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Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy Hardcover – June 20, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, June 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A must read for anyone who cares about Pakistan or its future.”
(Lee H. Hamilton, president and director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ayesha Siddiqa is a Pakistani military scientist, geostrategist, author, and former bureaucrat and political commentator.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (June 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745325467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745325460
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,913,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Writing about the military in Pakistan can be risky business and the author of this book has shown tremendous courage in publishing this important work. However, the merit of this book is not because it is daring but rather because of the intellectual rigor and empirical detail provided. Unlike anti-establishment provocateurs who can often claim courage of conviction but not much else, Dr. Siddiqa has provided us with a well-substantiated account of financial hegemony in the military that deserves applause. While recognizing the vital importance of the military itself, the book unravels how essential security can be easily manipulated to accumulate wealth for a powerful elite.

The author starts with a structural premise that defines the phenomenon of "milbus" as "military capital used for the personal benefit of the military fraternity, especially the officer cadre, which is not recorded as part of the defence budget." She then goes on to situate this concept within the larger literature on the military industrial complex. Her lucid prose is also augmented by clear, tables, organizational charts, graphs and Venn diagrams. Her findings are staggering: for example, the amount of land owned by military officers through subsidized schemes amounts to $4.6 billion. The military pensions being offered are five times the amount for civilian officers. The role of the Fauji Foundation and other military organizations in running commercial enterprises that range from cereal manufacturing to running schools is astounding.

The usual argument given by proponents of milbus is that the military is the most disciplined organization and can do everything more efficiently.
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Format: Paperback
The book is not only first of its kind on the secrets of Military Economics in Pakistan, it also contains the lessons a nation should learn on the limits of military engagements in civil insitutions.

Well written, and a brave effort.

5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Hinderance in releasing this book in Pakistan is a clear indication of the authenticity of this book. Lessons to be learned.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book because Pakistan has recently been in the news, and sad to say will probably be in the news again. Since the author received death threats when the book was published and wisely left Pakistan, it seemed that she had earned my support, and also that the book had hit a nerve.

The background for the book is the theory, originating among US academics, that the military is the most modern institution in developing societies, and that a politically strong military will therefore develop a country. This view is associated with Morris Janowitz and Samuel Huntington. Being Pakistani, Ayesha Siddiqa has noticed that their theory has not worked. She explains why in this book.

The book covers: the theoretical concept of Milbus, which she introduces; the Pakistani military; the political history of Pakistani; the four foundations that run the major investments of the Pakistani military; diversion of state land to private purposes in the interest of senior military officers; the cost of Milbus; and some speculations about its likely impact on the future of Pakistan. These appear sound to a non-expert on the Pakistan army.

If asked to state her general thesis, I would use a metaphor that she does not, and say that the suggestion that the military can develop a developing country in effect casts it in the role of a Marxist vanguard party. It has some advantages in this role, notably including greater administrative competence than a Marxist vanguard party usually has. But it lacks a concept of the revolutionary transformation of society, and it has a entirely different mission from social development, which is national defense. It is subject to the same tendency to corruption as a Marxist vanguard party.
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Format: Paperback
This book should come across as informative to outsiders, but not sure how they will ascertain if all is factual.

I have divided this book into three sections:
1. Military, Inc. financials—I find the financial irrelevant. Referenced Military, Inc. is a publicly traded company and pays taxes.
2. Historic facts—Dr. Saddiqa is downright wrong per other evidence provided.
3. Author’s opinion and research behind what should Pakistan Military’s role be and the impact of Milbus on Pakistan—Dr. Siddiqa is entitled to her opinion, provided evidence is factual.

My focus is #2, the historic events—what Dr. Siddiqa claims, are not factual. I reason it by sharing what other authors have written. Also, it is not an objective read.

Dr. Siddiqa’s research is very narrow--we now know the dollar value of "Milbus," and all its ills that she has claimed. There are no solutions provided and what benefit “Milbus” brings to the retired soldiers is overlooked. When it comes to the Army's various organizations out to make a buck, Dr. Siddiqa is quite right. These are tax paying organizations and are profitable organizations, but who is the beneficiary of revenues from acts of "Milbus"? These are the shareholders the retired men and women and the families of the arm forces--this other side of "Milbus" need mentioning in her book. In the U.S., we have veterans set aside quotas too for veteran's benefit—that balanced view is missing from her book. Milbus could also have been presented as the army's "Welfare Program" and a transitioning of a retired solder into corporate environment, which an author with a balanced approach would not have missed.
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