The 118-year war

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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.

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Making war

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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.”

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Artificially intelligent

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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.

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Eyeless in Gaza

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The 12-day Israeli assault on Gaza and its cost in non-combatant lives has elicited the usual tongue- clucking about the need for a ceasefire to prevent another “humanitarian disaster”.

The phrase is straight out of the dictionaries of UN relief agencies, and by now has little meaning to many people. The entire planet having become one huge disaster area, humanitarian crises have become so common millions are part of one, while others have been desensitized to the tales of suffering that daily flood the media.

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Wag the dog

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Somewhat like God, if 9/11 didn’t happen it would have had to be invented. The attack on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon were exactly what US neo-conservatives and US oil interests needed: an excuse for regime change in Afghanistan, and later, in Iraq, as part of an aggressive policy of military, political and economic consolidation and expansionism. It was the tail that wagged the dog.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the only remaining superpower attacked Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power. The excuse was the capture of Osama bin Laden. The invasion occurred despite a proposal by the Taliban regime to surrender bin Laden to the United States if there was evidence that he was indeed responsible. The US rejected the proposal even before bin Laden accepted responsibility for the attack.

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