickly. He declares that corporations follow the republican standard and that the Minister would have affected “ethics, harmony and respect for institutions”.

How to explain such different reactions?

Politics has always coexisted with hypocrisy and the military with dissimulation. Who best camouflages intentions has the advantage in war. Stealth and camouflage are mandatory subjects in military training. In these stormy times, citizens are struggling to understand what is happening.

Luís Barroso, in fact, did a great service to the ranks. By saying they would be mentoring, he eliminated the alternative of commanders being mentors; he reinforced the version that exempts them from responsibility for the Brazilian tragedy. This version intends to ignore that the current president was formed in the barracks and received support from it. He also ignores that, in his government, the military, in consortium with other actors, sign perverse directives and manage their implementation.

Pretending to warn the ranks, Barroso helped to clean the dirty uniform. What does the Minister mean by talking about what is not his responsibility? The Supreme Court's complicity with institutional degradation is historic. The same can be said of military commanders who insist on posing as immaculate after a secular and dark trajectory of interference in Brazilian life.

General Paulo Sérgio says that the Armed Forces responded “republicanally” to the invitation to join the Election Transparency Commission. Forgetting about preparing to face greedy foreigners, the military got into where they didn't belong. The general said: “elections are a matter of sovereignty and national security”. So much expensive school time and he didn't learn to distinguish elementary concepts!

In a climate of accentuated demoralization in the ranks, the Minister assured that the Armed Forces have the respect of the population and hammered: “since its birth, (the FFAA) have a history of centuries of dedication to well serving the Homeland and the Brazilian People , whether in defense of the country or in contributing to national development and the well-being of Brazilians”.

Why the capital letters in the terms homeland, people and country? Are they institutions? How to identify them? The military cacoete of capital letters displays confused notions and intellectual indigence.

The note signed by General Paulo Sérgio widens the turmoil, aggravates the climate of uncertainty and exposes the ranks' identity crisis: it is an alleged permission for them to continue interfering in the political process.

Those who offend the Brazilian military corporations are their commanders who, squandering public resources, neglect national defense, lost between incompatible functions. Two hundred years after Independence, commanders still haven't decided what they want to be in life, whether military, politicians, police or public administrators.

Suggestion to the generals: withdraw, wait for the determinations of the supreme commander that will be defined in the polls. In the meantime, reflect on your failure to endow the country with basic autonomy in weapons and equipment to face the foreigner who does not give up taking our riches and benefiting from our sweat.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired UFC/UFF professor, former president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and former vice president of CNPq.

 

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