There are and have been many countries in the world (never the U.S., fortunately) where the military establishment is an independent domestic political force in its own right – even where it does not rule directly, a force to which civil government had damned well listen very carefully, and on public-policy matters not at all military in nature – and, in such countries, the military is almost never a beneficial force, no, not even in Turkey or Pakistan. (We’ve debated those points before here many times.) Not least, because high-ranking officers with a bit of civil-government power/influence show a distressingly consistent tendency to turn into kleptocrats.
In Egypt, every president since independence including Mubarak has been a military man with the army’s support. At present, the army seems to have decided to throw Mubarak over the side – they won’t march on his palace themselves but they won’t get in the people’s way, at least not for the moment.
But, what will the people have gained, if they elect a new president who turns out to be as much in thrall to the army as his predecessor, and as bound to protect the officers’ privileges and wealth? And more so, considering the role the army played in his coming to power.
Is there any alternative? Any way this revolution could produce real people-power that is not in any sense army-power?
Come to think of it, why does Egypt even need a big peacetime standing army? I doubt very much Libya or Sudan or Israel or anybody else has any ambitions to invade it.