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Gino Raidy

Lebanon’s Armed Forces: Subzero Morale

Image courtesy of theodorearz.blogspot.com

Being a soldier or law enforcement officer in Lebanon is tough. When there isn’t a full-on war, there’s unrest or violence of some kind. As if the dangers weren’t already insurmountable, Lebanon’s army and security forces’ hands are tied by the inept and constantly bickering political factions.

Lebanon is special in that everyone has to agree on everything, security and safety included. Drug dealers, murderers, terrorists and other very unpleasant individuals not only roam free, but boldly dare the government to try and arrest them, confident their political benefactors’ umbrella of corruption will ward off any attempt to enforce the law.

In the very unlikely event a wanted fugitive is actually hunted down, the armed forces often encounter heavy resistance and the political cover they had gets pulled out from under them quicker than the proverbial rug. When the bust is successful, and the wanted suspect or convict is put in jail, their godfathers in the government bail them out with a tiny sum and send in their private armored vehicles to escort them home, often to celebrations and photo opportunities for the next election round.

Imagine yourself in a soldier or policeman’s boots. When you get murdered and gangs in a town parade and desecrate your corpse for arresting a well-known terror suspect. When you are forced to withdraw from a Lebanese territory following a security incident with religious figures. When your helicopter is shot down and a pilot killed and life goes on as if nothing happened. What would you feel like? What would your initial love and pride in serving, protecting and even sacrificing yourself for your country be like after these recurring, morale-crushing incidents?

Shame on the political leaders that protect and bail out and even drive terrorists and murderers back to their hometowns to get a boost at the ballot boxes. Shame on us for criticizing the armed forces’ ineptness at doing their duty without considering the hopelessness and helplessness they feel. They are banned from arresting suspects, and when they aren’t, the suspects end up released with very light bail and glorified by misinformed and misguided people. When they are killed in action, no one is held accountable and we suffice with giving them the title martyr when they are actually a victim, a victim of petty political calculations and squabbling that leave Lebanon exposed and the Lebanese in constant danger.

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Image courtesy of theodorearz.blogspot.com

Imagine yourself in a soldier or policeman’s boots. When you get murdered and gangs in a town parade and desecrate your corpse for arresting a well-known terror suspect.