Armed Forces pickle: to prosecute, or not to prosecute, that is the question. Since ABS-CBN broadcast a videotape of Gen. Danilo Lim, the armed forces have been in a quandary. It’s clear Lim intended to withdraw support and trigger a seismic political event. So now, the military, which was going easy on him, has less reason to do so, now. Civilian officials, perhaps chafing at having to tolerate a divided government (civilian sphere for civilians, but little civiian oversight on the military, which saved its neck), are crowing that the military has to throw the book at Lim. the military doesn’t seem enthused over the prospects of having to do so. They deny they have a report indicting rebel officers: were such a report really written, it would leave no wiggle room, legally. So now military and civilian officials are going to be at odds.
The Inquirer editorial argues that it’s important to ask why media got the tape first, and why the armed forces have been less than eager to fully prosecute Gen. Lim -and by extension, can the armed forces vigorously prosecute Lim at all, even with such apparently iron-clad evidence, such as the tape?
Gen. Lim, after all, might be charged with plotting a coup, but doing so raises the question of what motivated him -and puts him up for comparison with officers he’s criticized, such as the generals accused of helping to manipulate election results. There’s no win-win for the armed forces here.
Even the scuttlebutt is interesting: an additional benefit of Philippine Army troops swarming Bulacan province, is that they not only liquidate rebels, but serve as a buffer should the Scout Rangers make a gambit for the capital.
In the Comelec, one news report suggests one Commissioner’s been put on the spot, to warn others of the dangers of being too professional. Ellen Tordesillas reminds us that it’s all par for the course in covering up the original sin.
The administration decides it can’t risk a two-front war; so it’s hopes of peace with Muslim rebels (under the scrutiny of oil- and dollar-rich Arab countries) and an it’s hopes of peace with Muslim rebels.
Joe Klein, recently in Newsweek, summarizes the current flavor of the month in counterinsurgency theory: called COIN, it works this way:
You flood a neighborhood with troops who walk the streets 24/7, who create a presence that deters mayhem, who eventually begin to build trust relationships with the locals and who, finally, make it possible to provide basic services like water, sanitation, education and electricity. According to Lieut. Colonel John Nagl, author of a recent book on counterinsurgency warfare called Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam” (John A. Nagl), “The tipping point comes when the residents trust you enough to tell you where the bad guys are rather than telling the bad guys where you are.” coin, then, requires two things that armies are traditionally not very good at: sophisticated person-to-person skills and patience. It also requires a very specific sort of training.
Then again, that theory was practiced in the 1950s and only suggests the commensensical. As a Thai commentary, concerning its own insurgency problem puts it, Force alone won’t win battle with insurgents.
The Palace backpedals its aggression aimed at Catholic bishops.
One Voice convenors meet with the Manila Times editors.
World Bank tells the government: now the bleeding’s stopped, get rid of the tapeworms.
The joys of parliamentary government can be seen in Thailand and Malaysia, where Prime Minister Thaksin has set out on a comeback, and where former PM Mahathir is fighting an insurgency within his own party over basically patronage-related issues. Recent commentary in The Nation of Thailand (which has been consistently critical of Thaksin) sounds eerily like Joseph Estrada trying to make a comeback: PM’s motivations hold key to his conspiracy theory and PM’s latest salvo threatens division. Another view on Thai politics is in The New Straits Times.
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Obscurantism Leaves Unrecognized Those Filipinos Who Peacefully Sought Independence.
Dan Mariano discusses the military razing of a radio station.
Johnna Villaviray-Giolagon takes a cue from the book “The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power” (Max Boot) and discusses the nature of tribal conflict in Mindanao.Gail Ilagan takes an altogether different look at Mindanao: she appeals for donations to a children’ s reading corner.
Greg Macabenta begins a series dissecting Charter change.
Bong Austero has little patience for government censors, and offers up constructive criticism for ABS-CBN’s Bandila program.
In the blogosphere, Iloilo City Boy asks, is Jamby Madrigal the new Loren Legarda?
COMELEC ako takes a look at the charges leveled against Commissioner Borra.
Istambay sa Mindanao reflects on warfare’s costs.
mongster’s nest dissects what he says are three difficulties involved with being a National Democrat.
Peryodistang Pinay on development debates in Cebu City.
Wish you were here is alarmed over missile tests by North Korea.
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