Saturday, December 10, 2016

Is Corruption Acceptable in the Armed Forces...?


Corruption has become all pervasive – politicians, civilian bureaucrats – and – even defence officers have been affected by the “corruption virus”. 

Yes – even the Armed Forces have been tainted by scams by senior officers – and recently – we witnessed the ignominy of an ex Air Chief being arrested for corruption.

Whenever a senior military officer is implicated in a corruption scam – some veterans complain that only Armed Forces Officers Officers are targetted for Corruption and Politicians/Bureaucrats involved in corruption get away scot free.

They also give excuses justifying corruption in uniform saying that if Bureaucrats can be corrupt and make money – what is the harm of Military Officers also make a few bucks...? 

Corruption is harmful everywhere. 

At present – we are witnessing how a few corrupt bankers are defeating the objectives of Demonetisation. 

Yes – corruption is harmful in all places.

However – it is in the uniformed Defence Services that corruption caused maximum harm

This is because corruption destroys discipline – which is the bedrock of the Armed Forces. 

Read on...

Musings of a Veteran

One of the most important of the  Ten Commandments  is the Eighth Commandment – THOU SHALT NOT STEAL (You shall not steal) which clearly says “do not steal” and prohibits theft.

There are many forms of “stealing”.

Robbery and burglary are “blue collar” thefts.

Corruption is a “white collar” theft.

Corruption is a form of stealing.

Hence – corruption violates the 8th Commandment.

We observe that the law and society is harsh towards those committing robbery and burglary.

However – we seem to be quite benevolent and lenient towards the corrupt persons who indulge in all sorts of scams.

Is corruption really that harmful?

Well – there may be many ramifications of corruption  but one effect I have observed during my long military career in the Navy is:

“When Corruption comes in – Discipline goes out...”

“Corruption In –> Discipline Out...”

Discipline is the bedrock of the Armed Forces.

Corruption destroys discipline.

And that is the main reason why corruption is most harmful in military organizations like the Army, Navy and Air Force.

As a young officer in the Navy – I used to ask myself: 

“If I remove my badges of rank  then why should a sailor willingly obey me...?”

The answer I gave to myself was that  a sailor will obey me if he respects me.

And – in order to respect me  the sailor should feel that I am “better” than the sailor.

Yes  an officer will be respected by a soldier, sailor or airman  if the soldier, sailor or airman feels that the officer is “better” than him.

Those days  I could not exactly define what the term “better” meant.

Now – I realize that the term “better” means “moral ascendancy.

Your juniors will willingly obey you if they “respect” you.

And – you must have “moral ascendancy” over them to gain their “respect”.

Thus  “moral ascendancy” in officers  especially senior officers  is an essential prerequisite for discipline in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Moral Ascendancy is the most important Officer Like Quality (OLQ) for a Defence Officer.

You have to attain moral ascendancy before you demand respect.

Genuine respect does not come from authority  but from “moral ascendancy”.

Can a corrupt officer have “moral ascendancy”...?

Can you expect Junior Officers and Soldiers to genuinely “respect” those Corrupt Senior Officers who indulge in scams, scandals and immoral acts and thereby tarnish the reputation of the Defence Services...?

Once “respect” goes  “willing obedience goes  and  as a consequence – natural discipline goes.

Thus – when Corruption comes in  Discipline goes out.

Media reports of various incidents in recent times indicate that symptoms of this indiscipline are quite visible.

Can an indisciplined army fight effectively...?

There is a saying that a corrupt and indisciplined army can never win a war.

And – God Forbid  if there is a war  and – if we lose the war  the main reason will be corruption.

Corruption is harmful everywhere.

But in the Armed Forces  corruption is especially harmful since – in the Military – when Corruption comes in  Discipline goes out.

This can lead to disastrous consequences like defeat in war

In the Military  corruption can compromise security.

That is why Corruption in the Armed Forces is most harmful. 

Corruption is not acceptable anywhere – but – it is in the Armed Forces that Corruption is absolutely not acceptable at all – in view of the disastrous consequences that can happen if the corruption virus” is allowed to affect the Defence Services. 

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