Natural History of a Defeatist Strategy
By R. Chandrasoma
How a steady foreclosure of options and open-ended concessions to the enemy have brought Sri Lanka to the brink of disaster.
The history of the conflict of the Sri Lankan State with the Tamil Tiger Terrorists can be summed up in a few words: the enemy believes in the principle of the ratchet and is for ever aggrandizing his claims, both political and military. The reverse is true of the Sri Lankan State - which has an extraordinary record of steadily slipping backwards to accommodate the ever-escalating demands of the enemy.
It will be useful to recall a few highlights in the evolution of this fatal asymmetry. The redoubtable JRJ in the early years of his presidency airily dismissed the nascent outburst of murder and mayhem in the North as part of the 'terrorism that blights the entire world' thereby implying that we need not take the phenomenon as indicative of a structural weakness of the political system in place. The notion of an Independent state of Eelam was not taken too seriously.
His successor RP had a slightly different focus he admired tremendously the valour and staying power of Pirapaharan and was peeved that the Indians were out to destroy a much-loved home-grown terrorist. It was his belief that 'Eelam' was a manageable problem having overtones of the mythical and the symbolic - which could be resolved by friendly dialogue with terrorists suddenly grown tame. Some 'concessions' were all that was required to mollify Pirapaharan and to get the Tamils of the North to be law-abiding citizens of Lanka. This was a fatal misjudgment and he paid for it with his life.
Amazingly, this same foolish claptrap is being trotted out by RP's protégé RaWik. He is reported to have told a correspondent of a leading foreign Journal that 'small concessions' at the start of the terrorist campaign could have saved the nation from its current travail!
Let us move on to the next phase. A leftist avatar became the leading Presidential candidate and the brave terrorist was promoted to the more exalted rank of doughty freedom fighter. He was fighting for a cause and it was famously declared that it was better for the North to be governed by Pirapaharan 's fighters than to be under the jackboot of the Sri Lankan Army. (Readers are welcome to guess who said this awful thing.)
A major new development was the sudden mushrooming of a well-financed and globally backed Peace Movement that fought a proxy war on behalf of the Terrorist in the North. This Peace Movement worked in cahoots with the politically naïve President to make a generous political offering to assuage the lust of the unyielding tyrant. It is unclear how much was offered what is certain is that humble emissaries of the 'SLG' sat in the shadow the Eelam flag with a grinning fanged Tiger (a wall-picture) glaring at them. They mumbled 'mea culpa' while they were sternly lectured to by unrepentant 'kotiyas' on the misdeeds of the Southerners. A mighty exchange of letters followed while the wily Pirapaharan beefed up his forces for the next round of fighting.
The bloodshed, the scenes of disaster, the national humiliation that followed the break-up of this political love-fest by an incredibly stupid leadership are too well known to be detailed here. Was the Tiger 'demoted' after this cruel betrayal? Did the scales fall from the eyes of those who defended the Tiger and accused the 'Sinhala Nationalists' of being the pitiful victims of a 'Mythic History' based on a suspect document called the Mahavamsa?
Nothing of the kind happened. The Peace Movement became increasingly bellicose and, in a strange reversal of what happens in nature, the wounded became contrite and begged forgiveness from the attacker for the 'wrongs' that provoked him into such fearful action. The upshot of all this was the promulgation of three new 'theses' on the nature of the battle against the Northern Foe. Let us state them nakedly and unadorned
1. The War is 'unwinnable'.
Friends, reflect. In a conflict of any kind, if we concede to the enemy that we cannot defeat him, that he has righteousness and moral commitment on his side and that we are wearied and in no position to continue the battle, is there any option left?
Have we not foreclosed all options? Is not the history of this disastrous war dominated by sniveling duplicity of leadership that steadily made way for the inroads of rampaging terrorism? A leadership that steadily foreclosed options? Have we elected a leadership to negotiate terms of surrender to a monstrous killer who will not be sated until our entire Island is under his jackboot?
Let us conclude by a glance at conditions that have supervened in our fair abode after the election of that beloved of the Globalists and Peace Mongers, RaWik. Has he abrogated any of those infamous guidelines that we put down in the paragraph above? Indeed, no he has gone one better by adding a marvelously effective 'principle' that even the redoubtable Machiavelli would have envied. It can be stated as follows
'Fellows, we cannot defeat Pirapaharan. Let us, then, help him to establish his Eelam. Let us withdraw our forces to enclaves and let them spike their guns. In an act of unparalleled magnanimity, we must allow Pirapaharan's goons do whatever they want. There is only one condition please do not bring sudden death to us as has been the practice in the recent past. The Sri Lankan State? Ah - that is a detail that can be discussed by lawyers.
There is no urgency. What matters most is that we can move freely and eat at leisure notwithstanding what is said in a Holy Book about 'man not living by bread alone'. A slight question remains. Will Pirapaharan be fulfilled materially and spiritually after his dream of Eelam comes true? Is it truly the end game? Remember, dear friends that this is a man who has, at all times, kept his options open. At that infamous press-conference held in the deep forest of Killinochchi, did the Big One or his Chief Side-Kick reveal anything on limitations and circumscriptions that will indicate to us the true scope of his action? Did he say when (and how) the Great Eelam War will end? The appeaser has to keep guessing. We are no longer masters of our own destiny.
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