Not that you are likely to read this, though it can’t hurt to read something a little more intelligent than the usual crap given you that passes for intelligence. I write to reiterate some of the points I made in a previous letter I wrote your boss a couple of months ago. I wrote it in the hope that people who have the audacity to hope would also have the audacity to listen.
I was one of those who rejoiced at your party’s victory a year ago (has it been that long?), a victory that had “We shall overcome” written all over it. I was one of those who believed that victory did not just represent a victory for Americans but a victory for the world. The first world president, the signs blared in neon, and I thrilled to see it. What a difference a year makes. The lights have not gone out completely but how so much dimmer they’ve become.
I personally rooted for Barack Obama over you in the primaries, even if it meant nothing to you or your country. Not leastbecause of your endorsement of the Iraq invasion—let’s call a spade a spade, although occupation, seizure or grabbing is a lot more accurate—which your rival, who eventually became your country’s first black president, had a field day twitting you with. Your excuse that it was a bipartisan vote and that you got the wrong intelligence from George W. and his bunch of cutthroats just doesn’t cut it. All it proves is that your intelligence is crap, and you would be better off reading more intelligent things like this.
Still, I had hoped that your becoming state secretary would add fuel to a US government that seemed to want to go boldly where no US government had gone before. I had hoped you would help present the other face of America to the world, the face of Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain and Martin Luther King and not the faces of Randolph Hearst, Richard Nixon and Fox News. At the very least I had hoped you, upon the frenzied instigation of your boss, would do no less, if not much more, than Jimmy Carter in pressing the cause of liberty before the world.
I hoped wrong.
Your coming to the Philippines does not press that cause before the Filipinos, it suppresses it. It cannot help that you pass off your trip here—trumpeted loudly by your ambassador—as a desire to personally see the devastation wrought by the recent typhoons. I know we are a country that has earned worldwide renown only for boxing and stealing, but we have not entirely lost our wits. When two top American officials visit this country one on top of the other—the other one was CIA director Leon Panetta who visited last June—we have to ask what we have done to deserve the honor.
Being flattened by howling wind and raging flood is not the first thing that comes to mind. The American capacity for solicitousness has nowhere been in evidence in this country. What has been in evidence throughout the years is a “special relations” that gives whole new meanings to the word “special.” It improves on Sun-Tzu’s famous aphorism, “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer,” by proposing, “Make your enemies pay dear and your friends even dearer.”
To suggest that you are coming here out of concern for our ravaged state only makes you out to be afflicted by the same disease as your host, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The activists are right: You want to see a spectacle of devastation, look elsewhere. The burying of whole villages in water and the ruining of whole crops at harvest time are nothing compared to the wasteland this country has been turned into by two things.
The first is your host. It cannot speak very highly of a transformational government that you want only to transform someone who has been the greatest bane her countrymen has known after Ferdinand Marcos into a blessing for democracy. The last by saying, as Obama did when she visited, and as various US officials like yourself have said when she has complied, or gone overboard, with the American wishes, that she is a mighty ally in the fight against terrorism.
Mighty ally, my foot. No one has wreaked more terror upon this land than she, though that is clearly of little concernto you. Sort of reminds us of how George’s father, Bush Senior, toasted Marcos for his adherence to democracy during his time. The only transformation that seems to have happened is the superficial one of color in the American leadership, from white to black. For us at least, it remains as black (-and-white) as before.
And for what? Just so you can continue to have your will with us. Spare us the nurturing posture, it merely adds insult to the injury. And it makes you look like Kristie Kenney, your one ambassador who has learned the art of humoring the natives. You are here, as Panetta was here, as all sorts of American officials high and low will be here, because you are anxious to remain here. Or because you are anxious to have your bases remain here. Yes, bases. They may be mobile, they may be itinerant, they may be floating, crawling, or traipsing, but they are bases nonetheless. Before the storms became permanent visitors in this country, you already were.
You want to see devastation, gaze upon the devastation you have wrought. Upon a people who have done you no harm, who came to your side, notwithstanding that you enslaved them at the very time of their lives they were near to being free, when you lay prostrate at the hands of the Japanese. Gaze upon the way you repaid them by propping up their oppressors in the name of fighting communism and now of terrorism. The point of fighting communism and terrorism is to protect democracy. It is not to create more communists and terrorists by the sheer hellishness of it.
You shall overcome?
Right now, the only thing you need to overcome is yourselves.