Excerpt: Sao Sokha’s January 15 Speech

Below is an excerpt from a recording of a speech made by National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha during an annual meeting of Phnom Penh’s military police on January 15, in which he said he “learned from Hitler.” Both General Sokha and Prime Minister Hun Sen have since claimed that his comments were taken out of context by the media. Before this quoted passage, Gen. Sokha discussed threats to the nation posed by the opposition CNRP and the street protests it staged in late 2013.

“My having prepared all the military police is not wrong. I reformed the military police in perhaps 2010. I made the reform and there were a lot of high-ranking military officers who did not support my idea. ‘Do you think you can control the army?’ They asked me such a question. I said, “I don’t know, because you are equal to me.” We waged the same guerrilla war. Now we wage war to defend the nation….

“It started from the Thai invasion in 2008, when we had gatherings of soldiers along the border. I had a feeling—speaking frankly in this meeting—when the Thais invaded us, I was reminded of when Lenin grabbed power from the provisional government of capitalists in October 1917. In February, there was a revolutionary toppling of the czar when the czar brought soldiers to fight with the German Army in World War I. So when the king [czar] sent all soldiers to fight along the border with the German soldiers, inside [the country], workers [and] farmers combined with some of the soldiers and capitalists to overthrow the czar to form the republic…. And in October, Lenin overthrew the capitalist government and took power in October 1917. I was reminded of that issue.

“I prepared all the military police, speaking frankly. I think that some days, someone acts like a czar doing foolish things…. We have to be ready. If a problem arises, I call military police from the districts and it is like the swollen belly of a duck with unborn eggs. That is why I organized the mobile military police. But I do not allow them to stay in one place. If they stay in one place, some older brothers will ask them to be bodyguards or drivers.

“Secondly, if they stay in one place, they will become lazy and not get training because they are still young. So I usually send them to the provinces every three months—transferring them so that they know the geography of the places, transferring them to make them understand the environment and make them fast. For the past situations, some wonder where the military police come from because there are not [usually] many [inaudible]. This is my tactic….

“When I do something, I think it through carefully. I am sorry. Please don’t turn this into commentary. I studied it. I learned it from two brothers. Speaking frankly, I learned from Hitler. Germany, after World War I, was not allowed by the international community to have more than 100,000 soldiers, but the Nazis and Hitler did whatever so they could wage World War II. This is the first thing.

“Secondly, I learned from the Vietnamese guerrillas to take small numbers to fight against the big, but that cannot be for winning, but to destroy them. If we want to win, we have to take big numbers to fight against the small—to fight them until they are frightened and it is finished. This is what I can say; it is not accidental, it is not boastful. My thoughts and methods are to achieve this.”

(Translated by Van Roeun)

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