Who Won The War? – Some Pointers To The Answer
Who won the War’ has come up in two recent editions of The Sunday Leader (20.5.12 and 27.5.12) courtesy of that brilliant writer and one time Editor of The Island, Mr Gamini Weerakoon, and as well in its edition of 03.6.12, in a letter by Mr G. D.Sirimanne,Boralesgamuwa.
“Actually as a matter of fact” as our first and great Prime Minister, Hon. D. S. Senanayake was wont to say, this issue has been discussed,debated wrung dry on most political platforms since we won the war,with the ludicrous scenario we have today of there being many claimants to the throne of victory. The ‘Claims List’ starkly reveals that mostly, political and personal prejudice, not unbiased analysis rules such claims, each claim depending on the platform/forum it emanates from. General Sarath Fonsekaa himself (I still consider him ‘General SF’, Court Martial decrees notwithstanding) has almost from the time the war was officially ended, and constantly since, claimed almost sole responsibility for winning the war, the roles played by the President, the Defence Secretary, the Navy and Air Force Commanders, the IGP, the Civil Defense Forces, the servicemen/women and their families, almost entirely disregarded.
The UNP echoes SF’s claim, bellowing ad nauseam that the government has degraded (referring to SF’s several prosecutions and imprisonment) “the Man who won the war”. This despite the UNP’s constant ridiculing of SF’s military campaign during the war, and its several attempts to sabotage by voting against the war budget etc, government efforts to eliminate the LTTE, a ludicrously hypocritical volte face unparalled in the long and shameless annals of political U-Turns.
The UNP thinks that Admiral Karannagoda and Air Marshall Roshan Goonetillake (and the Navy and Air Force respectively) played no part in winning the war. Their names are not even whispered as contributers to victory! Likewise the JVP, again purely for political and opportunistic reasons, as well as others opposed to this Govt, re-echo this claim of victory being a ‘One Man’ show.
On the other hand, the government and those supportive of the government maintain that while victory was due to the joint efforts of all those mentioned above, the President, his political leadership being the key, was chiefly responsible. Here too of course political leanings influence their views.Yet independent views too have been around.
What is the correct, unbiased, apolitical answer to the question now posed in The Sunday Leader? It would be easy for readers to find the answer to this question: ‘Who won the War’ simply by answering the following questions. Thereupon one could say: ‘res ipsa loquitur’ (‘The thing speaks for Itself’), because unbiased, analytical answers to these questions will clearly reveal the plain truth.
(1) Who was responsible for seeking out and appointing the best military man we had at that time (2005), namely General Sarath Fonseka, as the Army Commander for that decisive stage of the war?
(2) When appointed Army Commander, was or was not SF given carte blanche authority and power to conduct the military (land) campaign, in the manner he thought best, and without any/much political interference?
(3) (i) Did,or did not, the Navy play a significant and decisive role in support of the Army’s land campaign?
(ii) As a corollary to above, did not the destruction by the Navy of 08 LTTE cargo ships bearing a huge load of arms, ammunition, equipment etc. for the LTTE hugely help towards the success of the Army’s land campaign, reasonably surmising what damage and destruction these arms supplies would have caused the Army’s and the country’s military/war campaign had the LTTE succeeded in obtaining them?
(iii) Did not those operations (as well as the Navy’s other operations during that period) hugely and in overall,severely paralyse the LTTE’s ability to confront the Army, resist/repel Army offensives during that period, and decisively affect the LTTE’s capacity to wage war, and to continue to wage the war?
(iv) Did not those naval operations therefore hugely reduce the period of time taken to successfully end the war? Would the Army have been able to finally destroy the LTTE on May 19, 2009, but for those very successful and decisive naval operations?
(v) Did not the Navy play a specially decisive role also towards the end of the war, in cutting off the escape routes of the top LTTE Commanders and others including Prabhakaran, by imposing a naval blockade on the north western, northern and eastern coast lines by the deployment of the Special Boat Squadrons, an innovation devised/used for that purpose?
(vi) If the answers to (3)(i) to (3)(v) above is affirmative,who then was responsible therefore, in the same manner as General SF was, for the successful Army operations to end the war? If the answer is not affirmative, who then was responsible therefor?
(Please see (8) below for a comment on this aspect of the war).
(4 (i) Likewise, did not the Air Force as well play a decisive role to support the Army campaign, bombing and destroying “identified enemy targets” (LTTE armour, supply trucks, camps, troop concentrations, etc.) and mutatis mutandis, carrying out operations which had the same effect on the LTTE’s capacity to fight, as the Army’s and Navy’s did as mentioned above?
(ii) If the answer to (4)(i) above is affirmative, who then was responsible therefor, in the same manner as General SF was, for the successful Army operations to end the war? If the answer is not affirmative, who then was responsible therefor?
(Please see (8) below for a comment on this aspect of the war).
(5)(i) Likewise, did not the Police/STF, the Civil Defence Forces, the Servicemen/women and their families play decisive roles, each in their particular roles?
(ii) If the answer to (5)(i) above is affirmative, who then was/were responsible therefore, in the same manner as General SF was for the successful Army operations to end the war? If the answer is not affirmative, who then was responsible therefor?
(6)(i) Were not all these land, sea, and air operations, and other actions both military and civil, in fact the entire anti-LTTE campaign from 2005 to 2009, including recruitment, training supplying, financing, carried out effectively and successfully because of:
(a) well planned,well co-ordinated and well managed logistical procedures and arrangements that were set in place from around Nov 2005 for the purpose of meaningfully conducting Eelam 4 war, and was continued throughout its duration; and
(b) the systematic and brilliant execution of the operations ensuing under the above?
(ii) Were, or were not these logistical services and their execution carried out much more efficiently than before the Nov 2005 period, when there were reports of supply shortages, non-firing guns,bad equipment, ill trained troops, lack of manpower in the Services, etc, etc.
(iii) If the answers to 6(i) to 6(ii) above is affirmative, who then was responsible therefor, in same manner as Gen SF was for the successful Army operations to end the war? If the answer is not affirmative, give the reasons therefore, please.
( 7)(i) Did not the Political Decision to go all out and destroy the LTTE, once and for all, and end the almost daily terrors of bombs, suicide killings, civilian deatbs, etc, (as against the previous UNP Policy of holding a series of indefinite Peace Talks, despite LTTE violations thereof) , a eecision taken in the teeth of local and international opposition to all out military action, and in the face of military/economic sanctions, a decision taken against the world so to say, a then largely hostile world, and setting the stage necessary therefore, constitute the vital, pivotal and determining factor in winning and ending the war?
(ii) Had that decision not been taken, would not we probably still have been in the throes of LTTE terrorism (with very frequent suicide bombings, deaths of loved ones, not knowing whether one will come back alive or in pieces, on going out, etc,etc, as one can see is even now occurring almost daily mainly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, a factor totally ignored today by political and other ingrates and still been at war with the West prodding on the LTTE from the sidelines?
(iii) Had Ranil W won the Presidential Election in Nov 2005, would not we still have been in Peace Talks and in war, with perhaps Eelam established and internationally recognized? In this regard, Note well (a) the terms of the CFA signed by Ranil W with the LTTE behind the then President’s and the country’s back,and the manner in which it was implemented, and (b) like situations/conditions that existed or came to be in countries abroad, such as in Serbia (Kosovo) Sudan (S.Sudan), Indonesia (Acheh), Georgia (Ossetto) as I remember, and (c ) the response of the International Community to such situations, namely almost instant recognition of the seceding portions by the West.
(iv) If the answers 47(i) to (7)(iii) above is affirmative, who took that decisive decision? If not affirmative, give the reasons therefore, please.
(8) In any insurgency, insurrection, rebellion, revolt, whatever, the battles,wars have essentially to be fought by the Army, the Land Forces, as a matter ofcourse. When victory is finally won by the final land battles, naturally the Army gets credit, as it should. Yet it must be remembered that the Army’s successes are also predicated on, and hugely assisted by the contributions of the other Armed Forces and the Logistical Arms of the State. Such contributions are made before the army goes into battle and/or simultaneously with it. They perform their respective functions, just like the Army performs its functions. Without the non-army contributions an Army cannot perform its functions,nor win any battle,and vice versa sometimes. Victories are without doubt the result of a joint effort by all arms of the security forces, and the logistical and civil arms of the state, the degree of contribution by each, necessitated and governed by the particular nature of the disturbance.
(9)(i) Finally, a question on War Victory precedents. Take World War 2. So far as Britain was concerned: (a) who was credited as having won the war? Was it General Bernard Montgomery, Commander of the British Forces, who led them to Berlin and German defeat, or Mr Winston Churchill, the PM, who had vowed, since becoming PM, to fight on the land, on the oceans and in the air, to the very end, until Germany’s ‘unconditional surrender’. This, as against Neville Chamberlain (the British Ranil W) who despite many earlier Peace Deals with Hitler, which Hitler broke regularly, (shades of Ranil W’s several Peace Talks in Bangkok, Geneva, Oslo) finally boasted of achieving ‘Peace in our Time’ after the Munich Pact described by him as bringing ‘Peace with Honour’ (shades of Ranil’s CFA?), only for Hitler to start W2 not long after NC waved his copy of the Pact on returning to an enthusiastic crowd. (b) Who stood on Britain’s Buckingham Palace balcony with Britain’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on VE Day acknowledging the cheers of the massive crowd? Montgomery or Churchill? (c) Regarding the USA,who is credited as having won the war? General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of all the Allied Forces, and the man who mainly planned the Allied campaign, or Mr Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. President who, however died before the war was won, and (d) Regarding France, who is hailed as the man who saved France? General Le Clerc who commanded the Free French Forces or Gen de Gaul, the French Leader in fighting exile in Britain? (e) And to go back some time, who is credited as having won the American civil war of the 1860s? General Ullyses S. Grant, who led the US Federal Forces against the secessionist Southern Confederate Forces or Abraham Lincoln, the US President who took teh pivotal dicision to fight the South, whatever the cost?
(ii) Why were these political leaders credited as being primarily responsible for winning WW2 and not the commanders of their respective armies?
So ‘Who won the war?’ The answer to this oft-discussed question now posted in the recent The Sunday Leader editions mentioned above, could, inter alia, lie in the unbiased, neutral, apolitical answers to the questions listed above.
Electricity Consumer Bills
Lanka Electricity Co. [Pvt.] Ltd. has always been prompt to attend to any telephone requests. Recently the Government imposed a service charge to augment the national revenue income in addition to the monthly payment on the electricity power utilized by consumers. For a payment amount over Rs. 5,500 the service charge is not independently recorded for the consumer to realize the exact payment for the units of electricity utilized and the payment due for the surcharge.
Any court of law will allow the request, as such the Company should, with an advertisement in all newspapers, inform the public that from the current month the service charge will be indicated as a separate item. The consumers trust that the Minister will heed the request.
Mulpituwa An Eyesore
I must confess, it was not my intention to write to the press on the deterioration of ‘Mulpituwa’ programme. This I do, as a letter to the compiler of this programme has not paid any heed to a letter sent personally addressed to him. This programme which starts at 6.30 a.m. daily, was very popular but the pattern changed with the compiler trying to boost his own image by showing him coming into the studio at 3a.m, sipping tea. Then he gets himself introduced by his co-partner as `Senior journalist’. Recently he has invited actresses and actors and also a few eminent persons, who too are coaxed to do the same. It is common knowledge and experience, when a person is invited to deliver a speech, he praises, although not deserving, but to please the person who has invited him or her as in funerals where scoundrels are praised. Little does he realize that 6.30 a,m is a busy time in the household, getting ready to go to work, prepare children to go to school, etc. and this waste of time has become a nuisance. What we need is to know the headlines which gives an idea what the consents would be.
The other is , the compiler never reads the headlines in Ravaya on Fridays and sometimes, The Sunday Leader, when the main news is sensational, highlighting some scandal. Thereby, does it not show he is not truthful to the viewers, selective and biased. It would be interesting to have readers’ views when this letter is published, so that the compiler will know what the public opinion is and come down to earth. A good wine needs no bush. Please do not waste our precious time for self promotion – egoism.
K. M. Silva, Kelaniya.