Generals Inflation in the Small Kingdom
Yesterday, I was disturbing to read an article in the front page of The Cambodia Daily (TCD), a local English newspaper, about the recent promotion of 29 generals to the rank of four star Generals. Already in 2010, we have estimated 2,200 generals in our small army of around 100,000 men. According to TCD, we have already 1,500 generals more than the entire, mighty US Army. Nobody knows exactly the figures of the RCAF (it is a state secret), but if we take the number above divided by 2,200, it comes out that a general would command of 45 soldiers. Normally, a general would have at least 1,000 soldiers to command. Besides, we have too many “ghost soldiers” soldiers whose names only exist and not real combat troops. The salary of these ghost soldiers went into the pockets of their superiors.
Why does the PM needed to promote too many generals? He seems to know that it does not make sense of too many generals for a small army. Few years ago, only he and few CPP’s leaders have Four Golden Stars. All the other have normal four stars or below. Then, the need to promote new four stars, then he upgraded himself to five stars. So, now since we have too many four stars, maybe he will upgrade himself to six stars and then give few close connected and well trusted generals five stars. Let’s wait and see. I think the simple reason is to make his generals happy with the government amid political deadlock and general bad feeling of the ordinary soldiers toward his government before and after general elections in 2013. The opposition tries to attract ranks and files soldiers, including generals, to their camp and it could be dangerous for PM if the generals are not happy with him and his government. It could be the end of his area.
Even during the war between 1970 and 1975, General Lon Nol, the President of the Khmer Republic and Commander in-Chief of the Army had only three stars. The ranks and files soldiers at that time did respect their superior very much. Now, it is not so. Mostly, we have heard many cases of land grabbing attaching to this and that general or people well-connected to them. It means more generals will create more instead of solving problems. And it costs the state in term of salary, offices, assistants etc. The Prime Minister announced that his new government hast “deep reform” on the agenda. Looking at the behavior and practices recently, it seems that his intended“deep reform” is just “lip services”. Poor Cambodia again!