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Army chief who marches to a differe
- Subject: Army chief who marches to a differe
- From: suriya@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 00:06:00
Subject: Army chief who marches to a different tune
Army chief who marches
to a different tune
In an interview with The Nation on
Wednesday, new Army chief Surayuth
Julanont discussed not only professional
questions, but also delved into some
sensitive aspects of his life. Excerpts from
Who first told you that you would get the
post of army chief?
The supreme commander [Gen Mongol
Were you startled?
I was really excited because I didn't
imagine going this far. What was discussed
among senior military officials was that I
deserved to be the army chief-of-staff.
Some say that you got the post because of
politics. How will you draw a line between
your work as army chief and politics?
The administration, which is the political
power, is the one to decide whether I am
deserving of this post. If someone says that
my appointment was because of politics,
then one must admit that under our system,
politicians are the administration and we
permanent officials have to obey their order
The defence minister is the ultimate
commander of soldiers, so we have to
comply with his order.
Earlier leaflets claimed that your father was
the No 1 enemy of the armed forces
because he led the communist insurgency.
Were you uneasy when he was leading the
Very uneasy indeed. We were on the
opposite side because of my duty but we
were still father and son. I did not select as
to whom I should be born, but I have to carry
out my duty.
Can you perform both duties at the same
time -- as a grateful son and a soldier sent
out to crush the communist terrorists?
As a son, I have to respect my father, but I
have my own views about my duty and
responsibility. At this point, I can say that
had I killed my father while fighting
communists terrorists, it would not have
been regarded it as a sin. At that time, we
would not be able to ask who our enemies
were. I had made up my mind that such a
thing would be out of my control while on
Did you ever try to avoid being deployed to
crush communist terrorists in northern
provinces because your father was active in
I've never tried to avoid my duty. I have
always obeyed commands deploying me
Did your father know that you were among
the soldiers combatting his comrades?
The last time I met my father in Beijing
before his death, we talked about this
issue. My father said he knew that I am a
soldier and he tried to avoid meeting me in
the battle field.
You are one of the soldiers with a
democratic mind but some say you were
among those ordered to bring soldiers to
crush pro-democracy protesters on
Rajdamnoen Avenue in May 1992?
What did you do, then?
I had to comply with the order. I led a
company of soldiers to Bangkok from Lop
On May 17 [when soldiers opened fire on
I arrived the next morning.
What was the exact order?
I got the order on radio from the army chief
asking me to move soldiers to Bangkok.
For what purpose?
To stop turmoil on the streets and I was with
What did you do?
I took orders from the then army chief, but I
recommended my soldiers to stick to the
rule of engagement. I ordered them not to
You asked your soldiers not to open fire?