What's Eating Jdavies?

and other marketing stories

Media says US has bowed down to terrorists before


I'm grateful I found this link from caffeine sparks through sassy's. The quote is from Raul J. Palabrica of The Philippine Daily Inquirer. The full length of the article is here. If you would like to read the article before getting any opinion, read it first. Below will be mostly, 'spoilers'.Here is an excerpt:

Fear of further loss of lives also persuaded the US government to give in to terrorists when a car bomb smashed into a US marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in October 1983 killing 231 American servicemen.

The troops had been sent to Lebanon to prevent it from becoming a battleground between Palestinian militants, who were backed by Arab countries, and the Israeli army. The United States maintained its military presence in spite of repeated threats by Palestinian terrorists to bomb them out of Lebanon.

In April 1983, terrorists rammed a truck loaded with explosives at the US embassy in Beirut, resulting in the death of 63 people, including 17 Americans. The action did not faze the US government. It said it would not bow down to the terrorists' demands to pull out its troops from that country.

Six months later, after the worst casualty record of American soldiers on a single day, a distinction that still stands up to the present, Reagan immediately ordered an immediate withdrawal of its troops from Lebanon. The policy of standing up to terrorism was promptly forgotten.

The move drew strong support from the American public. Never mind if the action meant breaking an international commitment, what mattered most to the US leadership at that time was keeping its troops away from the deadly attacks by Palestinian terrorists.

The same scenario was repeated in Somalia in 1993. Upon the request of the United Nations, the first President George Bush sent 25,000 soldiers to that African country to prevent massive starvation of its populace brought about by anarchy. The warring tribal chieftains in that impoverished nation made it extremely difficult for the UN to undertake its feeding program. The US troops were tasked with maintaining peace and order as the UN tried to stave off mass starvation of the Somalis.

As things turned out, the Somali militia was not scared of the American soldiers and their sophisticated weapons. In November 1993, a ragtag army of Somali terrorists killed 18 US Rangers who were part of a contingent assigned to arrest a local warlord.
The author, ends the article with: Now, who has the habit of giving in to the demands of terrorists? There has been some comments over at Sassy's that any wrongs in the past of the US is 'mutually exclusive' of what the Philippines has done. Quoting Miel, he says: It is no defense to one’s own stupid act that another party has done something stupid. I’m sure you are familiar with the common law “Rule Against Perpetuities”. In cases like this, the rule that applies is the “Rule Against Stupidity in Perpetuity”? What follows after that comment is an expectation that the Article was about a defense of the Philippine position.
I would like to point however to a more literary interpretation. The author's statement can be read in many ways. As there are many schools of thought to reading any literary piece, we cannot assume that a post from the Inquirer as this is an automatic defense.
Reading the article again structurally will reveal that the last sentence is a rhetorical question. It is by no means a defense of a position. It does have a ring of attack on it, as it attacks the apparent hypocrisy of an America that criticizes when their interests are trumped upon by a sovereign states personal interests.
Still, it is possible to read the article based on the authors previous work, or his political posturing prior to this event. Or the article can be read as a post on a newspaper that highlights 'fearless views', known to sensationalize news, and has for its editorial board and its columnists, people who have taken strong opinion against the hypocrisy of America. The Inquirer is not in defense of the government, and in history has never taken a position that aligns itself too squarely or too attached to any one party. It is foremost, a business that has prided itself for being th number one newspaper in the Philippines. And hence, one cannot point the article to be a defense in this regard, for the Inquirer has attacked just about everyone it can, in and out of the country.
From time to time the newspaper does publish articles from either side in a semblance of fairness, but what it is in reality terms is a medium that moves on news, profits on news and feeds on readership. It needs fairness so that it can feed more information to people. People should not forget that is the same of CNN, Fox, ABS-CBN and GMA-7, of just about any media company. These are just examples of ways how we can analyze any news feed or commentary.
What I would like to point out is that Filipinos usually has so much regard of the media that they take information as is. It should be time for that to stop. Quite recently, I have seen snipets of ANC drumming up the 'after-effects' of the Philippine decision to leave Iraq, as if it has a most drastic effect on the economy. The media is fanning flames as if the Philippines needed to defend its position in the international community. Know that it does not.
Our country is not answerable to the United States. This is a very good example of Kawawa mentality. Defensive posturing is only best used to clarify a government's position. It should not be used as a method to parry critics and legitimize their claims by answering to them. As a sovereign nation, we need not explain Philippine interests to the rest of the world; those should be understandable in themselves.
Why does South Korea continue to support the US war? Well it should because Nokor will attack the 38th the minute they withdraw. Simple Reason: It is their interest to do so. Now the Philippine decision is the same, we withdraw because it is in our interest to do so! What is the difference? Someone's ego just got hurt. The statement from the US department that the Philippine decision sends the worng signals to terrorists is a misnomer. If the move is any it is symbolic. And that is where it counts worst: it tells is that the US in it's wrong position on the war is suddenly vulnerable.
Let me tell people this: in the end, the decision only affects political alignments, US AID, and military equioment concessions, and posible pressure from curtailing domestic laws on import by the US and financial resttrictions. All of which can be remedied by counter-political and economic maneuvers. Some may claim it is not a good time to have these problems in the time when there is a ballooning budget deficit in Manila. Well, I say its more a misfortune to try to solve an economic problem under an unstable presidency that would have been criticized for not saving this one life, when the support for war is only for a single concession of US AID.
Does anybody seriously think a business man will consider the politics of it all when they decide where to place the next call center? Business will ultimately be decided on risk-and-return trade off. The politics of it all is an illusion. Only the die-hard right-wing or Bush leaning business men will be affected by a decision to miss out on opportunity for business when all financials point to cost-savings. Besides, if these are the kind of people there are, then there is no use to doing business with them, for those that lean to any one particular business are those that will require tax exemtions and similar concessions and exemptions from the Government. There is too much hypocrisy, it should be enough as it is. I hope th RP government will not bow down to any seeming international pressure that abounds in the media.
In the end it is just media. You counter that with advertising and good political posturing, and hence, well yes you get it, countries destroy each other and media wins in the end. Interesting world we live in, as I always say.

Labels: ,

posted by Jdavies @ 7/22/2004,


Post a Comment

<< Home

The Author


Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.

About This Blog

This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.


Request access to my Linked-in Profile

Web This Blog

Email me whenever the site is updated:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts



Powered By

Powered by Blogger
make money online blogger templates