The Philippines had all of 51 soldiers in Iraq, but 19 have already left for home. The Philippine government has caved in to demands from the jihadist kidnappers of Angelo de la Cruz, a Filipino truck driver in Iraq, and the troops are going home. De la Cruz is safe now, having avoided the fate that has befallen other recent hostages, and everyone is happy.
Of course, the withdrawal of 51 troops is of little moment in terms of the overall Iraqi military presence. But for the global jihad, this is almost as huge a victory as the Spanish capitulation after the March 11 Madrid bombings: It shows once again that the terrorists can have their way with the gelded republics of the non-Muslim world.
This craven appeasement stems from a peculiar modern malady; it’s a manifestation of a kind of pseudo-humanitarianism. In the name of saving this one man’s life, which is definitely worth saving, they are willing to condemn many others to deaths that will come from newly emboldened Islamic radicals who are ready to commit violence to achieve their purposes – particularly when they see that that violence accomplishes those purposes quite well.
The Philippine government accordingly deserves the harshest possible judgment from history. It deserves nothing but the disgust and condemnation of free people. Some new Dante is needed to write the sorry story of the Chamberlains, the Zapateros, and the Gloria Macapagal Arroyos, along with all the other besotted do-gooders who brought Peace to Our Time. But such may not emerge until some distant future when the Dark Ages of the Sharia rule that has just made a significant advance in the Philippines and elsewhere begin to recede.
Sharia rule? In the Pacific’s only Catholic country? It isn’t all that farfetched. For several decades now, the Philippine central government has been bedeviled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a group dedicated to winning independence for the nation’s Muslim areas (chiefly Mindanao, the second-largest of the Philippine islands) by force of arms. The MILF is determined to establish an independent Moro Islamic state, and, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad half a world away, will accept no negotiations or half-measures. It is jihad to the death. In fact, the MILF itself was established in 1977 in protest when its parent group, the Moro National Liberation Front, renounced plans to seek independence and accepted an offer from Manila of autonomy for the Muslim regions.
In the 1990s, the MILF was responsible for a series of savage terrorist attacks in the southern Philippines; former Philippine President Joseph Estrada vowed “all-out war” against the group. But Arroyo has been more conciliatory. And this week, remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Rafael Seguis must have been music to the MILF’s ears. Announcing that the Philippines would withdraw from Iraq to save the life of de la Cruz, he simpered to the cold-blooded killers holding his countryman: “I hope the statement that I read will touch the heart of this group. … We know that Islam is the religion of peace and mercy.”
In effect, Seguis was saying: Not only will we withdraw from Iraq because of your threat to spill innocent blood, we will ignore altogether that you have made such a threat and appeal to you as if you were the sort of people who do not and would not make such threats. We will, in other words, accept not only your demands but your worldview: We will allow you to hold a gun to our head and force us to do your will, all the while praising your rationality, peacefulness and moderation. We will become your slaves.
The new Dante should consign Rafael Seguis to a circle of hell reserved for self-deluded fools, babbling about Islam, “the religion of peace and mercy,” to a bunch of literal cutthroats who reserve their peace and mercy only for fellow believers, but who will gladly accept the bumbling, ignorant submission of Rafael Seguis and others like him as a welcome new indication of the pusillanimity, weakness and utter spiritual exhaustion of what was once the Christian world.
Maybe Rafael Seguis is vying for the honor of being the one, proffering Danegeld in trembling hand, to welcome the new leaders of the Islamic Republic to Manila, once the Moro Islamic Liberation Front crushes once and for all the cowed and rudderless forces of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her coterie of unready appeasers. Is that the outcome he really wants?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of “Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West” (Regnery Publishing), and “Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).