Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Army commander General Anupong Paochinda need a serious discussion to fine tune the concept of 'politic-led military' strategy for handling the violence in the deep South.
Misunderstanding the concept causes confusion in implementation and operation. People in power should not pretend to understand it since in many cases, such a pretentious approach could worsen the situation with mishandling.
Violence in the predominantly Muslim region since the beginning of 2004 was supposed to have been in decline as the ruling Democrat Party - as it always claims - really knows the region better than others.
The southern- based Democrats said they had a much better understanding of the root cause of the violence in the deep South than their predecessor Thaksin Shinawatra.
However after six months in power, the worsening situation proves the Democrat-run government has no idea of how to get its work started. The number of violence cases as monitored by Deep South Watch, a Prince of Songkhla University based violence counting unit, remains above 100 incidents per month - from below 100 incidents before March.
Violence and brutality, common during Thaksin's period, have revived over the past six months. Brutal massacres, such as the Narathiwat mosque attack which left 11 Muslim worshippers dead and a dozen injured, gun attacks on Buddhist monks and the beheading of innocent people, have taken place in only in two weeks.
Like Thaksin, Abhisit keeps saying "we are coming in from the right way and going in the right direction."
What the government has done is merely boost force and pour budget into the area, although many senior people in the government have long realised money and military alone cannot solve the problem.
The government badly needs to enforce the real politic-led military strategy to drastically change the way it handles the situation and to solve the problem at its root cause.
Prime Minister Abhisit has said his government is implementing a so-called politic-led military strategy and never relies on military means alone to contain the violence.
However, this is just lip service since the premier has never understood that the handling of the situation in the deep South by the Internal Security Operational Command (Isoc) is in the military's search and destroy mode. Nothing in the ground operation these days is in political mode. It is an ordinary military operation.
The Isoc simply stations armed forces in areas and commissions the military to search for insurgents and destroy them. The task includes psychological warfare to bring residents, mostly Muslim, under supervision of the authorities.
The military misunderstands that a development program must be part of any politic-led strategy.
"What they are doing could not be regarded as a politic-led strategy, which is a civilian job carried out by military," said Senator Worawit Baru from Pattani.
The military would not need to do civilian jobs if the government really had a proper strategy for the deep South, he said.
If it really wanted to use political means, Bangkok should design a new administrative structure to open channels for local people to release their frustrations and become absorbed in the administration.
The government needs to reinterpret the on-going violence to find out what kinds of frustration fertilise it.
Real politic-led strategy should contain political elements and channels to meet demands of local people. The most important element is the dialogue mode - or in other words, room for negotiation. Talk should be open to all.
How can he call it a politic-led strategy? Prime Minister Abhisit has shut down the opportunity for talk with whoever orchestrates the violence, due to a senseless fear of foreign intervention.