Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


When we regularly give money for a specific purpose such as food for the hungry or medicine for the sick, we want to know that's where the money goes. If not, then we stop the flow.
The U.S. Senate decided to conduct an inquiry into reports that American military aid to the Philippine Military are being used somehow in extra-judicial killings of civilians instead of terrorists. If found to be so, then the U.S. Senate will recommend to control, if not curtail its foreign military aid to an impoverished country like the Philippines.

The idea of certain Filipino legislators, particularly Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago as chair of the Philippine Foreign Relations Committee, to retaliate and conduct a similar inquiry into alleged human rights abuses of the American Military in Iraq, seems to come out from a childish if not a retarded mentality. It's like talking in Tagalog: “Ikaw rin, ganyan ka rin.” (Translation: You did it too , so why bother?)

The Philippines cannot afford to influence the conduct of American soldiers in Iraq because they are not dependent on any Filipino military support. The American taxpayers are the ones who can control the use of American military force in countries where reports of violations of human rights have been committed.

What the de facto Arroyo Administration should have done and could still do is to act on the findings of the MELO Commission, its own investigative body designed to look into the upsurge of extra judicial killings in the Philippines, and bring the perpetrators to justice. If this was done before instead of keeping the fact-finding report from the public eye, the U.S. Senate inquiry would not be needed.
America launched an all-out war on terror after the 2001 terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center in New York that cost thousands of American lives lost and damaged and billions of dollars worth of American properties destroyed. Since then, American President George W. Bush has been thinking of one thing: Keep America Safe from the Terrorists and the battle cry is Never Again.
From a National Security perspective, it is wise to remember that during the Clinton Administration, the American media published a report that most of the officials hired by Clinton to assist him at the White House had no Security Clearances. One such official recommended by Hillary became the White House Chief of Personnel Security who once worked as a nightclub bouncer. Worse still, the media said that this official had access to the presidential attache case containing the pushbutton to start a nuclear war.
I must use this cliché to raise my point come election time again in 2008: TO FOREWARN IS TO FOREARM.


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