From Thairath, October 12, 2011
The military is not democratic. The law must be changed to give politicians the authority to intervene in military transfers.
[This is a sarcastic comment meaning that the military is showing its selflessness in wholeheartedly assisting during the flooding crisis. Meanwhile, the elected government, beholden only to Thaksin, insists on pushing forward with a blanket pardon while proposing changes that would give the political party in power control over top military promotions.
Traditionally, the Thai world has feared politicians meddling in supposedly non-political areas, fearing that “good” people might not get their turn due to politicized appointments. It was also feared that appointments made by a political party would result to overwhelming power being gained by corrupt politicians.
After Black May in 1992, feelings were high that the military must only answer to elected politicians. Later, during the Thaksin years, that feeling had flipped to making sure that military appointments be outside the reach of politicians grabbing for absolute power. Thaksin’s time as prime minister was notable for his shock promotions of allies and relatives from middle-ranking positions to top posts–apparently to support his control of the country.
After the military clearing of the Red Shirt redoubt in Bangkok in 2010, feelings once again trended to a desire for a military controlled by elected officials.
In any event, governments have had little trouble injecting politics into military appointments. In the calmest of times, reshuffles entail intense behind-the-scenes lobbying and Thai-style hurt feelings which sometimes leads to small acts of violence.
Like other controversial changes recently proposed by Pheu Thai, the attempt to wrest control of military appointment is likely a bargaining chip in the negotiations of how and when Thaksin will be absolved of legal problems and be able to return to the country.]