Friday, August 27, 2004

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This is what happens when you appease terrorists

Last month the Phillipine government's decision to evacuate all nationals out of Iraq after a truck driver was taken hostage. At the time, Arroyo said she was proud of her decision: "she was unrepentant Tuesday, saying the hostage, Angelo de la Cruz, had became a symbol of the 8 million Filipinos who have left their poor country to send home money from hard and sometimes dangerous work abroad." Arroyo subsequently banned Filipinos from working in Iraq.

According to the AP, it looks like some other Filipino symbols are somewhat upset with the Arroyo government:

Riot police used water cannons Friday to disperse protesters demanding that the Philippines lift its ban on allowing its citizens to go to war-ravaged Iraq for jobs.

The protesters marched to the presidential palace to urge President Gloria Macapagal Arroy to let them leave for Iraq, where they said U.S. military contracts await them.

"Your concern for us is highly appreciated but we need cash," one placard read. "Please allow us to work in Iraq," said another.

Riot police and rolls of barbed wire blocked more than 200 protesters at the foot of a bridge leading to the palace, where they sat down, linked arms, and sang religious songs, vowing to stay there until the ban is lifted....

"Most of us are going hungry here. If they can give us jobs here, then its OK, but they can't," said Danny Baloloy, a plumber who said a job that pays $650 a month awaits him at a U.S. base in Iraq.

The ban was imposed last month after a Filipino truck driver, Angelo dela Cruz, was abducted by Iraqi insurgents. He was freed after Manila pulled out its troops ahead of schedule, as demanded by the kidnappers.

About 3,000 Filipinos seeking jobs in Iraq last week also protested against the ban, saying they would rather risk their lives than face joblessness and hunger at home.

posted by Dan on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM


Whoa, I really hope that title was kidding. How do the filipino problems have aything to do with appeasement? The protests are because the government is restricting the travel of its citizens. Even if you were to call pulling out of Iraq appeasement, it still wouldn't be the cause of these protests. And the US has similar travel restrictions all over the world, but nobody's calling it appeasement. Are we appeasing Castro?

posted by: Ian Dew-Becker on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

oh snap! ian dew-becker tells it like it is

posted by: mikey on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

If Castro sought to keep all Americans out of Cuba, our current policy would appease him. Many of the kidnappers in Iraq have openly called for keeping out all non-Arab Muslims. Ergo, forbidding Filipinos from traveling to Iraq complies with the kidnappers' demand -- it appeases them.

posted by: Shelby on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

I kind of like the title even though it goes against the grain of conventional argument on this topic. Although that may not have been Dan's aim, the title points to the unintended consequences of allowing the rationale of appeasement to drive policy.

posted by: Steve on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

The point here is too shallow, and neglects why the Phillipines are doing what they are doing.

1. Phillipines are employed all across the Middle East, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE. Most of these workers send money home, and that money is significant.

2. All of these workers in other ME countries would then become at risk - not just the nationals in Iraq.

3. I would bet that these other oil-rich ME countries, have been putting some silent pressure on the Phillipine government.

Again, the Phillipine government is vulnerable in lots of ways, economically, and so are its nationals.

Now, that doesn't mean this isn't appeasement of this group. Clearly it is, and clearly appeasement emboldens the insurgents/terrorists. So that is clearly a bad thing.

4. I also agree with Becker. "This is what happens when you appease terrorists", has no real causal connection. The causation is complete separate.

posted by: JC on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

They don't have much choice. Remember what they paid for the last citizen kidnapped. It would be tempting to help kidnap yourself on commission if you couldn't afford to feed your family.

posted by: David Weisman on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Title is definitely misleading, although a very interesting twist on the matter. I'm not sure of the ex-pat issues in the Filipines, but I'm surprised there aren't plenty of other countries willing to import indentured servants (other M.E , and asian countries, seem more than willing).

Still waiting Dan's take on Abu Ghraib and Rummy. Given he thought that he should be spared the outrage, its curious hasn't felt need to comment on it any further. Especially how it implicates foreign policy. Even more interesting is Dan completely ignored Condi's claim that she had miserably failed in winning the "hearts and minds" -- as reported in the IHT. Of course, none of this is really surprising. I don't suspect Dan will address the latest Israeli mole and its implications on the pre-war assessment either. Dan only goes on those types of wild goose chases when some rabid-right wing racist rants about a group of ragheads. An FBI investigation isn't worht talkinga bout.

posted by: Jor on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

On a this is so, so, so sad, all you can do is laugh note, Rummy is still *denying* abuse during interrogations at Abu Ghraib. I'm not sure how this is possible. There really seem to be only two options (1) He's incompetent and has not bothered to stay up-to-date on the facts on one fo the biggest military scandals in a decade (2) He's an outright lieing SOB. It's really hard dto say which it is.

Dan please commoent on how having a secretary of defense who apparently approves of torture implicityly (i.e. via (1) or (2)) is a good idea for the next four years. Thanks.

posted by: Jor on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Mmmm. Trained plumbers willing to risk death for $650 a month.

Never mind why the philippines are keeping them out of iraq. Why is Bush keeping them out of the USA?

posted by: J Thomas on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Title should be "appease the appeasers"

posted by: Ursus on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Iraq has something like 50% unemployment.

The US military needs truck drivers.

Would someone explain to me why the US army can
not hire an Iraqi truck driver at $25,000 a
year rather than pay Haliburton $150,000 to hire an american truck driver at $75,000 to drive
trucks in Iraq.

Is this a prime example of Republican economics?

In Germany and Japan after WW II the Army had no problem hiring Germans and Japanese for these type of jobs. Why can't they hire Iraqis now?

I'm serious, can somebody explain how this happens.

posted by: spencer on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Spencer, ideally you'd get an iraqi truck driver who knows english. $25,000 a year would be 50 times the average yearly income. Anything he'd do for money, he'd do to keep that job.

On the other hand, iraqis who speak english are probably not the ones who have the unemployment problem just now. And if it's a choice between a driver who speaks arabic but not english versus english but not arabic, we'll take the latter.

Here's the other concern. If you hire an iraqi, how do you know he isn't an insurgent looking for a chance to help the other side?

Anyway, the contract has already been given to a Halliburton subsidiary. If anybody's going to be hiring iraqis cheap it will be them. But why should they hire in iraq? The last I heard, bodyguards were going for $1000 a day there. Less likely to get shot at recruiting in the philippines or egypt etc. Easier and cheaper for them, to do what they've been doing already.

posted by: J Thomas on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

It is a risible calumny and smear (if one can laugh at outrageous defamation) that Donald Rumsfeld "apparently approves of torture implicitly".

On the other hand, who really knows what the words "apparently approves of torture implicitly" actually means? It appears to be in English but the phrase is so muddled that we can't be sure.

Words in search of an idea, it appears. A libelous and unfounded idea one supposes.

And the Swiftboat veterans are smearing people?


posted by: SteveMG on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

j.thomas dude,

if you want $650/month plumbers, you should emmigrate to the Philippines. You can also enjoy $200/week bargirls and the wonderful public infrastructure of the 'pearl of the orient'.

posted by: stari_momak on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Just let 'em go to Iraq.

There's no reason why governments can't lie to terrorists. I wish the Philippines would have promised to withdraw its troops and then send in twice as many as sooon as the hostage was freed.

That would send a useful message to terrorists: don't try to manipulate us because we will do the exact opposite of anything we promise you.

posted by: Graham Lester on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

SMG, read the times article and the reports that came out this week. I'm sorry if the facts aren't on your side. Rummy needed to go a long, long time ago. IT always amuses me that the part of personal responsibility HOLDS NO ONE responsible. Although I guess after Dan poo-poo'd Abu Ghraib, it comes as no surprise he ignores the latest developments to post something about the Philipines.

If you think about the implications of this Philiipines post for just a minute, it becomes pretty disgusting. Since Dan, didn't give us his take, but through on a misleading healdine, this is the only take I have that makes sesnse. OBviously they don't care about our war or they aren't going to Iraq out of bravery -- but out of economic desperation. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. So Dan is implying that thankfully we have all these poor-brown people to clean up our neo-con fantasy adventures. If that's not what he's implyingn, please, somoene correct me.

posted by: Jor on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Jor: I think you're confusing me with someone who likes Rumsfeld (click here, here, and here).

posted by: Dan Drezner on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Spencer 9:15 notes, "Iraq has something like 50% unemployment.""Would someone explain to me why the US army can not hire an Iraqi truck driver at $25,000 rather than pay Haliburton $150,000 to hire an american truck driver at $75,000 to drive
trucks in Iraq."

JThomas responds, "But why should they hire in iraq? The last I heard, bodyguards were going for $1000 a day there. Less likely to get shot at recruiting in the philippines or egypt etc. Easier and cheaper for them, to do what they've been doing already."

Mr. Thomas - Do you not see something amiss, something out of whack, something prepostrous even, in the present situation? Where 50% of Iraqis are out of work and their Oil Fund monies are being used to pay for foreign workers to come in and do jobs that they are capable of doing? I fail to see even a short term positive here. The more Iraqis are working the less time, and desire, they have to shoot us. And how does this situation contribute to our long term goal, our mission in Iraq? Granted, our mission is a bit slippery and hard to grasp as new facts become apparent. But, let's just suppose for a minute that our goal is to pull out of Iraq as soon as it is, if not on its feet, then on its knees economically and politically. Well, how is the present system contributing to our economic goal?

Say, for example, that a group of people from California hired a bunch of people from Wyoming and Alabama to work on a project in Harlem. They went in and built new sewer lines and put in traffic signals. Further, the Cal company provided all the food and housed the workers on Long Island. What economic benefit is this really providing the citizens of Harlem? Can you not picture the growing resentment of the Harlem residents?

posted by: lansing on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

I usually make it a rule not to respond to people who use the phrase "neocon fantasy". But this warrants a response.

If 1000 pieces of evidence - memos, orders, statements - exonerated Rumsfeld from ANY involvement, explicitly or implicitly, in any torture or prisoner abuse, while one piece of evidence implicated him, you would probably grab that one piece of evidence and shout, "Aha, Rumsfeld ordered it. The neocons did it!"

If 1000 pieces of evidence - memos, orders, statements - implicated Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda and OBL while one piece of evidence cleared him of any connection or contacts, you would grab that one piece of evidence exonerating Hussein and shout, "Aha, Saddam had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. The neocons are liars!"

You fervently wish to destroy this "neocon fantasy" and in doing so wish to believe the worst about the Bush Administration. And in your desire to destroy this "neocon fantasy" you will overlook the worst about our adversaries. You have your own fantasies to embrace.

If reports come out showing that Rumsfeld knew about the torture and approved it, I would be upset and angry. I would demand his resignation. You, on the other hand, would express outrage but actually be happy and joyful for it reinforces your existing fantasies of "neocons" here, there and everywhere.

That's because you wish to defeat Bush more than you wish to defeat the terrorists. Because, again, you want to believe the worst about your fellow Americans ("apparently approves of torture implicitly") for whatever reason; and give a pass to those wishing to kill us (Saddam would never "apparently approve of al-Qaeda").

It's very odd times we live in.


posted by: SteveMG on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Happily, the neo-cons are destroying themselves. How long are you hard core supporters going to tolerate the Likud Party determining our foreign policy? What's a spy or two among friends, eh? See Juan Cole's latest post, if you dare.

posted by: r.t. on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Do you not see something amiss, something out of whack, something prepostrous even, in the present situation? Where 50% of Iraqis are out of work and their Oil Fund monies are being used to pay for foreign workers to come in and do jobs that they are capable of doing?

Clearly the situation is very bad for iraqis. If the US government cared about the iraqi nation things would not be done like that. It sucks to be iraqi.

It isn't very good for me. Jobs are stagnant. but if I get laid off maybe I can get one of the jobs these Reserve guys left. Probably take a pay cut. Probably get less than he was making too. It sucks to be me.

Well, they say if you can't beat them, join them. I have some money saved up. Maybe buy Halliburton stock? Ah, probably not. It sucks to be a Halliburton stockholder just now and prospects aren't real good either.

posted by: J Thomas on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Philippine policy is at a crossroads. They need the money their workers send home and they are clearly Terrorist appeasers.

This policy will cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos as the Southern Islands explode from the Killer Moslems being encouraged by the government weakness.

Who cares about Abu Gharib Bull Shit? Talk about the Sadmam's Mass Graves FIRST or SHUT THE HELL UP.

posted by: leaddog2 on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Typo ---- Sadamn

posted by: leaddog2 on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Typo ---- Sadamn

posted by: leaddog2 on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

If you object to appeasing terrorists why are you ignoring the biggest example of appeasing terrorists in recent yers, Bush pulling US troops out of Saudi Arabia. After all this was Ben Laden biggest problem and the primary reason he took on the US.

So what did Bush do, give Osama just what he was demanding.

posted by: spencer on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

I have to appologize about the abu Ghraib thing, because I'd forgotten the calls for rummi's resignation over here. SMG, when Rummi's had picked panel blames Rummi -- I don't think I'm selectively picking evidence. When right-wing rags call for Rummi's resignation, I don't think its all left-wing propoganda. Stop choking on the cool aid.
c.f. wpost editorial

posted by: Jor on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Spencer, we can't let the terrorists dictate our policies. If we do whatever they say, that's bad. If we do whatever they say not to, that's just as bad.

The saudis wanted our troops out partly because our troops were tending to swing saudi civilian public opinion in favor of the terrorists. US troops in saudi arabia weren't doing us a lot of good or the saudis any good at all; it would be stupid to keep them there just because OBL told us to take them out.

The philippine government wouldn't get a lot of morality brownie points for letting their people work for us and get killed.

At this point I don't know that there would be many iraqis who'd do the job. Even if they don't get caught in the act their neighbors might turn them in later. They'll have to live in iraq for a long time after we're gone, and people are likely to hold a grudge. 5 years from now they could still get blackmailed, they could get threatened with exposure as a US collaborator.

posted by: J Thomas on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Why are you so eager for Filipinos to undergo this fate?

Iraq's AMS condemns execution of Nepalese
Tuesday 31 August 2004, 19:04 Makka Time, 16:04 GMT
Iraq's leading Islamic authority, the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) has condemned the killing of 12 Nepalese captives.
Dr Harith al-Dhari, Secretary General of the AMS strongly condemned the execution, describing the killed captives as "simple people" who did not deserve their fate.

It is America's responsibility as the occupying power to provide security and safety under the Geneva conventions to which you are signed and agreed to uphold. Is it appeasment to fail to provide security from people fighting the American occupation?

posted by: Mike on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Mike, if we could protect the low-level people who work for us, we'd have a much easier time of it.

We really ought to give iraqi translators etc apartments inside the Green Zone so they wouldn't have to leave and get killed. But then, they'd probably want to leave to see their families.

By cold hard economics, if Halliburton can hire a driver for $650 a month without protecting him from iraqis, why pay $10,000 a month to protect him? If a few get killed there are plenty more where those came from.

posted by: J Thomas on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

You're taking not only our low-level people, you are also taking our engineers, nurses, even our doctor's.
A lot of our doctor's are now applying for short-degree nursing courses.

A lot of foreign retirees are settling in the philippines too. You can get a maid, a driver, eat buffets at fantastic prices.

A lot of U.S. based call centers are sprouting here by the hundreds. You'll soon hate it when you begin to feel that a great extent of jobs are outsourced, taken away from your nationals. To those who hate us because we respect the life of a lowly driver, and refer to it as 'cold economics' hope you don't send them abroad at war torn countries for $600 a month one day.

posted by: Mr. T on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Mr. T, please accept my apology. I intended to present a clear explanation why a soulless corporation that is not doing good for the USA either, would treat cheap workers as expendables.

I did not intend to say I approve.

For what it's worth, I fear you may be prophetic. As oil supplies dwindle and the US economy sinks, we may easily reach a time when the US economy is a lot like the philippines are today, and the philippines simply cannot afford to import much oil at all.

You might do good for your nation and for the world by going into some sort of alternate energy research or business. But if you do that even a little bit too early you will probably go broke. Learning chinese would probably pay off.

posted by: J Thomas on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

Thank you J Thomas. I was searching for overseas filipino workers info when I accidentally got into this forum.

As long as my country has a continous rollover of vocational and professional graduates, we'll keep on sending workers abroad. It might be the only thing keeping us afloat. The workers we send generate $7B worth of remittances a year. This finances the education of family members left back here.

If I can help in sending more people abroad, then I've done my share. This also helps foreign corporations in dire need of quality and affordable labor from declaring bankruptcy.

The only way I can be patriotic in my country is to ignore our government, and put up with the burden they give us. I agree in saving the life of Angelo Cruz but it doesn't mean our government represents our interest, Gloria did it to save her image.

The Philippines has the richest source of natural heavy water or deuterium which can only be mined in the deepest trenches. If it can be harnessed efficiently in the future, maybe there is still hope we can become a rich country one day.

posted by: Mr T on 08.27.04 at 02:35 PM [permalink]

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