Powell lashes out at Manila
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) lashed out at the Philippines for pulling its 51 troops out of Iraq (news - web sites) to save the life of a hostage, saying it was "a very high price" to pay and "rewarded" the kidnappers for kidnapping.
"In effect, kidnappers were rewarded for kidnapping," Powell said after meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Solomon Passy.
"They were paid off. They made a demand, a political demand against the Philippine government, which the Philippine government, a sovereign government, decided that it had to meet.
"When you start meeting the demands of kidnappers, I think you're going down a very bad and slippery slope, which incentivizes kidnappings," said Powell.
Anti-war or not, it's foolish to say that Powell is wrong here. While one might say "well the war is illegitimate anyway," that's not the point. Clearly the leaders in Manila didn't think so (or wants to improve relations with the U.S., more likely), and hence, now the kidnappers/terrorists in Iraq can look back and say "that works" as opposed to "that didn't work, let's not try it again." Thus, the cycle of violence, which liberals would naturally want to end, is intensified. If Manila did think the war was legit, then all this did was make the Philippines look weak. And in a country with a high fundamentalist Muslim population, that might be a bad idea.