RP troop pullout not cowardice, at least not according to Malacanang. The whole world knows by now that the Philippine government has capitulated (or intends to, at least) to the demands of terrorists kidnappers holding Filipino truck driver Angelo dela Cruz hostage.
Even Jay Leno took his shots at our country, with the following quote from opening monologue of Wednesday night, July 14, 2004:
For the 2nd time in the past few days, a new world record has been set in the 100 meter dash. It was set by Filipino troops fleeing Iraq.
Even more embarassing, I would think, was the overreaction of local leftist/militant groups, demanding an apology from Leno, accusing him of being a "swashbuckling apologist" for George W. Bush.
Nevermind the fact that Leno, Letterman, O'Brien and other late night talk show hosts continually rail on Dubya and their other ‘respectable' politicians whenever they find an opportunity to do so; these guys don't even apologize to George W. Bush, the supposed "most powerful man in the world"; why would they even consider apologizing to a bunch of whiners who don't even realize the irony of what they're saying?
And you know what? It is cowardice. It's spineless and shameful. Our government once again shows how weak it is by turning tail at the first sign of trouble. Whatever ridicule we get from international media, whatever spite we get from our "allies", I can't deny we deserve it.
Don't get me wrong; of course I wish Angelo dela Cruz gets out of this mess safely, I wish him no harm. But it isn't a simple open-and-shut case of trading our troop positions for the life of one man. By giving in, we surrender our principles, we say to the world: Just abduct a Filipino and you have an entire nation at your command! This is my beef, my gripe, I don't really care about the politics of the situation, whether RP is being a US lapdog or whatnot; All I know is that it's suddenly becomes very profitable for terrorists to kidnap Filipinos.
No matter what "War on Terrorism" rhetoric you spout, or whether you are against "US imperialism" or not, it should be obvious that terrorism threatens our way of life. You may think that it's not a big deal; our troop commitments in Iraq are pratically insignificant anyway, it's a small price to pay; But what if the next time fanatics decide to abduct a Filipino, they demand more than just a troop pullout? What if they demand that we trade one life for another? What if they demand the complete surrender to the Muslim separatists? Would we give in then? To save the life of one man?
Granted, having to weigh the life of one man against the interests of a nation is a terrible burden to bear, a decision I would not want to take upon myself, so I can understand why the government chooses to capitualte. I can only hope that if, God forbid, I am ever placed in a similar situation where an entire nation would have to throw away principles just to save my life, I would be willing to defiantly announce that I should be sacrificed for the greater good. I'm not judging Angelo dela Cruz; I don't know much about the man aside from the fact that he's a truck driver in Iraq and that he'll likely receive a heroes' welcome for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is a terrible blow to us as a nation, as a people. And Angelo dela Cruz, should his life be saved, had damn better well live a good and fruitful life, because we have a paid a high price for it.