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Jakarta Post

Military also a victim of 1965, expert says

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 3, 2016   /  09:52 am
Military also a victim of 1965, expert says A man sweeps the floor of the Potent Pancasila Monument in East Jakarta on Sept 26. (Antara Photo/Risky Andrianto)

A failed coup in 1965, blamed on the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), led to the massacre of at least 500,000 people throughout the archipelago. The massacre was supported and carried out by the military and civilian militias. However, despite the military’s role in the massacre, an analyst has argued that the military was also a victim of the violence.

Kusnanto Anggoro, a military defense expert, argues that the aftermath of the coup distorted the military by altering its dwi fungsi (dual role) doctrine and weakening its function as a defense force.

Soeharto, Kusnanto explained, distorted the dual function concept introduced by the late AH Nasution, an influential military general, by giving the TNI a dominant role in politics. As result, the TNI became occupied with politics and set aside the importance of optimizing defense strategy.

"Indonesia previously had greater military capability than other Southeast Asian countries, but our country's defense has lacked development since the New Order era. As the TNI played a significant role outside the realm of defense, it didn't put much effort into enhancing military capability," Kusnanto said in Jakarta on Friday.

From the New Order era until reformasi, the country's defense budget did not see any significant increases, he further said.

Though the TNI was stripped of its dual function role 18 years ago, Kusnanto said it was still focused on domestic issues to “protect the country's unity” instead of anticipating external threats. (ags)

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