Today’s Inquirer editorial brings to mind an article in the February 2007 issue of Harper’s Magazine (my favorite magazine). The article is by Edward N. Luttwak and titled Dead End: Counterinsurgency warfare as military malpractice. Unfortunately, the article still isn’t on line (but you can find Harper’s in some magazine outlets). See the useful reflections and summaries on the piece in The Smirking Chimp (who assesses Luttwak as a thinker, recounts discussions with the writer, and the merits of the article), complete with significant extracts. The entry is as fascinating as the article it ponders. See, too, extended drum solo’s review of the article.
Also, Rolling Back The Tide of Extremism, One Post At A Time has some quotes from the article, and a quote is in Black Box Miasma, too. Another view in Daily Blague. See also Blog for Arizona,
This reminds me that Dean Jorge Bocobo in proclaiming the Philippines the “first Iraq,” overlooks two central things the Americans did here, and which they refused to do there (Iraq), which explains much as its embarrassing in retrospect, they succeeded here and are failing there: 1. they assumed all government functions for several years, gradually farmed out jobs, but retained the final say in everything for about a generation; 2. they integrated the rival leadership of the First Republic into their governing apparatus, from the start (no complete “de-Baathification”), allowing them to offer a juicy carrot even when using a formidable stick.
Anyway, taking another cue from DJB (see his critique of the Inquirer editorial, and his view that the Left’s participation in Edsa 2 killed Edsa 1)and the spirited debate he always invites), and the Inquirer editorial, a good question for discussion arises. If the Communist Party of the Philippines hadn’t boycotted the 1986 Snap Elections, would the Edsa Revolution have been possible at all? And if groups associated with the Left hadn’t participated in Edsa Dos, would it have failed, or been larger and actually achieved a stronger impetus for reform? And finally, if red flags hadn’t been prevalent in the public arena since 2005, would more people have gone out to the streets?
My Arab News column for this week is The Beauty of the Press Is That We’re Essentially Accountable.