Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Filipino antiwar activists demand US out!

For the past many months, US military forces have ramped up their presence in the Asia-Pacific region by engaging in 22 joint military exercises with countries within & outside the region, including Australia, Canada, Peru, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, France, Norway, & the UK. These war games involve every kind of warship, submarines, military aircraft. Reportedly, many of these exercises openly targeted China as the “imaginary enemy.”  The US is trying to establish dominance in the region including as arbiter in maritime & territorial disputes between China & other countries, notably the Philippines, especially over the Spratly Islands. The Spratly Islands in the South China Sea are claimed & occupied by several countries, including Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines & China primarily because they hold significant reserves of oil & natural gas. These US war games are a provocative challenge to China & embolden regional military conflict.

The Philippines has an active antiwar movement which condemns US military war games for aggravating conflict between the Philippines & China. They have often protested US military presence along with the militarization of their country because of the malignant history of the US military there. The US Naval base at Subic Bay & Clark Air Base on Luzon Island, which both closed in the early 1990s, functioned as institutions of US military domination for nearly 100 years, playing a major role in subjugating the Philippines up through the Vietnam War. When the Navy pulled out of Subic Bay in 1992, they agreed to clean up the toxic waste they left behind but made no provisions for the thousands (estimated at 40,000) of abandoned children of US sailors & pilots. In 1992, an unprecedented class-action law suit was filed against the US Navy claiming financial support for the children because US Navy policy not only fostered the prostitution industry but also administered it by providing health screenings & regulating the women. According to spokespersons for the women plaintiffs, Filipino women “were considered sexual commodities, usable & expendable" by the Navy--as were their children.

Here, protestors at the US embassy in Manila demand US troops be pulled out of their country. As we see from the list of countries engaged in war games with the US, the demand of these Filipino activists must be echoed around the world & at upcoming antiwar protests in the US. Our fullest solidarity with their struggle against our common enemy. (Photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)

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