It’s funny how we so love the labels created by agitators. It’s a public relations tool, really: reduce a complex idea into as brief a statement as possible – a one-word slogan would be best – and feed it to the masses. After all, the masses don’t need to fully under the whys and hows; they just need something to chant or scream until their throats are raw – a kind of shortcut to meaning. It’s the power of symbol, and some say that it lay at the heart of Hitler’s success as a demagouge. This administration has seen more than its share of these ‘key words’ and now the latest agit-prop is “militarization.”
What the rest of the world understands as the process of preparing for war or other violent conflict, we gleefully appropriate the word “militarization” to refer to the naming of former military officials to top government posts. Implicit in the use of the word is the promise of dark days of repression to come, the demise of liberty, and the extinction of all that is good and beautiful …. zxngrkCKZ!
The preponderance of military men in high government positions isn’t necessarily the portent of doom that some people wish it to be – yes: i think they actually want it to be that, so that they can later on have the bragging rights of having called it out first. If we’re being calm and logical about it, the appointment of military men to high government positions can actually be attributed to a number of factors:
First, very few people in the lucrative private sector want to enter the thankless public service. With GMA as appointing authority, even fewer. This means that, second, candidates for top level positions are actually drawn from a pretty shallow pool of people currently – or were – in the public service. Third, of the people currently – or previously – in the public service, there are very few who are as well trained as military men of officer rank in management and planning – skills needed by any good administrator. This is so because the military invests much in the training and schooling of its officers. In fact, it is the rare military officer who spends more than a week being unemployed after retirement from the service. They get snapped up by private corporations who see their upper management skills as potential assets. An uncle of mine was picking among offers three months before he finally retired from the service!
Outside this logic loop, military men are also much in demand on their own right – without necessarily being fiddle to private sector top picks. This is especially true for such services as reasonably require a background in military-style operations and discipline. It’s all well and good to emphasize the civilian nature of, say the PDEA, but the truth of the matter is, the learning curve is much steeper (steeper=better) when the person trying to learn the ropes has a background in activities like intelligence gathering, urban skirmish, and enemy engagement. And yes, dealing with crooks nowadays is practically like dealing with a para-military unit. You don’t send Mother Teresa in to arrest a bunch of BDSM brothel whores with whips and ballgags.
So talk of militarization is likely to be just more fear-mongering.
In fact, if anything, there was a massive de-militarization of society when the Reserve Officer Training Course – and it’s latter day cousin, Citizen’s Military Training – was effectively shelved.