Buencamino does foreign and political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 17 July 2004 edition, page 9.

” Old soldiers never die, they just smell that way” – Unknown

Fidel Ramos was a policeman and Max Soliven is a newspaper publisher so only half of the quotation applies to them.

Fidel Ramos loves to give unsolicited opinions. Recently he said he
believes the head of Angelo de la Cruz is a fair price to pay for
international credibility. Once upon a time, the price of credibility
was punishing soldiers with push-ups for attempting to overthrow the
government of Corazon Aquino. Now that he doesn’t have to foot the bill
anymore, he feels free to raise the price of credibility.

Rasti Delizo of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign is wasting his money
awarding Ramos a “one-way first-class all-expense paid trip to Iraq in
order to take the place of Angelo de la Cruz.” The Iraqis know a thing
or two about value so they won’t exchange Angelo for the head of Ramos.

Meanwhile, an enraged Max Soliven was not satisfied with calling Arroyo
“craven and wishy-washy ” and her decision, “shameful”. He needed to
insult each and every Filipino by calling them cowards. He wrote,
“Snatch one Filipino and threaten to behead him, and all the Filipinos
turn tail and run away.” I speak on behalf of all Filipinos when I say
– “Fuck you, Max.”

The Filipino people are proud to have a government that holds a
Filipino life more important than lending credibility to a war based on
lies. Only Unsolicited Fidel and Mad Max think otherwise.

Bush and his posse are angry because Arroyo’s decision marks a clear
distinction between the war on terror and the war of false pretenses.
Their credibility rests on blurring that difference and maintaining the
illusion that the war on Iraq is the same as the war on terror. That’s
why they are framing Arroyo’s decision in the worst possible way.

The White House spokesman said, “We believe that a decision by the
Philippine government to withdraw their 51 troops ahead of schedule
would send the wrong signal to terrorists” and the US State Department
said, the decision “sends the wrong message” to hostage takers “at a
time when Iraq is fighting for stability and peace.”

The Australian Foreign Minister followed suit and telephoned the
Philippines Embassy in Canberra to reiterate, “countries cannot give in
to the demands of terrorists because we would all pay the price.”

CNN is piling it on and using words like “capitulation” but it
unwittingly praised Arroyo when it said that the Philippine Government
prioritized the saving of one Filipino’s life over its international

And we don’t have to repeat what their choir boys, Fidel and Max, were singing.

President Arroyo’s decision to walk out of Iraq in order to save a
Filipino despite its profound consequences on bilateral relations with
the US is what makes her decision so admirable and praiseworthy.

If Angelo de la Cruz is beheaded despite Arroyo’s decision, it will not be because she failed to do what’s right.

Arroyo was fooled by Bush into doing the wrong thing but now she is
doing the right thing. I think Arroyo smells sweet and I hope she stays
that way for the next six years.