Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The White Flag Goes Up

It's official. The Philippines has capitulated to international terror. A spokesman for its Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the terms. Bloomberg reports:

Foreign Secretary Delia Albert issued a statement confirming an al-Jazeera report on the plan to win the release of Angelo de la Cruz. The Qatar-based network today televised a video, dubbed in Arabic, in which Philippine Deputy Foreign Minister Rafael Seguis announced the withdrawal. "We are responding to your request and are to withdraw our humanitarian contingent in Iraq as soon as possible,'' Seguis said, according to al-Jazeera's English-language Web site. Seguis spoke with "foreknowledge and full authority of the Philippine government,'' Albert said in the statement. Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has to weigh the life of de la Cruz, a father of eight and one of about 7 million Filipinos working abroad to support families at home, against her support for U.S. President George W. Bush's campaign against terrorism, which has won her increased American military aid.

Part of that military aid came in blood.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, 40, a highly decorated 17-year Army veteran who was looking forward to retirement in three years, died Wednesday (October 2, 2002) when a nail-laden bomb exploded near a restaurant outside a military arms depot at Camp Enrile Malagutay. The camp is near the city of Zamboanga in the southern Philippines, where Green Berets are housed. Jackson was pronounced dead at Camp Navarro General Hospital.

Jackson was the 11th American to die fighting the Abu Sayyaf. Here's the Stars and Stripes from February 23, 2002 describing the fate of the other ten.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Defense officials fear that all 10 crewmembers aboard an MH-47E Chinook helicopter died in the Friday crash at sea in the southern Philippines. The helicopter, which belonged to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), the "Night Stalkers," went down at 2:30 a.m. local time under clear skies while en route to Mactan air base, a logistics base for an anti-terrorist training operation being conducted by U.S. and Philippine forces.

This then is the last goodbye, the final chapter of a chance encounter which began when Dewey sailed into Manila Bay. And if it is the end of shared destiny, it also closes the chapter on every claim and obligation. Remembrance is all that remains.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light
And the lanthorn dimly burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
With his martial cloak around him.

But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
But we left him alone with his glory.