Editorial & Opinion

We Are “Forced” to Have the Forces

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The recent talks on the revival of the former US military bases in Subic and Clark, possibly through a charter change sent ripples throughout the country creating divisions among pro and anti Americans especially among the netizens. But the truth of the matter is the Americans never left and this time around after they physically left its military bases, they actually turned the whole archipelago as their military outpost in this part of the world.

We are too valuable for the American military that through some people in our government who became witting tools in circumventing the law of the land and created the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) via the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). As I have been saying for years now that such treaties and other so-called agreements are all one-sided, no thanks to the pretenders in our government. It is more for the benefit of the other party than ours. And as of this writing, the government is concocting another ‘access agreement’ with the US and other countries where we have similar pact with to allow the use of the military bases.

Actually we don’t need this b.s. ‘access agreement’, because of the VFA, US forces are ‘visiting’ the country in a regular rotational basis and some (600 soldiers) are already ‘more than visiting’ particularly in the south through the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines.

Why the JSOTF-P and how long is this task force operating in the country?

In an excerpt from the book, Shadow Wars by David Axe, he explained that – By 2001 Mindanao was a haven for a shifting alliance of Islamic groups dominated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf — the latter two Al Qaeda affiliates. In December that year, Jemaah Islamiyah plotted an attack on the U.S. embassy in Singapore, but Singaporean authorities intervened.

In January 2002, the Special Operations Command deployed Joint Task Force 510 to fight the Islamists alongside the Philippine military. The task force would soon change its name into Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines and grew to include 600 soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and civilians operating trucks, gun-armed speed boats, helicopters, C-12 cargo planes and U-28 spy planes.

Under the cover of a training exercise in March 2002, Washington sent Gnat drones — the smaller, slower, older brother of the Predator — to the Philippines. Comments by a military spokesperson created the impression that the Gnats were Pentagon assets, but in fact the military didn’t take possession of its own Gnats until the following year. The Gnats in the Philippines were apparently CIA models, purchased in parallel with the agency’s initial contingent of more powerful Predators.

Special Operation Forces and drones are not new in this country, remember that right after the September 11, 2001 ‘terror attack’ on the twin towers, George Bush’s war on terror was a success because nations joined him in his synthetic global war on terror (GWOT) including former President GLoria Macapagal Arroyo who dragged us into Bush’s stupid war. Have you forgotten how former President Joseph Estrada’s military (successfuly) simultaneously attacked and taken the 46 camps of the MILF with the secret help of drones?

These forces are forced to good to be part and parcel of such special ops especially in the south because our government leaders allowed Uncle Sam to do so in his proxy war in this region.

Although at present, Americans have shown little appetite to support another large-scale overseas military effort — and President Barack Obama vowed in his State of the Union message that America would not occupy other nations during his watch. So , the Pentagon is working “by, with and through” allied and partner nations to enhance global security, to use the current catchphrase. (Military Sees Broader Role for Special Operations Forces, in Peace and War by Thom Shanker)

The reason, however, that the shift is of relevance (more broadly) is that it signals the irresistible rise of the special operations community in the post-counterinsurgency era. More than a year ago, in January 2012, President Obama inaugurated the US Defense Strategic Guidance. The document was strategically significant because it announced the “pivot to Asia” alongside continued commitments to the oil sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf.

Militarily, it clearly signaled the end of large-scale invasion and occupation of troublesome or intransigent countries in favor of the kind of operations in which the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and its counterterrorism component, the JSOC, excel. This ascendancy is confirmed by the planned expansion of the SOCOM by around 7.5 percent by 2015, from 66,100 civilian and military personnel in 2011 to 71,100 by 2015.

This expansion of the force, at a time when most US government departments – including the Pentagon itself – are contemplating possible sequestrations, speaks to the increasing importance of a force which can act in the shadows, leaving a “light footprint”.

A recent report by the Center for a New American Security describes the light footprints as a “minimalist” and “non-intrusive” approach to asymmetric warfare combining “air power, special operators, intelligence agents, indigenous armed groups and contractors, often leveraging relationships with allies and enabling partner militaries to take more active roles”. US Special Operations Command is perfectly suited for such tasks and is increasingly consolidating its hold over the broad spectrum of military tactics it entails. (The Tip of the Spear: US Special Operations Forces from Aljazeera)

With the “sequestration” in effect, meaning budget cuts in military spending, Uncle Sam will be using more of the same, special forces and drones. So, what else is new?

The Filipino Express

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