Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Metaphor of the Single Jetliner

hy Reader but Frequent Emailer, QTPi, asks why I have such a different take on things, especially the War on Terror, which she says "no one really pays attention to here except as something that happens to somebody else." She asks that I explain it "briefly" and I shall try by offering this Metaphor of the Single Jetliner:
Think of the countries of the World as riding in a Boeing 747 run by World Economics Airways. It is of course their only airplane. The pilot is the American President. The co-pilot is the British Prime Minister. (Sorry, that's the way the cookie crumbles.) The crew are the Coalition of the Willing's Militaries. The First World countries are sitting in First Class. Some are in Business Class or Economy like the Second World, Russia, China and the new democracies, along with most of the Third World. But some countries, the "basket cases" like Indonesia and the Philippines, the worst performing, most corrupt in SEA, they are in the Cargo Hold. Taking down the Taliban and Saddam was like taking down some rowdy passengers playing with bombs and crazy ideas NEAR the fuel tanks of the jetliner (the Middle East) and insisting all the women get behind a bourqa. Likewise the Cabin doors have been locked tight to prevent any hijackers from barging in. First Class is fully aware of the dangers and have agreed to take off their shoes before boarding. And of course there is deadly serious fighting with the "rowdy passengers" in many places, like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bali! But I think, even a tiny hole in the fuselage in the Cargo Hold is as dangerous to First Class as to the orphans obliviously hanging on for dear life in that cold place with no Cabin service. NEWS: The US Embassy and Philippine govts have installed "special equipment" in the Port of Manila this year for the detection of "nuclear contraband". Google it. Seven million containers arrive at US ports annually. It's a big cargo hold.
Why do I support the Global War on Terror? Because I cannot seem to break the above metaphor logically and forces me to conclude: Because we are ALL in it together, like it or not--not just the West, but everybody. The world economy, or just "the world" contains everybody. There are no more undiscovered continents to run away to from each other. But help me break this metaphor QTPi, to see if we have any reasonable alternatives. Related to this matter are postings at Albion's Seedlings and Orphans of the Anglosphere.

I guess this might be a good time to discuss--


We have not yet joined the Global War on Terror because of two things:

(1) A critical mass of what used to be called the intelligentsia has bought into the basic argument of the Organized Left: "The War on Terror is America's War not ours." And worse: "If we join the so-called War on Terror, the terrorists will surely attack us too."

(2) As a national leader, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has not successfully countered this argument for the public. Nor has she convinced the public to "go to war" on a thing everyone seems to be at a loss to define. The Palace never seemed to move the debate beyond the lexical quagmire of just exactly what is terrorism. So it has not gained the public's agreement that the national and human security threats are so great they should be willing to take their shoes off at airports if necessary, and of course much else besides.

The majority of Filipinos are naturally puzzled by all this, considering that one in two Filipino families has at least one relative somewhere else in the Anglosphere, such as in America or Australia or Great Britain, the main targets of the global terror network, and indeed in virtually every country in the world, but specifically in the Middle East where millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) live and work. OFWs have the longest commute to work in history.

But to go to war is serious business a thing not doable by proclamation or promise or half-hearted efforts aimed only at winning elections by currying the favor of foreign powers. It is a thing a leader must do by example and acts of conviction, not selfish inconsistency and capitulation. For I think most 21st century human beings are rather averse to the very idea of going to war on anything, much less something so diffuse in their minds as terrorism. The gruesome aspects of going to war have naturally lost their appeal for most, in an era when indeed Human Security has in fact been improving and most people would rather pursue the business of living rather than engage in the horrible acts of necessity and uncertainty that accompany war. Thus in normally peaceful, prosperous and democratic countries, the case for war must be made. by the political leadership, for it entails the surrender of at least a part of those other pursuits, and a surrender of a portion of the people's civil rights -- the amount perhaps being driven by the higher needs of common survival and human security.

Some things have happened recently that can serve to bring some of these general considerations into sharper focus.

THE JULIUS BABAO AFFAIR: Recall that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told PDI Columnist Ramon Tulfo about a raw intel report from ISAFP claiming the ABSCBN TV anchorman, Julius Babao had bailed out a suspected terrorist member of the Rajah Sulayman Movement, a certain Dawud Santos, who had been arrested last February or March in connection with the February Valentine's Day bombings in Manila. After Tulfo published this information in the nation's largest circ daily, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, it made Julius Babao look like a terrorist coddler. After all, it could not be denied that the suspect, Dawud Santos, left with Julius Babao and his crew in the ABSCBN van, presumably to be interviewed for a scoop, after he was released on P200,000 bail. Julius Babao himself denied the published claim made by no less than the President herself, and tagged an intelligence asset of Environment Secretary Mike Defensor (now about to become the President's Chief of Staff) as responsible for springing Dawud Santos. That person is supposed to have been Jonathan Tiongco, whom, many people instantly recalled, was the "audio expert" presented by Mike Defensor, all of a sudden a few months ago, to prove that the Garci tapes were spliced. That stunt backfired when the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism published (on a blog claimed by Alecks Pabicko) the PNP's criminal records and ongoing cases of Mr. Tiongco. In some kind of first, (though not a legal first, for there have been many attempts to suppress freedom of expression in our history) a Temporary Restraining Order was issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court against the blog, which ordered the post taken down in connection with a libel suit brought by Tiongco!
In fact, Jonathan Tiongco has also filed a libel suit against Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III and six others including former CNN correspondent Maria Ressa, in connection with their clearing of Julius Babao and pointing an accusing finger at him as having bailed out Dawud Santos. Exquisitely sensitive to its large and growing audience in America and abroad in the form of the The Filipino Channel, the giant Lopez family-owned ABSCBN television and radio network has been at great pains to first strenuously deny the President's charges; conduct and internal investigation of the actions of Julius Babao; and then absolved him (and itself of course!) of anything that might even be construed as coddling terrorists. Then there was this declaration of war (or guerra patane?..for Pinoy conversants only sorry) between Palace and Press last week at the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas at Camp John Hay [sic!]. But it's too desultory and meaningless to go into right now. The long and short of it is both sides now DENY bailing out the suspected terrorist. And both sides do so with no apparent interest whatsoever in ferreting out just WHO did. Which leads me to conclude that they BOTH did and are just trying to do damage control. The funny thing about the denials by both ABSCBN+Julius Babao and Mike Defensor + Jonathan Tiongco (whom I heard on the radio doing so), is there would have been nothing illegal about it if they had. The crime for which Dawud Santos was arrested, possession of firearms and explosives, is a bailable offense, even if it was in connection with a terrorist bombing incident on February 14, 2005, Valentine's Day. In other words, whoever bailed out Dawud Santos was not breaking any Philippine laws then in existence, and even now...

Because we do not have an Antiterrorism Law.

Understanding why the Philippines does not have an anti-terrorism law despite long-standing promises to allies by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is a particularly important thing to do at this juncture when the War on terror seems to be breaking out everywhere, some say even in the suburbs of gay Paree. but our habitually introverted media and punditocracy are steadfastly disinclined from connecting the dots that are New York, London, Madrid, Baghdad, Bali, Amman, Bangkok, Djakarta, Basilan, Zamboanga, Manila.

When ordinary Filipinos see on television, such things as the wedding carnage of balikbayan Al-Zarqawi's Jordanian bienvenida), or last October's second Bali Bombing, they wonder if it could happen here. And Filipinos instinctively sense and sympathize with the supernal concern of old friends at such ominous events. Either that or they know how their relatives in America feel.

Filipinos hear that such old friends and allies have gone to War. That it is for example, war-time in America and people are contributing by not demonstrating too much over having to remove their shoes at airports, or lose a son to an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. But somewhere between the public's exposure to the World News at Six O'clock and the sight of others at war, to when they wake up the next morning, the explanation for why such remarkable and horrendous things are happening around the world, are somehow changed by not-so-hidden hands. By determined and protracted stealth and occupation of the mental ecosystem, and a compleat presence in the Media, the Left can put the whole story of the world for Filipinos through a special set of polarized filters before sunrise.

Filipinos in the Archipelago thus awake to a different picture of the world from that seen and felt by say, their brothers and sisters, Filipinos on the Continent. This new picture is actually an old one, drawn for them long ago by such writers as Renato Constantino and Jose Maria Sison, but applied as lenses in front of what would otherwise be the same picture as most alisbayans already know and understand: that the world is at war and we are all called to survive it by fighting for what we believe in about humanity and the future.

(I can hear your sneering now, if you are a typical Filipino of the Archipelago. But if you have read this far, continue. For we here are all are at the mercy of powerful and upwardly mobile memes that through the years have multiplied and mutated and have come to infect the thinking of so many modern Filipinos as a religion of politically correct historical resentment.

Now, it would be illogical to equate the intellectual domination of the Left in the Philippines to a situation like Soviet Russia or Communist China or even Fidel's Cuba. Impoverished Egypt, (to represent the masses), with monarchic Saudi Arabia in place of the ruling Philippine elites--that would be a good approximation.

This was a war of attrition that communists have only won by default, perhaps an accident of the Brain Drain that has left the field open for the most persistent mental guerillas in history. Unable in history to get Filipinos to accept communism, they have instead erected and carefully nurtured a religion of resentment to which Filipinos have been easily converted since it all stops short of an actual dictatorship of the proletariat but replaces it with something people seem to tolerate, a dictatorship of the Broken Record.

Why we do not have an antiterrorism law is partly explained by this, but let me point out for Philippine Commentary readers some recent "thought pieces" from both the Main and Blog streams of the Philippine Media, which argue for the opposite proposition: Why We SHOULD NOT Have An Anti-Terrorism Law.

One example is an article published this week by ABSCBN News, the country's largest television and radio network, written by Benito Lim. Although this article purports to be about the Visiting Forces Aggrievement brought on by the recent case of six US Marines accused of raping a Filipino woman in the Subic Bay Freeport, it is really far more than that. Listen to how Manuel L. Quezon III describes it in his Daily Dose of the Philippine punditocracy:
Benito Lim has an extended treatise on America, its geopolitical interests, and how Uncle Sam wants to shift its troops from Okinawa to, say, Mindanao.
Indeed it is that, and if anyone wants to see what other arguments the Philippine intelligentsia buys into nowadays and cannot seem to defeat or transcend, no better recent representative can be found than the one that opens Benito Lim's column in the biggest commercial TV/Radio website in large italic type. For this is actually how so many fine minds have come to think.
Gang-raped by America’s anti-terror warriors: Isolated Incident?
by Benito Lim
Special to ABSCBN News
Malacañan wants our women to welcome their American allies not only with open arms but open legs no matter the consequences.
If you wanna read the rest of his "geopolitical analysis" be my guest...


Is Terrorism A Tactic?

The Julius Babao Affair and the Missing Terrorist

Philippine Government Captured the Wrong One-Armed Bandit Terrorist?

ABSCBN Strikes A Blow for Press Freedom?

Will Bloggers Get Clobbered in the Philippines?


Anonymous said...

DJB once said to me a few days ago

be conscious of what you write..for if google loves you it will be for the next generation

just paraphrasing though

Anonymous said...

here I go about crusades and ethnic cleansing..Bosnia,Africa,etc...

when the next students of the IMAMS read DJB like a secondary book besides Koran

it will be a different world

Deany Bocobo said...

Thanks Karl...but it is only a Metaphor, not a Parable...

Anonymous said...


R.O. said...


Sorry off-topic (because basically I agree with you on the terrorism issue).

Re. religion of resentment, aren't you guilty as well of the same when you dismiss cavalierly the legacy of the Spaniards in the country, despite the arrogant colonialist stance?

Deany Bocobo said...

Hi XP -- Well I gave them credit for Santo Tomas. But I would welcome a complete examination of those 350 years, say in 350 words.

Regarding's for the weak and juvenile. We must accept what happend in history without ignoring it. But we must also have a ranking of values. I think my main point is that Spain did not teach us SPANISH, and that is why we do not today really LOVE Spain.

We might argue in the case of America that it is more of a LOVE-HATE relationship, but at least there IS such a relationship.

There is nothing but emptiness in my heart for Spain, except for one brilliant gem... Jose Rizal.

But then again, Rizal was neither Spanish, Filipino nor American!

Anonymous said...

hey salamat po sa comment...sensya na po im not much of that of a political "kumentarista"...thanks anyways

john marzan said...

The long and short of it is both sides now DENY bailing out the suspected terrorist. And both sides do so with no apparent interest whatsoever in ferreting out just WHO did. Which leads me to conclude that they BOTH did and are just trying to do damage control.

“The evidence is definitive and clear regarding the guarantors of the bond,” the network’s report said. “Summit Guaranty and Insurance Company documents released to ABS-CBN show two guarantors and their signatures: Domeng Villeta and Jonathan Tiongco.”

Then there was this declaration of war (or guerra patane?..for Pinoy conversants only sorry) between Palace and Press last week at the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas at Camp John Hay [sic!]. But it's too desultory and meaningless to go into right now.

here's the link of Arroyo's declaration of war with the media.

The long and short of it is both sides now DENY bailing out the suspected terrorist. And both sides do so with no apparent interest whatsoever in ferreting out just WHO did.

actually, sabi ni GMA na alam raw niya na si Julius Babao ang nag bail kay Dawud Santos.

And ABS-CBN is reporting no, it's not julius, the person GMA smeared, but Jonathan Tiongco.

jonathan tiongco can file libel suits against PCIJ or ABS-CBN or any other media outlet he wants, but the guy who once claimed that the opposition poisoned mr. FPJ is a joke and taking this guy seriously is a mistake.

In my opinion. ;)

john marzan said...

btw, matagal nang "at war" ang admin na ito sa media.

know your enemy, dean.

Deany Bocobo said...

Good eye John! I can always use the informnation to fill in the blanks in my own knowledge. For the next post! thanks for dropping by.

Does this mean you believe Babao had nothing to do with it? Not even transpo?

john marzan said...

i believe what PCIJ reported on the ish.

Deany Bocobo said...

Where is Tiongco now? Desaparecido too?

PhilippinesPhil said...

Mr Rizalist, I just found your blog. I live here in the Philippines, and the terrorism issue is never far from my mind. Your commentary is right on the mark. I'll be checking in a lot I'm sure!

Deany Bocobo said...

A Warm Welcome Phil! We shall need all the brain cells we can gather. No one has all the answers. But asking the right question sometimes is the key. Please feel at home!

Edwin Lacierda said...


I really appreciate the view that you posit in your blogs. Your viewpoint is not always in line with the rest of the Filipino bloggers but it is a necessary, alternative viewpoint to consider.

We look at the anti-terror law as mostly an invasion of our civil and political rights, no thanks to some congressmen who threatened to use the terror law to stifle dissent. But your internationalist view compels us to enact the terror law and I happen to agree with that.

That is what makes it tragic. I think the people will welcome the law but our congressmen have myopia, our executive branch does not sufficiently reassure us, and we have this tragic rape case which is giving Americans a black eye.

You need to bullhorn this urgent bill lest it becomes too late. Maybe, the solons are waiting for a great tragedy to befall us before they wake up to their senses.

Fools because they are intellectual dwarfs and greater fools because they do not consult your blog!

The Public Thing said...

gee...blogging is much better..bravo gentlemen...bravo...

R.O. said...

Again re. the Spaniards...

Some people have answer to your they-never-taught-us Spanish complaint: "There was no public education at the time, here or anywhere else in the world."

Deany Bocobo said...

Edwin, right now I'm chewing my nails over the SEA Games Opening on Sunday. It's at the Luneta, they expect 300,000 people from dozens of countries. And Dulmatin and Radulan Sahiron have not been caught, though Julius Babao and Tiongco are safe! It certainly too late now in case JI have bought box tickets for the 395 separate public events in 8 cities.

Deany Bocobo said...

XP -- it was precisely their policy not to have such public education IN language, but there was plenty of Parochial education going on -- the Catholic Catechism taught by rote in pidgin native tongues learnt by the frailes. It was I think tragic that Spain never took the Filipinos for their own. As why should they, for 80% of their reign, the Philippines was mainly an entrepot for trade with China. The galleons brought stuff from the New World (gold and silver) to buy stuff from the fleet of Chinese junks that arrived to meet them in Manila. But whatever the reason, the fact the Spanish never lived in the hearts and tongues of the masses of Filipinos is: Spain never taught it. They were trying to win souls not citizens.

Deany Bocobo said...

Welcome, REGOR, and I hope you shall add to our conversations...Welcome!

Deany Bocobo said...

XP -- ANOTHER thought occurs to me for your friends with the answer on Spanish--did they email you? What language was it in? I've nothing against Spain, really, and I should describe in a fresh post just exactly what her contribution was to the Philippines, which is surely considerable. But this discussion was about language as a meme, as an infectious idea. The broader point being we are NOT Asians or Hispanics. We are orphans of the Anglosphere. We know Shakespeare far better than Miguel de Cervantes, because we encounter the Man of La Mancha in English not Spanish! You don't own the language. The language owns you -- thats "bardolatry"

Deany Bocobo said...

Folks please remember that when you post on Philippine Commentary your comments become a part of the overall post. so John Marzan -- thank you for your additions to the post of a substantial and informative matter that improves the content. The comment section is a whetstone for me to prepare the next leaf in the growing tree of Philippine Commentary. Thanks all for your valuable thoughts. Keep it coming.