And now, as in the Mubarak years, the army will be posing as the only bulwark to radicalism.
In fact the only real bulwark is the work of Egyptians who seek a genuine democracy that respects human rights. We may not be able to stop the army from attacking them, just as yesterday it attacked American and European groups helping promote democracy and human rights in Egypt. But we should not pay for it. It is ludicrous to listen to army and other government spokesmen inveigh against dark forces who take money from foreigners–when the army takes $1.3 billion every year from the United States. Those payments should be suspended right now, and not resumed until everything seized in the raids is returned and we get promises from the military that these raids will not be repeated.
The Egyptian military plays positive and negative roles in Egypt, but the most significant single thing it did under Mubarak was to guarantee an Islamist victory once he left the scene. Mubarakism was a system that perpetuated military rule and American aid by arguing that the military was the only alternative to the Brotherhood (and groups worse than the Brotherhood) while in fact it created perfect conditions for the Islamists to thrive. We now see the result of those decades of repression and we should reject the invitation to continue the Mubarak system, this time with a collective military leadership replacing the dictator.