The young recruits with rifles and ragged duffels will never see the swimming pools of the officers clubs that line the boulevards of Cairo. They will not profit from the Egyptian military's network of private business interests. They'll eat beans and bread and earn about $30 a month.
But they will be respected as men who protect the homeland — from foreign enemies and sometimes from itself.
A military coup in most nations would signal alarm about the country's future. In Egypt, much of the country cheered. The military stands for the stability many long for amid economic turmoil and political unrest, a role no other institution is trusted to fill.