The US-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) is correct: the Philippines is indeed “a war zone in disguise,” and is among the world’s deadliest countries for civilians.
He’s the commander-in-chief of the “war” on drugs and drops the word “kill” so often some think that’s the limit of his English vocabulary. He’s the last person in these isles of violence one would expect to be a pacifist. But he sounded like one last April 9.
They were “insurrectos” during the late Spanish period, “insurgents” during formal US occupation, and “insurgents” still today.
Echoing the country’s former and current colonizers, the Philippine government calls what the guerillas of the New People’s Army (NPA) are waging an “insurgency.” But more accurately can it be described as a war–and a war that has been going on for over a century.
DO most of the country’s media organizations, among them the broadsheet that claims to have the largest audited circulation in the country, want war with China? Do they think the Philippines could win such a war? Do they believe the US would go to war with China in support of the country’s claim over the Scarborough Shoal?
Judging by the way they‘ve been reporting the Philippines-China impasse over the Shoal, the answer to all three questions is “yes.”
If the phrase “civilized warfare” sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because it is. With their toll in lives lost, societies ravaged and resources destroyed, wars are the very anti-theses of civilized behavior. They can kill millions, as the first and second world wars did. They separate families and uproot entire communities. They set back development, and can throw entire societies back to an earlier stage of development—as in Vietnam, which the US sought to bomb “back to the Stone Age.” And yet wars are likely to remain part of the human condition as long as men and women are divided by competing economic interests and by the inequality in societies where the gulf between classes results in the most egregious injustice and the most widespread misery.
The elimination of war, whether between nations or within nations, is premised on the elimination of greed and inequality, to which all the other “causes” that trigger wars, such as racial hatred, religion, ethnic conflict, etc., are ultimately reducible. The rhetoric of the US “war on terror” concealed the real causes of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington and the US’ retaliation, terrorism being a method of warfare rather than its cause.