Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Do editors and editorial writers know how to fight a war?

The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) must be lauded for stating truths in its editorials such as 1) war is a waste, 2) war is stupid (ooops that's a Boy George hit!) and 3) Some generals could be incompetent.

Take the last paragraph in their editorial today

"It is not too late to de-escalate the hostilities. If the Marines have to avenge their slain and beheaded comrades, so be it. But limit their activities to surgical operations that will not affect entire islands. Macho warriors cannot forget the Old Testament maxim of “a tooth for a tooth” and “an eye for an eye.” And it is always easy for generals who stay in the comfort of their airconditioned war rooms to wage war and play with the lives of their men. But the morally courageous stand is to call for the reduction of hostilities and to work for peace"

The PDI is now acting as a General Headquarters where battle plans are made! The opening lines of the editorial seems to suggests. I wonder what credentials do the editors have in planning strategy?

The problem is that the PDI hasn't even considered whether crushing terrorists is a just cause. Newspaper editors fight in airconditioned rooms too like the generals they describe. The dangers they face are libel suits and possibly bombs and bullets from the terrorists themselves. Newspaper workers are combatants too since terrorism does not respect civilians. Being civvy makes us a target, newspaper editors not exempted.

The fact is simple. The Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups that target civilians are terrorists and should be crushed! In our Republic it is the armed services that has the duty to crush and destroy all terrorists, their infrastructure, their conduits of funds etc. This is what the bleeding hearts of the PDI seem to forget.

True. The morally courageous stand is to work for peace. But even the Catholic Catechism leaves space for conscience to use armed force for self-defence. Military operations against terrorists are legitimate under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of this Republic. She too is bound to defend the Constitution in executing orders to use the armed services. In other words she is under the law and the terrorists are not. That is why it is a just cause to crush terrorism.

The PDI is deluded by confounding several issues here. First it confounds the thirst for revenge of the soldiers. This is understandable. When the Japanese were crushed in the 1945 Battle of Manila, Filipino soldiers entering the sacked city only felt one thing: Revenge! But then again the soldiers have to operate under legitimate authority and so the revenge had to be cast aside. The Nazis in destroying Lidice acted as state terrorists and did it in revenge. They cast away any morality here.

PDI editorialists should brush up on their military history! The PDI editorial's delusion continues. It fails to separate the justness and merits of the offensive against the incompetence of the generals. The PDI has the right to expose this incompetence in military judgment if it indeed exists, but that has to be taken separately from the issue of winning this war.

And the PDI suggests "surgical operations" against the enemy. Good God!

The Maximus Lucius Decimus character, the Gladiator who was once General in the Oscar winning movie had the right words for this war.

"Unleash hell"

But not from the General Headquarters of the PDI Editorial Room!

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