DIE HARD III
A cacophony of voices ranting and raving about what to do in response to a rival claimant’s presence in certain areas of the South China Sea can be heard these days. If these big and loud words only came from credible voices, I would stand up and take heed. But knowing the empty record of many of these bellows of bellicosity, including that young trapo Joey Salceda, who issued that silly boycott call, or the man often dubbed “De Cash-tro” for his perceived chauvinism and underhanded “journalism,” patriotic and nationalist rhetoric just become jingoist and vacuous.
It’s also hard to take seriously what Malacañang’s spinmasters are doing of late, such as recasting their president as a patriot or renaming as the “West Philippine Sea” what has been marked in the World Atlas for thousands of years as the “South China Sea.” Such pompous acts can hardly qualify as “patriotic” given that Philippine officialdom has completely ignored the nation’s enslavement to the US-IMF in its growing annual debt service of P800 billion, which continues to bedevil our finances, economy, and military defense capabilities.
Unwilling to tackle such real fundamental issues as resolving the debilitating 50-year national debt trap, those bellicose voices have instead turned to grasping at one of the flimsiest straws — RP’s so-called “alliance” with the United States of America.
If our history with that North American country were to be the gauge for it, then the Philippines is absolutely doomed. The US committed its first international betrayal of the budding Philippine nation when it stole our forefathers’ victory against their 400-year colonial master Spain and established its own colonialism after killing a million Filipinos, including a hundred thousand or so in the island of Samar.
Then, in the Second World War, the US sacrificed the Philippines to concentrate on the European theater of war and then staged a dramatic return by destroying it. History, as everyone should know, cites Manila as the second most devastated city in the world in that war (beaten only by Warsaw).
This was what Thomas Huber in his The Battle of Manila said of the military option that could have avoided Manila’s devastation: “Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, commander of the US 6th Army, apparently believed that Manila was not a genuine center of gravity and planned to bypass it. Krueger, whose force landed on the beaches of Lingayen Gulf on Jan. 27 1945, also favored delaying any attack on Manila until he could build up his assets and consolidate his position on the Lingayen coast.”
Instead, the vainglorious American Centurion, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, prepared a victory parade that was frustrated by a Japanese naval commander with 17,000 men defying Yama@!$%#a’s order to evacuate Manila; for this or other reasons MacArthur ordered the attack on Manila, pulverizing 80 percent of its structures and killing 100,000 of its civilians. It was a retired Filipino Army general who reminded me of this historical fact, as a pointed reaction to all the media hype on the Philippines ’ reliance on US military support.
Another retired Air Force general stated how everybody is going about it the wrong way, by expecting the US to come to the Philippines’ aid in the event of a clash with China. What he said is that the Philippines must learn to go it alone if it really wants to stand up for its territorial interests. He kept repeating that we must act as “THE Philippines ,” i.e. as one nation preparing for its defense even by its lonesome. And that only means rebuilding our economy, our industrial infrastructure, and our defense capabilities.
When I proposed that the country should first rid itself of over 250 trapos in Congress who eat up all our budgets, everyone agreed. Indeed, how can we prepare ourselves when half the national resources are eaten up by debt service and the rest by corruption?
Alas, little prepared me for the shock — in light of what the retired army general and our history books say of the US’ military record — upon reading Teddy “Boy” Locsin’s opinion piece in BusinessMirror last June 23 entitled, “Bring back the US bases and their nukes, Part I.” But this is precisely the attitude that the retired Air Force general scoffed at — dependence on external support while eschewing the primordial task of building the nation, its identity, its national spirit, its sense of purpose, unity and sacrifice.
Given what we know already of the US military and political establishments’ propensity to sacrifice all others to protect its own, in a nuclear conflict scenario, it will deliberately set up the Philippines as a key ballistic magnet for China’s first strikes against any forward attack facilities of the US. It’s going to be a repeat of the destruction of Manila but on a national scale, with radioactive damage dwarfing the Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Chernobyl, and Fukushima nuclear disasters combined.
We must take a position against involving foreign countries in our national struggles — the way belligerent Vietnam is doing or by way of Thailand’s use of tact and diplomacy (as it did in World War II and the Vietnam War).
If the Philippines can’t go it alone in standing up for its territorial sovereignty, then we’re a hopeless case. No external power will respect us enough to give us serious support except for opportunistic purposes, which will be useless and ultimately harmful to all Filipinos.
In the middle of the last century, some of our countrymen mistakenly thought of latching on to the Japanese imperial forces to eject US colonialism. In fact, Benigno Aquino III’s grandfather led the Kalibapi while his grandmother headed its women’s bureau. How ironic it is that the grandson now thinks he can use the country’s neocolonial ties to the US to rebuff China’s persistent territorial claims. He obviously doesn’t know that he wins nothing but only loses more for the nation in the end.
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)