July 06, 2006

Dialectics of war

Blood curdling though the quotable quotes from Brig. General Jovito Palparan, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s well-rewarded counter-insurgency general with the accursed record of wreaking a wide swathe of civilian casualties in his “successful” anti-insurgency campaigns, the government’s current “all-out war” is still doomed to fail.

It has been correctly pointed out that the real reason for Malacañang’s latest declaration of “all-out war” is still Mrs. Arroyo’s desperate desire to cling to power.

It is resorting to an old trick of hated despots who are in danger of being overthrown; that is, whip up war hysteria against a convenient target that can be demonized as “The Enemy”. In this case it is the communist-led New People’s Army and all those who can be blackened as sympathizing, consorting or otherwise giving aid and comfort to “The Enemy”.

The immediate audience of course is the Armed Forces of the Philippines itself. If there is anything that the alleged video clip of General Danny Lim calling for withdrawal of support from Mrs. Arroyo (that was to be aired once the anti-Arroyo military groups began their dramatic but bloodless attempt to oust their Commander-in-chief) proves is that the divisions in the AFP are real and constitute a threat to Mrs. Arroyo’s continued rule.

What better way of reuniting the fractious military and police establishments (and keeping them loyal to the chain of command) than by agitating the officers and men against an external target, the abominable communists, and making the “all-out war”, the focus of their undivided attention.

This time around, Mrs. Arroyo promises that there will be funds a plenty, one billion pesos for starters. Military operations will not be hampered by concerns about protection of human rights and observance of international humanitarian law.

Mrs. Arroyo is prepared to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the local and international howls of protest against state terror in the form of extrajudicial killings, abductions, illegal arrests and the heightened militarization of priority rural and urban areas such as those in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

In simple terms, there are now no limits, no constraints on the targets, methods and expectedly bloody outcomes of government’s reinvigorated counter-insurgency drive. The avowed objective is to “wipe out” the revolutionary movement in two years no matter what it takes.

Of course recent history belies the prospect of military victory despite the bellicose stance of Mrs. Arroyo. The entire legal and coercive apparatus of martial law, not to mention the much more consolidated hold of the Dictator Marcos on the military/police forces and civilian bureaucracy, was unable to crush the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

Notwithstanding the Arroyo regime’s threats of annihilation against the Left and the blood-curdling war cries, the political crisis hounding Mrs. Arroyo makes her a weak and implausible leader for such a historically daunting task for any reactionary ruler.

But even more fundamental is the truth that the decades-old armed conflict in this country and the corollary dogged persistence of the communist-led revolutionary movement is merely the by-product of deeply rooted social injustice, the exploitation and oppression of the majority of our people by the reactionary classes and successive elite regimes propped up by US neocolonialism.

Mrs. Arroyo may have unleashed the dogs of war against the revolutionary movement and the people but the AFP/PNP’s initial ferocity and reinforced capacity for dealing death and destruction can never defeat an aroused and organized people fighting for their national and democratic rights and resisting all-out fascist attacks.#


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