Diplomatic Row: Australia v. Philippines v. USA

Bienvenido Macario sends an editorial from the Daily Tribune (8/1/04) of Manila about the withdrawal of 43 Filipino soldiers from Iraq ahead of the August 20, 2004 schedule. Here is an excerpt: "Incredible but true. We do have knuckleheads for leaders who have come up with arguments on the controversial Iraq pullout that are filled with non sequiturs. Take the case of Etta Rosales and a batch of solons who were screaming for the head of Australian ambassador to the Philippines, Ruth Pierce, and claiming to pass a resolution declaring her persona non grata, because she, as Rosales said, refused to apologize for her government. Rosales and the rest of her ilk had better start brushing up on the ways of diplomatic relations and the job cut out for a foreign envoy to the country. Or take the non sequitur-filled claims of Fidel Ramos in telling off the Australian government for calling the Philippine government a marshmallow. His arguments, incidentally, were an echo of the same non sequitur argument of the Honorable Shit in the Senate, who always plays on emotions with little substance propping his illogical arguments.

The HS brought up the thousands of Filipinos who were sacrificed by the Americans in a doomed stand in Bataan and Corregidor to derail the invasion of Australia. “I can only trust that Australia's sense of history has not been bleached away by the sunny blink for being anointed as America's trusted partner in the coalition of the willing,” the HS was quoted as saying. Says Ramos in echo: Were it not for the Filipinos, Australia would not be enjoying the quality of life they enjoy today, as he advised the Australian government to stop its criticisms as they only aggravate the situation. “I hope all of this emotional rhetoric would stop already especially coming from Australia. I think they are forgetting that it was because of Bataan, Corregidor the sacrifice of so many Filipino lives that prevented the Japanese invasion of Australia during World War II and therefore the Australian could not enjoy their high quality of life right now. I hope they still remember this,” Ramos said. Now tell me, is that a non sequitur, or is that a non sequitur?

Even granting — but not conceding — that the battles at Bataan and Corregidor and the sacrifices of many Filipino lives derailed the timetable of the Japanese invasion of Australia, what the heck does this occurrence during World War II have anything to do with Australians enjoying their high quality of life today? Is Ramos saying those countries that were not invaded by the Germans and the Japanese are prosperous today because they were spared from an invasion of their wartime enemies and that they should thank the Filipinos for sparing them that invasion because this made Australia prosperous? Hello! Where is the logic in this?

And let's get something straight. Filipinos may have made those sacrifices and showed their courage in these battles, but heck, they did not slug it out with the enemy nor joined the death march to derail the Japanese invasion of Australia. They did it because the American forces commanders told them to do so, as well as their willingness to fight for their country to be free from the Japanese Imperial Army. Australia was not even in the picture in the Filipino soldiers' mind. And were we not then the “trusted partner of the Americans” in this part of the globe during World War ll? Gee, no one says the Filipinos who fought during the war years were cowards. But these are not the same Filipinos today, and certainly our leaders do not appear to be cast from the same mold of our brave Filipinos then".

Ronald Hilton -