Balance of Defense: a poor but good ATM for shopping "out of everything"


From the memory of the writer comes the distant memory of the acquisition by the army of the AR / 76, the off-road vehicle that replaced the legendary "campagnola" AR / 59. It was known that the AR / 76, made by Fiat on commission of the army of the former Yugoslavia, was "rejected" by the client, which is why the Turin-based house, forced to look for a new buyer, launched a blackmail formula: "Or buy it the Italian army or a good number of workers will end up in layoffs" ... and the Italian army bought. Without going into details of the flaws of the vehicle in question, the writer always had the opportunity to experience it when the explosion of a wheel caused the overturning of an AR / 76 configured in the version for the command post brigade; they ended up spinning in the air and upside down the radio Piga marshall, the corporal Tedde conductor and the general Manca commander of Sassari. The weight of the radios for the command post and the three passengers was too much for the AR / 76, which turned out not to be able to take over the AR / 59 in the transport and use of the 106 cannon without recoil.

So it was that Fiat did not resort to layoffs, just as it was not forced to do the Olivetti, after that in the barracks came a batch of computers that were said to clog the warehouses of the company of Ivrea. The Olivetti computers, procured after the appointment as Chief of Staff of the Turin Luigi Poli (whence the formula "'operation Polivetti" coined by the naia), were greeted without enthusiasm by the accounting officers who aspired to something more performing. With as much coolness the army welcomed both the Arna, an anonymous Alfa Romeo that in the years' 80 did not excite the markets, both the ACP 80 of Iveco, an "exaggerated" truck that, despite boasting a remarkable range, having a non-tipping body was "wasted" mainly for the transport of personnel (18 men).

This is the premise to introduce the latest fashion in terms of "defense budget: a poor ATM but good for shopping out of all". In fact it is news of these days that to run to the rescue of the Piaggio-Aerospace in difficulty, the air force was imposed to allocate a portion of its budget to the purchase of some P.1HH (photo), remote-guided aircraft with features not meeting the needs of aeronautics. It is known, however, that such aircraft can be used for civil protection needs in the well-known framework of all-round armed forces, better known by the acronym dual-use.

It should be remembered that for the current financial year the budget of our defense, which in absolute terms and percentages is equal to less than 50% of the budgets of France and the United Kingdom, has already suffered a cut of 500 million; for its part, the aeronautics had to postpone the acquisition of remote-guided aircraft meeting its operational needs to an undefined future.

In light of the aforementioned principle dual-use applied now with a routine and non-emergency criterion (see the operation Safe roads and the commitment of funds for non-purely military needs), one wonders if the political class and the institutional top are aware that a young man who chooses to pursue a military career does not aspire to be a civil protection operator or to replace the specialized companies to asphalt the streets of the capital, much less to take over traffic wardens in the control of Roma camps.

To better understand such a visual angle, the meditative reading of a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu holy poem, in which Prince Arjuna talks about his warriors can help: "On the day when the pillars of heaven fell on the day when the foundations of the earth fell, they followed their vocation as mercenaries and received the pay and died".

It is inevitable that a rattoppa-buche or a vigilante of Roma camps is spiritually distracted from very different perspectives and commitments.

It is serious that the political class and public opinion pretend to ignore the large number of war outbreaks that infest the planet and run the risk of getting out of hand to the various antagonists; a lack of interest that made a German minister say "If Europe does not care about war it will be war to take an interest in Europe". A consideration based on concrete elements such as the permanent turmoil of the African continent, conflicts in the Middle East, the conflicts between India and Pakistan, relations between the two Koreas, the recent US-Russian fracture in nuclear agreements, the ferments Ukrainians and Catalans, Islamic pressures in most European countries, tensions between the various South American countries and especially the Mediterranean theater, made unstable by migratory phenomena managed by the international underworld in league with Islamic terrorism.

An air-sea theater, that of the Mare Nostrum, in which Italy continues to play an entirely marginal role. Significant the episode that last year involved the ship Eni Saipem 12000 engaged in oil prospecting in Cypriot waters: blocked by units of the Turkish navy the Italian ship was forced to do behind the front and return home with the helm between the legs, making Italy do a figure that the good Emilio Fede would have cataloged in such a colorful and effective way. All in spite of international law but only because that area of ​​research concerned Turkey, which motivated its abuse by virtue of the well-known principle of the Marquis Del Grillo made famous by Alberto Sordi: "because I am me and you do not count a. .. ". Italy's resigned attitude, which on the occasion did not even formulate a formal protest, is that of a country with unbelievable armed forces; in practice that of a vegetarian country in a world of carnivores. And who deludes himself that the interests of Italy can be defended by others (NATO, UN etc.) simply consider whether it is likely that an English, French or German father can accept that his son jeopardizes his life to defend Italian interests .

In conclusion: if you get to express satisfaction because "When the excessive rains caused too many holes in the streets of Rome, the engineers of the Italian army followed their vocation of bitumen and patched the streets of the capital", means giving priority to a policy that postpones sine die the commitment to give credited, trained and equipped armies to Italy with valid and efficient weapon and weapon lines. A renouncing attitude, which satisfies some parties but which penalizes the prestige and interests of Italy and which will penalize them even more if some accident causes the columns of the sky to fall, as has happened for thousands of years, and the foundation of the earth collapses.

That said, it is inevitable that hearing about satisfaction and happiness for the dual use of the army in road maintenance and control of pickpockets recalls the famous line of the prince Antonio De Curtis, in art Totò: "But do me the pleasure ! "

General Nicolò Manca

Photo: Ministry of Defense / PIAGGIO AERO INDUSTRIES / ANSA / YouTube frame