War? Ask those who lived through one
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

If by patriotism it means I have to go to war over that boat incident in the South China Sea, then I must be the most unpatriotic son of a bitch there is. Like President Duterte, I see the incident, in which a Filipino fishing boat was deliberately rammed by a Chinese vessel, as too minor to risk the lives of 110 million innocent Filipinos for.

True, we get hot behind the ears. I did. I am not that callous or impervious. But war? War is something that is so easy to say. But ask those who have lived through one and they will tell you it is a kind of hell that must be avoided if it can be helped. If you cringe at the sight of blood from a cut finger or writhe in pain on bumping a shin, then avoid war because it is so much more.

I know nobody has actually sounded the call. But I also know it is in the back of the minds of many, including some journalists who are not too subtly goading the military to at least take a position if their commander-in-chief does not. One stupid opinion maker, without citing any proof, actually suggested that there are rumblings within a military grown restive over the inaction.

Nothing can be a more bare-faced lie than such stupidity. Yes, soldiers are fighting men. They have sworn their lives to fight in our defense. Nothing can be a more honorable profession than that which offers a life on behalf of others. But just because soldiers are sworn to our defense doesn't mean they have to tempt fate and go looking for war.

If the truth be told, nobody wants to avoid war more than the soldiers themselves. And that is because in any war, they are the ones who are going to die first. And that is why I find it grossly unfair and highly insensitive to try and push this country and its soldiers into a situation where war becomes a most likely option and people will have to die when they shouldn't have to.

I say the boat incident is a minor one because I have seen almost daily situations in this troubled world of ours where rival nations, all armed to the teeth, actually engage in far worse provocations and still find the sense not to descend into an actual all-out war.

India and Pakistan have border skirmishes in Kashmir. North and South Korea play cat and mouse at Panmunjom. Sometimes these flashpoints produce actual casualties. But their leaders have all struggled mightily not to push the button. And that is how leaders ought to be. They need to contain fires not start conflagrations.

It would have been easy for Duterte to play up to the warmongers and the rest of the stupids in the rah-rah gallery. After all, Duterte has the inclination and the verbiage to even make the dead squirm in their graves. But Duterte is much wiser than he is getting credit for. He wants to avoid a situation that can only get worse than it is. What others call cowardice is really prudence.

CHINESE VESSEL
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