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2007 is a year that will live long in Philippine History, I reckon, because real events since the July 10 Basilan Beheadings will force the country and its leadership to now confront certain dearly held delusions and misconceptions about "the peace process" in Mindanao, over which there is such rampant moral and intellectual confusion all over the Media and Punditocracy.
That is nothing compared of course, to the somnambulism of the political leadership of the Palace and the Congress. The President did nothing for a month. The Senators preen themselves and squabble as the Military fries. Worse, it is not clear any more what Rules the Judiciary intends to play by. The Chief Justice has called the war on terrorism "mindless" and the anti terrorism law "a knee jerk reaction" in a highly political speech poisoning the law enforcement aspect in precisely the manner that the Judicial Code of Ethics intended to prevent.
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But take for example today's PDI editorial Dying in Sulu. Noting that "too many" Philippine soldiers have died recently in hunting down the beheaders and the foreign terrorists they are harboring, the editorial asks, "What did they die for?" and answers--
They died in pursuit of the remnant Abu Sayyaf, and especially of two Jemaah Islamiyah leaders: Dulmatin and Umar Patek. That they were killed, in all likelihood, by members of the Moro National Liberation Front, an organization the government signed a peace accord with a decade ago, makes their sacrifice all the more heartbreaking.
Or all the more pointless—if, that is, we credit those who have never believed a lasting peace with Moro separatist groups was possible. For them, every armed encounter, every ambush, is fresh proof that Muslims cannot be trusted.
For those of us who believe in the possibility of lasting peace in the South, however, every armed encounter, every ambush, is proof positive that the peace process is as necessary as ever.
Necessary as ever? I think, if anything, recent events have shown that even the achievement of a peace accord, which is the end of the "peace process" has not been SUFFICIENT to bring about peace. Perhaps that is bacause there is NO PEACE without JUSTICE, as even the Moros assert. But it certainly makes the NECESSITY of peace talks a questionable thing, if even its successful conclusion is NOT ENOUGH to make peace.
For some reason, the editorial is not convincingly heartbroken over the sacrifice of the Marines, nor were their deaths pointless. The point is they are heartbroken the 1996 peace accord did not prevent the deaths and disastrous debacles that they are now forced to report on the front page. But the Peace Talks ARE pointless if we cannot sign a peace accord with anyone that is in any position to guarantee the peaceful future actions of those who DON'T literally sign some piece of paper in front of the Malaysians bribing them with some substantial portion of the sovereign territory.
But some people, including the editorialist, evidently believes that peace talks are really a matter of whether we trust the other side or not, whether we believe in peace enough to make it happen EVEN IF the other side does not want it. That is naive to say the least, and reveals a dangerous and entirely false premise that the government side CAN make peace happen if it just wants too badly enough. Here is more confusion from PDI:
Certainly, the government’s iron fist must come down hard on those who coddle the JI terrorists and the Abu Sayyaf bandits. But the government must do so without losing sight of the true national interest: not merely to pursue the terrorists or to punish those who offer them sanctuary, but to establish the basis of a lasting peace. As President Macapagal-Arroyo said in the first of three statements she released over the weekend: “The military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf must continue, not as an act of vengeance but as a strategy to win the peace.” Much about the offensive in Sulu remains confusing, and confused.You got that right, PDI, and I expect your many imitators and plagiarists to sow even more confusion in the next few days as these arguments are used and re-used to befuddle the public even more about what ought to be done.
What is not widely recognized is that "the Enemy" has no such moral or intellectual confusions evident in the daily newspapers and broadcasters, columns and editorials. Certainly not since the local secessionist and separatist warlords and intellectuals linked up with the Global Jihad. The latter process has become largely complete under the cover of peace talks and the low-level warfare that most people in Manila can safely ignore as part of the Mass Media's way of selling more cellphone load.
What I am afraid of is that the utterly clueless political and social leadership of this country, and the rest of civilization, will be now be forced to accept the de facto establishment of BANGSMOROSTAN, a fundamentalist Islamic Republic right in the heart ASEAN, just south of the only Christian country in Asia, as a new homeland for Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah and the rest of the Global Jihad. Now here is Afghanistan and Pakistan put together as thousands of little island universes and archipelagoes of terrorist redoubts from which to threaten all of Asia, even resurgent, Olympics-bound China! Here is Al Qaeda in its old element when the Maguindanao Confederacy and Sulu slave traders did ample and lucrative business with the Muslim potentates and sultans of a vanished Islamic Empire. Perhaps it is already there and we just do not know it.
But the arguments and debate over PEACE TALKS will continue because loudly calling for them is the most comfortable way for the Moral Copout artists in the government and Civil Society to distance themselves from the real problem that perhaps "the other side" is just not interested in peace and is prepared to make all-out war on civilization itself. They are determined to have their own piece of the Archipelago, to have their own THEOCRACY ruled in the name of Islam by Al Qaeda.
I do not believe we are dealing any more with Philippine Terrorists, but with the Base itself. There is no negotiating however with this Bunch, because here it is a question of PERMANENT VALUES, not just "interests".
It is an unfortunate fact that our dyed in the wool pacifists will have to accept: there is no compromise possible between theocracy and democracy. NONE!