Netgotiation
July 20, 2004 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Six million dollars and a hostage is free. Now others are asking the Philippines for similar arrangements.
posted by four panels (63 comments total)
 
What have we learned today, kids? That's right: when you cave-in to asshat terrorists, no matter how painful the potential loss of the victim's life, you open up a big-ass can of worms that others will take advantage of. Wait and see how much more difficulty the Arroyo administration will have dealing with domestic terrorists now that they see the government is willing to capitulate for the sake of a prisoner's life.

It's a crappy dilemma to be in, but the Pinoys just made things a lot worse for themselves.
posted by tgrundke at 9:12 AM on July 20, 2004


Coming from the Philippines, I must point out that the Daily Tribune is owned and operated by cronies of the Estrada and Marcos administrations, and are hardly reliable for info on the actions and policies of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The rampant partisan bias is most evident in their op-ed section, of course. Think of them as a Pinoy Fox News. ;)

For better right-leaning coverage of Philippine events, I read columnist Dean Jorge Bocobo's blog: Here's his take on the hostage scenario. I have a bunch of stuff about it on my blog too, but I'm not going to link it here.

(Oh, and the funniest part about this whole mess is that when Jay Leno jokes about it, Filipino officials get mad.)
posted by brownpau at 9:46 AM on July 20, 2004


We should re-liberate the Philippines, just to remind them who's boss.
posted by homunculus at 10:05 AM on July 20, 2004


An almost unfathomably bad decision on the part of the Philippine government, one which will spawn many ugly outcomes for years to come.
posted by rushmc at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2004


Was it more important to keep those 51 troops there for one more month, to show Philippine's support for a war they were persuaded to join under false pretences, than to save a human life?

Its not like we aren't negotiating with the insurgents when we have something to gain. I haven't heard anything about the ransom before and question the veracity of this story.
posted by Manjusri at 11:03 AM on July 20, 2004


Terrible, if true.
posted by dhoyt at 11:58 AM on July 20, 2004


Was it more important to keep those 51 troops there for one more month, to show Philippine's support for a war they were persuaded to join under false pretences, than to save a human life?

For Filipinos, the answer is no.

What most of you fail to understand is that in a third world country like the Philippines, where unemployment is in double digits, the overseas worker is a hero unlike any other. Almost everyone has at least one person in the family who has given up everything to work a shitty job abroad so they can send almost all the money they make back home to send their siblings or their nieces and nephews to school, make sure their sick parents can have surgery, build a proper house so their loved ones don't have to sleep in ramshackle huts. We call them bagong bayanis, literally our new heros, because they make enormous personal sacrifices for the sake of their families. New Yorkers have the firefighters and policemen of September 11th; we have our overseas workers. That's how much they mean to us.

The Arroyo administration made the decision to send troops to Iraq because of US pressure, despite the fact that most Filipinos were appalled by the invasion and didn't think our troops should be there. When the news first broke about Angelo de la Cruz being held hostage, the nation cried for him and for his family. The government sent troops into Iraq to make the US happy, because the Bush administration only gives handouts to countries that do exactly what they want them to do, and that was all well and good then because we really do need the financial support. But if de la Cruz had been killed, it would've been blood money -- we all have family working abroad, he could've been anyone's cousin or uncle, son or father. That would not have been acceptable to any Filipino, even the few that supported the war. President Arroyo made the right decision, as the head of a sovereign nation, to put her people first.

Wait and see how much more difficulty the Arroyo administration will have dealing with domestic terrorists now that they see the government is willing to capitulate for the sake of a prisoner's life.

tgrundke, this shows how ignorant you are about the Philippines -- the various administrations since Marcos was overthrown have always been willing to do nearly anything to save people's lives. This is nothing new, nor is it particularly objectionable to most Filipinos.

An almost unfathomably bad decision on the part of the Philippine government, one which will spawn many ugly outcomes for years to come.

Bad for our relations with the West, but then those relations have always been about how far we can bend over to best serve them. Meanwhile the Philippine government is looking pretty good to its constituents for prioritizing the life of a Filipino hero over appeasing the Bush administration. It was the only correct decision President Arroyo could've made.
posted by lia at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2004




That's how much they mean to us.

Unfortunately, giving in now means they're worth $6 mil apiece to kidnappers. How many other bagong bayanis do you have in the region? Enough to fund several terrorist organizations for years to come, perhaps?

As horrifying as the South Korean, American, and (...the third one escapes me at the moment - Turkish?) experience has been, these terrorist groups know there's little point in taking those nationalities hostage. It's a matter of fear and intimidation, and the Philippines has shown itself to be susceptible. It's too bad you're viewing this as a case of appeasing Bush or not. As much as I disagree with Bush, his policies, this war, and events in Iraq, this is the worst possible decision for the Philippines. I hope you do not have cause to regret this decision in the future.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:27 PM on July 20, 2004


wow


That is about all I can say really, wow. What an utter moron.







How did we let her get elected in that country =/
posted by Addiction at 12:27 PM on July 20, 2004


Foreign policy wisdom from the guy that coined "The White Man's Burden" to advocate American imperialism, specifically in the Phillipines.
posted by Manjusri at 12:32 PM on July 20, 2004


I don't know. The insurgents wanted the foriegners out of their country. They promised to spare the guy's life if the Phillipines withdrew their troops (which they were going to withdraw in another couple of weeks anyway).

And look at that, the hostage is freed. It's nice to see that some people are men of their word. Maybe this isn't about terrorism at all. Maybe it's about nationalist groups wanting our fucking troops out of their fucking country, like they've been saying all along.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:14 PM on July 20, 2004


How many other bagong bayanis do you have in the region?

Our millions of overseas workers in Gulf States and our Muslim neighbors like Malaysia and Indonesia (not to mention the extremely marginalized Filipino Muslim community in the south of the country) are every single one of them reasons why we should've stayed out of Iraq, and our pulling out might actually make them safer. As Conrado de Quiros, a political columnist who is none too fond of President Arroyo himself, said today:
There is one lesson we should particularly take to heart: It's time we buried "special relations" in a shallow and unmarked grave. The United States has its interests, we have our own, and ne'er the twain shall meet. Not in these days when we have more than a million workers in the Middle East. That is the official figure, but if an editor of a Saudi paper I talked to some years ago is to be believed, the actual number is probably twice that. We have no business jeopardizing their welfare by depicting some of their hosts as the bad guys in a Holy Crusade to end evil. Joining a war against one of their own in the name of freeing them from their cruel ways is playing Russian roulette with the OFWs' lives. The wonder is not that De la Cruz was kidnapped and threatened with beheading, the wonder is that they did not do it sooner.
It's too bad you're viewing this as a case of appeasing Bush or not.

It's too bad you can't be practical enough to see that that's exactly what it was.
posted by lia at 1:22 PM on July 20, 2004


Earlier reports from reliable sources said the Arroyo government paid a ransom of $1 million taken from the Landbank of the Philippines while Malaysian intermediaries forked over $5 million for his release.

Malaysia throws in an extra 400% for the kidnappers - that is the real story here (if true).
posted by magullo at 1:23 PM on July 20, 2004


If we had pulled our troops out of Iraq much earlier, citing the illegitimacy of the "liberation" and the flubbed WMD intel etc., I would have applauded the move. But we didn't leave the Philippines for ideological reasons; we left because Filipinos couldn't stand to have De la Cruz's head cut off. This was not a defiant withdrawal; it was a scared pullout by a wishy-washy president who had backed herself into a corner. She's saved one worker's life, but what of the other OFWs in Iraq, Saudi, and all over the Middle East and the world who are now fair game for kidnappers who know the Philippines will bend over?
posted by brownpau at 1:50 PM on July 20, 2004


It is mind boggling to me to see some people here supporting such actions. I mean really, how pumped full of eCool propaganda are half of you?

DO YOU REALIZE THEY JUST PAID TERRORISTS 6 MILLION DOLLARS? Plus gave into demands and withdrew forces?

They blew up the twin towers on a budget of under 2mil.
posted by Addiction at 1:51 PM on July 20, 2004


Um, we didn't leave the Philippines IRAQ, that is. Hee.
posted by brownpau at 1:52 PM on July 20, 2004


Maybe this isn't about terrorism at all. Maybe it's about nationalist groups wanting our fucking troops out of their fucking country, like they've been saying all along.

No, it's about terrorism. When you capture and behead civilians to convince states to change their behavior, that's as close to the dictionary definition of terrorism as you're likely to find.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:56 PM on July 20, 2004


what of the other OFWs in Iraq, Saudi, and all over the Middle East and the world who are now fair game for kidnappers who know the Philippines will bend over?

Various gulf states have and continue to officially hold Filipinos for ransom; overseas workers routinely find themselves imprisoned and sentenced to death on trumped up charges unless their families or the Philippine government fork over cold hard cash for their lives. The Philippines has always but always bent over for others, this is hardly new. Poor countries will always be at the mercy of whomever it is they are bargaining with.

What you should note though that the US recently sent a number of Guantanamo Bay prisoners back to Saudi Arabia, which in turn sent some British expats who had been convicted for possessing and drinking liquor back home to the UK instead of beheading them. Everyone is making dirty deals, it's just the level of stink to be made public is different.

DO YOU REALIZE THEY JUST PAID TERRORISTS 6 MILLION DOLLARS?

DO YOU REALIZE THAT'S JUST SPECULATION?

When a more reputable news source like the BBC is saying it (and they aren't yet), maybe then we can factor it into our discussion.?

They blew up the twin towers on a budget of under 2mil.

You do know this is a totally different "they", right? Unless by "they" you either mean a) all terrorists or b) you know, just all the brown ones.

(Also I figured your "How did we let her get elected in that country" comment was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but now I see you were sincere. It must be so much fun to be a happy imperialist!)
posted by lia at 2:34 PM on July 20, 2004


Almost everyone has at least one person in the family who has given up everything to work a shitty job abroad

Yes, and every one of those people is now at greater risk of harm because of this decision/action. It was shortsighted and cowardly and bad for Filipinos.

Bad for our relations with the West

No. Bad for your relations with Muslim extremists.
posted by rushmc at 2:51 PM on July 20, 2004


I'm looking at the top or my screen and it doesn't say Fark.com, yet I am seeing the same tired, "with us or against us" attitude I usually find from Joe_Cool_USA_RULEZ or whomever. It's probably just luck we haven't seen a "cowards" comment here yet.

Lots of countries negotiate with terrorists, they just don't do it in the newspapers.

51 Troops were pulled out a month early to save a man getting his head cut off. Good.
posted by fullerine at 3:49 PM on July 20, 2004


Bunch of cowards.
posted by brownpau at 3:56 PM on July 20, 2004


Pulling out 51 troops. Okay, fine. But giving money? Fuck that. Think of how many people can be killed with that kind of money. Hell, that'd buy a lot of fertilizer and rent a lot of trucks here, despite the fake recession and supposed weak recovery.
posted by angry modem at 4:00 PM on July 20, 2004


Lots of countries negotiate with terrorists

lots of countries assrape kiddies in the name of nation-building.
posted by quonsar at 4:00 PM on July 20, 2004


Lots of countries negotiate with terrorists, they just don't do it in the newspapers.

From the link you posted:
Speaking to UK Confidential, Leila Khaled, now a middle-aged housewife, admitted that the PFLP was encouraged by the UK's capitulation to its demands.

"It was a good step for us that we saw governments could be negotiated with. We could impose our demands.

"The success in the tactics of the hijacking and imposing our demands and succeeding in having our demands implemented gave us the courage and the confidence to go ahead with our struggle."
I think that explains why giving in to terrorists is considered a bad thing. I'm glad this guy didn't get killed, and I won't go so far as to say that the Filipino government did the wrong thing, but it's a mistake to think there won't be undesirable consequences.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2004


When you capture and behead civilians to convince states to change their behavior, that's as close to the dictionary definition of terrorism as you're likely to find.

The article linked, states that there were dozens of kidnappings and possibly four executions. It depends on the type of group that is involved: it seems that all the beheadings were allegedly perpetrated by groups connected to Al-Zarkawi. Nationalists are not into ceremonial killings and neither are the communist rebels in the Philippines, where (according to the last link) the spokesperson for the guerillas "...assured the families of the captives that the prisoners were being treated well as prisoners of war and in accordance with agreements on the respect of human rights", which (if true) is more than the US army can say of its, very often equally innocent, detainees. Note that the guerrillas have captured soldiers in this case so the "innocent civilan hostage" comparison doesn't hold water...

rushmc: I don't understand, how are Filipinos any more at risk now that they withdrew from the (literally) bloody occupation? I would venture to guess that, if anything, the country and its diaspora is significantly safer form "islamist extremists", certainly safer than the remaining coalition members' citizens...

Anyway, kidnappings are a part of every guerrilla war - since that is what the current mess is, I suggest we all get used to the idea... The gall of them anyway... to demand that foreign troops leave their country. What will these barbarians think of next... Oh, and the supposed ransom is thus far only a rumour. I think its being confused with another non-ransom release...

It might not be entirely insignificant that a century ago the Philippines were where Iraq is now...
posted by talos at 4:11 PM on July 20, 2004


The article linked, states that there were dozens of kidnappings and possibly four executions. It depends on the type of group that is involved: it seems that all the beheadings were allegedly perpetrated by groups connected to Al-Zarkawi.

So, are you speculating that this guy really wouldn't have been killed if the Filipino contingent didn't leave Iraq? Look, this is pretty simple. He was kidnapped, and threatened with beheading if his government didn't comply with the kidnappers' demands, shortly after several other people in the same region were beheaded under similar circumstances. That's terrorism, no matter how you slice it. You may agree with the terrorists' goals, you may think their cause is right, but it's still terrorism, ok?

Nationalists are not into ceremonial killings and neither are the communist rebels in the Philippines, where (according to the last link) the spokesperson for the guerillas "...assured the families of the captives that the prisoners were being treated well as prisoners of war and in accordance with agreements on the respect of human rights", which (if true) is more than the US army can say of its, very often equally innocent, detainees. Note that the guerrillas have captured soldiers in this case so the "innocent civilan hostage" comparison doesn't hold water...

Have you never heard of Abu Sayyaf? The Filipinos have had their own local beheading problem, you know.

Anyway, kidnappings are a part of every guerrilla war ...

Are the kidnapped usually killed in each guerrilla war? Are they usually civilians? If so, how does this differ from any other sort of terrorism?
posted by me & my monkey at 4:29 PM on July 20, 2004


rushmc: I don't understand, how are Filipinos any more at risk now that they withdrew from the (literally) bloody occupation?

It's simple. Iraq is not the only place that Filipinos face violence or being used as pawns in political skirmishes in the world today. As I'm sure you're well aware, there are problems with Muslim extremists even within your own borders. Hell, they don't even have to be Muslim! ANYONE who wants something from the Filipino government now knows that all they have to do is take a hostage and Arroyo will roll over and do whatever tricks they ask for. Perhaps someone will take it into their head to kidnap you and demand ransom from the government? This is not a position of strength from which to deal.
posted by rushmc at 5:00 PM on July 20, 2004


Abu Sayyaf: one could call the Filipino government a lot of things, but soft on Abu Sayyaf isn't one of them. They have gone after them forcefully. One can safely assume (and I'm sure that the Abu Sayyaf know it themselves) that the uproar and the demand for a quick withdrawal would not have occurred had this been an internal problem. This was letting a man die for someone else's interests, pure and simple. To believe that there is a risk of Abu Sayyaf misinterpreting this, is rather weak in logic. Different circumstances, different outcomes.

But this is irrelevant as far as the post itself is concerned because the "others" who are said to be "seeking similar arrangements" are not the Abu Sayyaf, but Communist guerrillas who (if I understand what is described in the linked article correctly):

- are not threatening to kill (much less behead) the hostages
- have captured soldiers, not civilians

thus making any comparison moot. (Incidentally some consider the Abu Sayyaf group to be one more US present to the country...)

Having said that, let me agree that killing *truck drivers* is hardly the stuff that resistance icons are made of - and that yes I believe the group was bluffing, based on the fate of their Egyptian hostage.

However "civilian" is an interesting concept in these circumstances. Trying to think of other occupations in history, I am rather certain that, say, Lithuanian truck drivers working for (and getting paid by) German occupation forces in Europe would certainly be considered fair targets for the local resistance during WWII. The country is under occupation. Those fighting against it consider anyone working, in any capacity, for the occupiers, to be fair targets. It's hard to see how this might fit any meaningful dictionary definition of "terrorism" when you look at it that way.

rushmc: I am not Filipino, nor do I presume to speak for the Filipinos in any way. Its the weakness of the argument that kills me: "since A capitulated under conditions X, everyone understands that they will capitulate under conditions Y". No, that does not follow.
posted by talos at 6:18 PM on July 20, 2004


since A capitulated under conditions X, everyone understands that they will capitulate under conditions Y

It's not a question of what one "understands" but of what one believes. To see someone get away with something once is to think of trying it oneself.
posted by rushmc at 7:10 PM on July 20, 2004


Well, the United States has a pretty strong policy of "never negotiating," yet we've already had some nice young fellas get their heads cut off.

Think about it: whether we capitulate to the "evildoers" or not, they're still upset enough to kidnap people and cut their heads off. Whether we negotiate or not.

So it doesn't really matter, does it? It's not like our stalward, steely resolve is changing anything. They kidnap one of our guys, we stare them down, they behead the poor sap. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

It's like people who think "crimes of passion" should be punished with stiff jail time, because, you know, when all these people see what the consequences are, they'll stop committing these crimes. Hey bucko, got news for you: they'll happen regardless.

Start addressing the real reason these people are pissed off enough to do these sorts of things. Hint: it's not because they "hate freedom."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:45 PM on July 20, 2004


It's nice to see that some people are men of their word. Maybe this isn't about terrorism at all. Maybe it's about nationalist groups wanting our fucking troops out of their fucking country, like they've been saying all along.

Oh, good, so terror IS a legitimate means of negotiation. Now there's a refreshing opinion.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2004


"Think about it: whether we capitulate to the "evildoers" or not, they're still upset enough to kidnap people and cut their heads off. Whether we negotiate or not."

True, except that when you add in a profit motive and/or capitulation to political demands, you are positively reinforcing the kidnap-and-decapitate behavior, rewarding it. I submit that it is not a great leap of logic to suspect that when positively reinforced, the frequency of such behavior will increase.
posted by majick at 8:53 PM on July 20, 2004


I have heard the argument that the US actions may lead others to become terorists, and thus it is bad.

So how is giving in to terrorists not a bad thing again? You paid them. Your pved to them that you are willing to be held hostage. You caved in.

Expect more of this as we go along.
posted by soulhuntre at 10:47 PM on July 20, 2004


Raul J Palabrica: "In accusing the Philippine government of weakness in dealing with De la Cruz's kidnappers, the United States has conveniently forgotten that it had violated several times its much-ballyhooed policy of not negotiating with or giving in to the demands of terrorists."

In more recent history, how about British citizens William Sampson and Sandy Mitchell? Sampson and Mitchell were tortured until they confessed to a car bombing (they later retracted) and were sentenced to death by public beheading -- they were basically held hostage by Saudi Arabia until the US finally consented last year to release a group of Saudis (chosen off a list provided by the Saudi royal family) from Guantanamo Bay. At least two of the prisoners who were swapped for the Sampson Mitchell group were believed to have spent time training at al Qaeda camps. You can read about this story courtesy of the WaPo and NYT or go through the Guardian UK's archives for William Sampson and Sandy Mitchell.

So really, when it comes to capitulating to terrorist blackmail, it's US Pot, meet Philippine Kettle.
posted by lia at 1:24 AM on July 21, 2004


Now the Philippines can have a chance to play the pot. That's great.
posted by shoos at 1:38 AM on July 21, 2004


Thanks for wading through the Stupid, lia, to shed a wee bit of light.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:21 AM on July 21, 2004


The Philippine government is denying that it paid any ransom.
posted by talos at 3:22 AM on July 21, 2004


So really, when it comes to capitulating to terrorist blackmail, it's US Pot, meet Philippine Kettle.

As I've been saying to everyone who throws Palabrica's link at me: All that proves is that the one chance the Philippines had to show itself of stronger resolve than the US showed in those past circumstances, the Philippines blew it. This, ironically, by being intimidated into not honoring a commitment to the US that it shouldn't have made in the first place.
posted by brownpau at 4:48 AM on July 21, 2004


All that proves is that the one chance the Philippines had to show itself of stronger resolve than the US showed in those past circumstances, the Philippines blew it.

How do you figure they blew it? How many hostages has the U.S. rescued since the beginning of the war? Oh, that's right! None of them. They've all been killed. How many hostages has the Phillipines rescued? The only one that was taken -- that's a 100% rescue rate.

The Philippine government is denying that it paid any ransom.

Shhh! Don't let it get out that the "terrorists" just wanted the soldiers out of their country! Maybe if we just keep spouting off lies, this sort of thing will get buried...

GEE, I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY PAID THE TERRORISTS.

DAMN, PAYING TERRORISTS IS JUST GOING TO BREED MORE TERRORISM.

Is it working yet?

WOW, WHAT KIND OF IDIOT PAYS A TERRORIST?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:44 AM on July 21, 2004


that's a 100% rescue rate.

Um, that wasn't a rescue.
posted by brownpau at 7:22 AM on July 21, 2004


And you'll also notice that my only word on ransom payments is that the newspaper reporting on them is not credible due to partisan bias against Macapagal-Arroyo.

It's not about the ransom payments: it's that kidnapping hostages and threatening them with bloody murder is never an acceptable tactic, no matter how "noble" the "freedom fighters'" intentions may be.
posted by brownpau at 7:57 AM on July 21, 2004


So really, when it comes to capitulating to terrorist blackmail, it's US Pot, meet Philippine Kettle.

And that is relevant how? The U.S. has made more policy mistakes than one can shake a stick at. That doesn't change what the right thing to do is and what is a terrible, misguided mistake based on fear and irresolve that endangers many more people than it helps.
posted by rushmc at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2004


kidnapping hostages and threatening them with bloody murder is never an acceptable tactic, no matter how "noble" the "freedom fighters'" intentions may be

Of course it's not. Unfortunately, it will happen regardless. Just a few minutes ago I read that 6 more people were kidnapped in Iraq, and I'm sure people will point to the Philippines and say, "This is all your fault; if you hadn't acquiesced to their demands, they wouldn't think kidnapping is a viable means to an end." Which all betrays the simple fact that these kidnappings and beheadings have been going on for some time now, and will undoubtedly continue to go on.

Um, that wasn't a rescue.

They did something which as a direct result saved his life. Just because it didn't involve a bunch of Green Berets busting down doors yelling "Boo ya!" while firing hundreds of rounds into brown terrorist meat doesn't mean he wasn't rescued.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2004


All six hostages were truck drivers. Just like Angelo de la Cruz. The Khaled bin Al Walid Brigade is figuring out what works now.

I won't even subscribe to your bloody straw man of what you think I mean by a rescue, but suffice it to say that capitulating to beheading threats is not a "rescue."

Analogies fail me.
posted by brownpau at 8:22 AM on July 21, 2004


When in doubt, start redefining the meaning of words like rescue. It's the American way.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2004


And that is relevant how?

It's relevant because your government and people are having great fun at the moment painting my government and people as morons for choosing what for us was the only acceptable option, when in fact your government and people have done the exact same thing over and over again in my lifetime, and don't bother remembering it -- the implication being that it's okay to make deals for Americans and Brits, because their lives are actually worth saving, the encouraging of terrorism be damned, but a lowly Filipino truck driver? Screw him.

Racist and imperialist much?
posted by lia at 9:51 AM on July 21, 2004


Yes, the US will do tons to save an American held hostage by terrorists. Contact the Paul Johnson and Daniel Pearl families for details. White power!!
posted by shoos at 10:43 AM on July 21, 2004


shoos, you might want to read up on Johnson and Pearl again before using them as examples, their cases are very different from those we've been discussing here. In a nutshell: the lists of demands for their returns were so outrageous and the window of time given so small (in Pearl's case just two days) that clearly their abductors expecting any concessions or even really negotiation; Johnson and Pearl were both as good as dead from the time they were picked up.
posted by lia at 11:21 AM on July 21, 2004


clearly their abductors expecting

clearly their abductors weren't expecting
posted by lia at 12:27 PM on July 21, 2004


All six hostages were truck drivers. Just like Angelo de la Cruz. The Khaled bin Al Walid Brigade is figuring out what works now.

Well, duh. Truck drivers are probably a lot more plentiful than, say, stand-up comics. Whoo, they figured out they should target the kinds of people that are plentiful and unarmed. Geniuses.

I won't even subscribe to your bloody straw man of what you think I mean by a rescue, but suffice it to say that capitulating to beheading threats is not a "rescue."

First off, this statement doesn't make any sense. You won't subscribe to a straw-man? Like, a magazine subscription to Straw Man Today? You might not engage in my straw man argument, you might take issue with a logical fallacy, but I won't subscribe to your choice of words.

But speaking of straw men, I believe you were the one who decided to change the point of the argument X (a life was saved because of Filipino action, no lives have been saved because of US inaction) into a discussion over the definition of what "rescue" means. If you're having trouble using the scroll wheel on your mouse, here's what you said: "Um, that wasn't a rescue."

Well, um. That's not really the point. Um. By taking us down this little, um, sidestreet off Discussion Ave., you have created what we like to call a Red Herring, um, thing. So, um, whatdaya think of that, um?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:39 PM on July 21, 2004


Now that you've gone into full-on jerk mode, I have no choice but to claim victory. Thanks for, um, playing.
posted by brownpau at 1:58 PM on July 21, 2004


Think about it: whether we capitulate to the "evildoers" or not, they're still upset enough to kidnap people and cut their heads off. Whether we negotiate or not.

So it doesn't really matter, does it?


Think about it: whether people smoke or not, some of them still get cancer. Whether or not they smoke.

So it doesn't really matter, does it?
posted by trharlan at 2:03 PM on July 21, 2004


It's like 3rd grade, all over again.

No, I win.

And trharlan, it remains to be seen whether kidnapping will escalate because of the actions of the Filipino government. Key word: escalate. Because there's already been numerous instances of kidnapping already. I think the situation will remain unchanged: angry dissidents will continue to kidnap people, ask for the moon, get denied, and behead their victims.

Think about it: whether people smoke or not, some of them still get cancer. Whether or not they smoke. So it doesn't really matter, does it?

Well, if you're going to get cancer, whether or not you smoke, then it doesn't matter.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:32 PM on July 21, 2004


Thank you, Philippines. Their blood (and those of future hostages taken) is now partially on your hands.

the lists of demands for their returns were so outrageous and the window of time given so small

You mean like withdrawing all one's troops from an invasion that the kidnappers didn't like? Yeah, pretty outrageous.
posted by rushmc at 3:01 PM on July 21, 2004


Racist and imperialist much?

Actually, lia, it sounds to me like you are the one who is attempting to place a greater value on the life of a Filipino than on that of an Iraqi, or an American or British soldier, or any civilian currently in the country who is now at greater risk because of this action. I, on the other hand, think a Filipino has the same right—and responsibility—to act with dignity and good sense as any other human being.
posted by rushmc at 3:05 PM on July 21, 2004


Thank you, Philippines. Their blood (and those of future hostages taken) is now partially on your hands.

Oh rushmc, your self-delusion is so complete it's almost admirable. Your country has been capitulating to terrorists and arming and financing others for decades, never mind that none of these deaths would have happened if your government hadn't been so gungho to invade Iraq no matter what. A speck of blood on my hands, maybe, but every American is swimming in a pool of it in comparison. Take responsibility for your actions, we'll take responsibility for ours.

You mean like withdrawing all one's troops from an invasion that the kidnappers didn't like?

Surely even you are not too stupid to realize the gigantic logistical difference between the potential pullout of 51 Filipinos versus that of thousands of American troops plus all their vehicles and equipment? But maybe I've given you too much credit, we can't all be good at math.

it sounds to me like you are the one who is attempting to place a greater value on the life of a Filipino than on that of an Iraqi, or an American or British soldier, or any civilian currently in the country who is now at greater risk because of this action

It's so cute when people on MetaFilter run out of points to argue but still feel like they need to say something, no matter how ludicrous. I'm a big liberal hippie, remember? I love everybody equally! Even haters like you. Ideally everyone would just get along and skip hand in hand in fields of pretty flowers while Joni Mitchell sings the Circle Game.

the same right—and responsibility—to act with dignity and good sense as any other human being.

Oh boy did I got a good laugh out of this one. Get back to me when most Americans have the dignity to think for themselves instead of regurgitating Fox News, and the good sense to realize that, say, not only weren't most of the 9/11 hijackers Iraqis but none of them were.
posted by lia at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2004


Your country has been capitulating...blah, blah, blah...

Once again, all your comments are entirely irrelevant to this discussion, which was about the error made by the PHILIPPINE government. If you can't defend it, then don't, but don't bring the straw men marching in. The past actions of the U.S. government have ZERO relevance to this action of the Philippine government, whether they were wonderful or heinous. Strangely enough, I don't base my assessment of right action based upon comparison to how this country has acted in the past.

As for your being a hippie, I really have no way of knowing one way or the other and don't much care, since it is also irrelevant to the discussion of the actions of the Philippine government. But somehow I don't think real hippies make a habit of stooping to call names like "hater" when they can't argue their point.
posted by rushmc at 10:18 PM on July 21, 2004


rushmc, it's obvious to me that you don't read these discussions very thoroughly, because I already mentioned the newly kidnapped 6 about 7 hours before your comment.

Hey, did you notice that those truck drivers are from countries that have no troops in Iraq!? Amateurs!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:17 AM on July 22, 2004


The past actions of the U.S. government have ZERO relevance to this action of the Philippine government

Once again with the blinders! Silly rushmc, they of course have everything to do with it, but I guess I have to spell it out for you.

You've been talking about the Philippine government setting a precedent of making deals with terrorists and thus endangers more people; the point is that your government has been making deals with terrorists and rewarding their actions for decades. The pullout of 51 troops is comparatively just a drop in the bucket of causality, not the overwhelming tsunami you make it out to be. Things aren't straw men just because you don't understand them.

As for your being a hippie, I really have no way of knowing one way or the other

My mistake, I've only been here since 1999! With my entire posting history up for all the world to see!
posted by lia at 11:03 AM on July 22, 2004


Wow. I came in 60 comments too late, but this thread really is pretty amazing.

Lia, do you not realize the hypocrisy of your government's actions in first caving in to US demands and sending troops to the region, and then leaving in this fashion, especially considering your professed disdain for the US administration's motives?

I know it's hard to think about terrorism rationally, particularly after what the US administration has done to the term, but it is not a new problem. The solution that has been made here is not responsible or defensible. It endangers not only the citizens of the country that made it, but the other countries too. This solution almost certainly means paying a dear price of many lives in the future for saving a single life now. The United States' interests don't even factor in at this point.

Regardless of what you and your country do or are able to do to prevent terrorism in the first place (by mitigating social imbalance and providing better security), giving in to demands should not be an option, especially given the amount of media coverage in this case. Once there is a specific terror situation, one can and should negotiate or delay to the best of their ability - but in the end it's kill or be killed; or be killed in much greater numbers later. Please note that I'm talking about the immediate perpetrators only.
posted by azazello at 11:24 AM on July 22, 2004


giving in to demands should not be an option, especially given the amount of media coverage in this case

On a slightly related issue: don't you think that media coverage also aids the terrorists? I would argue that the media plays a far more damning role then capitulation. Some crazy with a cause kidnaps and threatens to kill someone, so the media throws it all over their networks and all of a sudden, a bunch of stooges are in the world's focus.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2004


Nevermind, lia. Clearly you are unable to see past your nationalism, so further discussion is pointless.
posted by rushmc at 2:45 PM on July 22, 2004


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