Letter: Training oppressors

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The Independent Online
Sir: Dr Watson's comments (letter, 29 May) display a misunderstanding of the military in Suharto's New Order. As a World Bank consultant, I worked in Indonesian government departments for seven years.

Suharto originally institutionalised the political and economic role of the military, buying their support through the establishment of business fiefdoms. The military is a business machine which has benefited mightily from its position of power. The bureaucracy has been extensively militarised and no section is without military officers occupying important positions. With large financial interests at stake, it is naive to suppose that the military could be converted to a democratic political system - being willing to destroy its own power-base and financial interests.

D F HAGGER

Llandrillo, Denbighshire

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