Armed Forces or Beloved Forces?

(To Nicolò Manca)

The Italian soldier (meaning by soldier any soldier in the army, navy or air force) has for some time been breathing an unusual atmosphere dripping with consent from the political class and from that world of information that is usually critical or at least stingy with recognition .

Every opportunity is good to panegyric of the meritorious and decisive involvement of the soldier: from emergencies for public calamities to the labor force to unload a stock of the discussed rotated banquets from some trucks.

Between these two extremes are to be registered the competitions for emergency waste, surveillance of illegal immigrants and Roma, bitumizing of the streets of the capital, "Safe roads" (mission now enlisted in effective permanent service), hasty (why?) evacuation of the coffins of the victims of the pandemic, covid 19 health competition and, last but not least, the transport and distribution by means of an indefinite number of aircraft, helicopters and wheeled vehicles of some boxes of vaccines arrived in Italy on board of a famous Bofrost van.

It almost seems that the image of the soldier in camouflage involved in any activity sanctions the validity, the necessity, the urgency and the sacredness of the same. A complete picture of the awards towards the soldier was made a few days ago by Andrea Cionci, journalist of "Libero", who in the article "The Army: an excellence that we too often take for granted" he listed the commitments of the soldier in Italy and abroad: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia and other smaller missions. It cannot be ruled out that in the near future the competition in the protection and care of stray dogs given by our contingent of the West Regional Command operating in Kosovo will also be given prominence.

In practice, we are exporting our aptitude to collaborate with civil protection and non-military organizations in the most diverse fields abroad. However, there is still a certain reluctance to focus attention on the activities most suited to the soldier's nature.

The discretion reserved for the competition (perhaps because it focuses on the use of explosives?) Provided by the “Col Moschin” raiders to promptly resolve the problem of the demolition of the central Ponte Morandi is significant, an indispensable prerequisite for rebuilding the structure quickly.

It is reasonable to think that the political class is conditioned by the fear of simply taking into consideration any hypothesis of the use of force, so much so that only abusers and evildoers can resort to violence.

It is significant that the project to equip agents with a taser gun has also been abandoned in the area of ​​law enforcement, so that it has become the norm that anyone who massacres a law enforcement officer, as happens from Genoa to Taranto, risks simply ending up in house arrest while the attacked ends up in hospital.

The world of information has also glossed over some non-interventions that should have seen the soldier as the protagonist, according to the expectation of many. Two of these circumstances saw the Agip Saipem 12000 ship blocked in the Mediterranean by Erdogan's sailors and the kidnapping of the eighteen fishermen from Mazara del Vallo by the Haftar militias.

In the first, a Turkish navy ship dislodged the Saipem 12000 which was about to carry out oil exploration in international waters (the motivation for the act of force was that of the Marquis Del Grillo by Alberto Sordi: "Because I know you and I don't you are a ca ... "), while in the second it was necessary to take note of the inertia of our navy in the face of the seizure of the Italian motor trawler.

The epilogue of this second story saw the head of the government and the foreign minister of the Italian Republic go to Libya to pay a diplomatic tribute to Haftar; an epilogue made possible only thanks to the in-put of Put-in!

It is not known what the judgment of the Italian soldier on these events is, both today and yesterday. The hypothesis that the judgment of today's soldier is not flattering is however supported by the expression of the faces of the military in camouflage engaged in the above competitions, expressions that translated into words say "Yes, I do, but I asked to be a soldier".

For the soldiers of yesterday, however, only hypotheses can be made, as happened to the writer, looking at the photo of a war cemetery of the Sassari brigade taken in recent days on the Asiago plateau. For those who know of Sardinian it is inevitable to imagine the stern gaze of those 218 soldiers who fell into the trenches and buried there. A look more eloquent than a thousand words, which I imagine turning grim when landing on the photo that immortalizes the mocking smile of two Libyan officers in front of the bow, almost a kiss on the hand, of the Italian Foreign Minister at a strut Haftar.

Probably Haftar himself would have shown greater willingness to "return" the 18 fishermen to Italy if, as France, the United Kingdom and other European countries presumably would have done in our place, he had been given a more energetic diplomatic message, by crossing off of the Libyan coasts some units of our Navy or touching that airspace with a patrol of EF-2000 Typhoon. All of course without any warmongering ambitions aimed at unleashing conflicts, but only to send the message "I have credible armed forces and I do not intend to let myself be stepped on".

But to follow this path it is essential to have, even before credible armed forces, an equally credible political class, capable of using with diplomacy also the deterrence based on the military lever of force. Until this is the case, Italy will have to suffer from arrogant or abusive attitudes on the part of friendly and unfriendly countries.

Craxi's determination towards the same American friends in the Sigonella episode of October 1985 is emblematic of something belonging to another geological era and to another planet.

Significant today, in its banality, is France's claim to unilaterally "annex" Mont Blanc, to dictate the law in terms of territorial waters and to unload migrants rounded up in French territory on Italian territory.

Even the attitude of superiority that some countries of central Europe claim to have in comparison with Italy is badly digested by the Italian soldier.

The moral that can be drawn from these notes is this: the soldier must be feared before he is loved. If it is also popular ... so much the better!

Photo: Italian Army / web / Twitter