Skip to comments.Manila buckles
Posted on 07/16/2004 2:51:30 PM PDT by Pikamax
EDITORIAL Manila buckles THE Filipino government's decision to pull out its troops from Iraq is wrong. With only 43 soldiers and policemen there, the decision will have no material impact on coalition strength in Iraq, but it will have devastating psychological consequences - not least in the Philippines itself. Symbolism matters, especially in the war on terrorism, which is as much an ideological war as it is a military one. The decision sends the same message to the world in general and the Arab/Muslim world in particular, as did Spain's decision to withdraw its forces following a bomb attack in Madrid: Terrorists are brave, prepared to die for their twisted cause; the anti-terrorists are weak, and will fold under pressure; terror therefore works. Kill and maim hundreds in Europe, and Europeans will walk away from the war on terrorism, simpering. Kidnap a Filipino, and his government will accede, with indecent haste, to terrorist demands to bring forward the scheduled pull-out date of Filipino troops by a whole month, from Aug 20 to July 20.
In the Filipino case, the decision is especially foolish and counter-productive, given the reality that Manila is fighting terrorist insurgents in its own backyard, in its Muslim-majority southern provinces. If its knees can buckle so easily in Iraq, terrorists will assume they will buckle at home too. It is not possible to retreat in a cowardly fashion from one theatre of war and expect to be taken credibly in another. Filipino President Gloria Arroyo's decision is a stain on her country's honour and will damage the hard-earned reputation for bravery that Filipino soldiers have won over many wars, both at home and abroad. The decision also damages the United States, Manila's chief ally for decades, and even now its chief supporter in countering terrorists in southern Philippines. This is no way to treat a friend, no matter how doubtful or critical one might be of its current policies.
Other Asian countries which have contributed forces to the coalition in Iraq, cannot, and will not, act in the same fashion as the Philippines has. Sure, the US-led invasion of Iraq was not popular in Asia. But Asian governments as well as their publics must recognise that the debate as to whether US should have invaded is over. The coalition is there; things have not worked out precisely as Messrs George W. Bush, Tony Blair, et al, expected; but they, and the world, have no alternative but to deal with the consequences. Whatever one's views might have been as to the wisdom of invading Iraq, there is no doubt that the country is now a major theatre in the war against terrorism. There is no doubt, too, that if the coalition were to be defeated in Iraq, everyone, including hyper-critical Frenchmen and hastily-retreating Filipinos, would be worse off. Radical jihadists, having scored a victory over a super-power, would gain enormous credibility everywhere, most especially in South-east Asia. At all costs, the world must not allow this. Asian countries, from large ones like Japan to small ones like Singapore, have no alternative but to contribute, however modestly, to stabilising Iraq. It is in Asia's interest to do so.
The Filipino decision has damaged that interest. Granted, Mrs Arroyo's government is not particularly strong, but it has a moral obligation to the Philippines as well as to Asean to tackle terrorism fearlessly and vigorously. Instead, by its action, it has made the Philippines a weak link in the fight against terror. The country's friends cannot but be concerned, for southern Philippines is a breeding ground for South-east Asian terrorism.
Yes, I would say kidnappings there are going to be on the rise.
No, Manila folds
The straights times gets it
Soon enough, it will become apparent to sheeple everywhere what is at stake losing the War on Terrorism.
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