Saturday, 17 March 2012 00:00
The UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or drone was first used in the US wars in Bosnia in 1995. After the balkanization of Yugoslavia, it was used in Southeast Asia, in the Philippines. Have we forgotten how the US drones monitored the attack of the Abu Sayyaf's of our soldiers in Basilan as reported by several newspapers in Mindanao? What about the successful simultaneous attack by the drones of several camps of the MILF in central Mindanao, assisting our armed forces as told to us by the late Defense secretary Angelo Reyes?
As reported by different news network, remember the airstrike by the AFP, killing three senior militants from al-Qaeda-linked groups (last February 2) in the south known to be the terror groups stronghold, has also been fruitful.
Partylist Rep. Luz Ilagan has aired her concern of a possible hand of the US troops stationed in Mindanao in the said airstrike. Her fear regarding the said operation also worries us of Uncle Sam’s meddling in our military’s undertakings on the insurgency problems in the south.
In his article ‘US drones circle over the Philippines’ (Asia Times online, 2/29/12), Jacob Zenn cited that the first known drone strike in the archipelago occurred earlier in February where it reportedly killed 15 members of the Islamic, Al Qaeda backed terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah, including three most-wanted terrorist leaders - Zulkifli bin Hir (alias Marwan), Gumbahali Jumdail (alias Doc Abu), and Mumanda Ali (alias Muawayah). The strike happened on Jolo Island in the southern Philippines.
The use of the unmanned aerial vehicles or drones is not farfetched. It seems that the Obama administration has made them to become the Pentagon's weapon of choice.
Actually, a bill passed in by Congress paved the way for the use of surveillance drones in US skies. The FAA predicts that by 2020 there could be up to 30,000 drones in operation. Once signed by President Barack Obama, the FAA Reauthorization Act allows for the FAA to permit the use of drones and develop regulations for testing and licensing by 2015. (Source: Steve Watson, Infowars.com 2/8/2012)
In fairness to our AFP, the operation was a huge success that has killed the suspected terrorists but the US troops’ meddling is a big no-no. I may sound like a broken record, but when it comes to this administration’s foreign policy and the country’s relationship with Washington, our leaders should send a clear message that we can continue such alliance but we must be given what is due us in the process.
For the past months, we have heard too much rhetoric on how Uncle Sam is helping us, especially our AFP in its modernization program. But the nagging question here is, are we getting our money’s worth in the acquisition of these so-called “modern” military hardware?
Me thinks that we are being taken for a ride here and that we were fooled to believe that we are ready for combat, if such conflict will occur in the region. People running this country never learned from history. We were shortchanged several times in the past and we just keep on repeating history. In the end, we’ll just be but a part of the collateral damage.
As I have written before, we have to be wary and always on the lookout that Uncle Sam’s new defense policy will consists more of clandestine operations. Translation- more “spy planes/drones” and more troops in rotational basis that we are unaware of, secretly staying in some “temporary bases.”
This writer together with other nationalists call on our leaders, that once and for all we have to be clear where we stand in our alliance with Washington. We just cannot stand on the sideline and watch our people go to war not of our liking.
Let this warning be our guide from Danny Schechter (blogger and filmmaker) that -
“A commitment to more special forces is a commitment to more imperial intervention, and specialized units operating above the law and beyond the law. It’s more secrecy in government with a constant danger of abuse. It promises more secrecy and manipulation.”
Are we going to allow such manipulation and deceit to continue from a long time ally?
Wake up PNoy and PINOYs!
by Erick San Juan
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