Why Negotiating With Terrorists Can Do More Harm Than Good

In the olden days, people were almost never safe. I remember writing in a previous article that during the times of Ancient Greece, people considered themselves safe when they weren’t in any immediate danger. In those days, barbarism was all too often a common occurrence (and probably one of the major causes of death) and people often lived in fear of being attacked. If you recall how crappy life was under the rule of feudal lords and despotic kings, you should also remember that people actually put up with this kind of bad governance because they were easily preferable over that of the barbarians whose usual means of recreation were raping, robbing and killing.

moro_islamic_liberation_frontToday, with the never-ending and ever-worsening problems down south, I’m worried that I’m beginning to see a twisted parallel between the barbarians and nobles of old to the terrorists and government today. That’s right, the latest news regarding the peace talks with the rebels down south remind me all too much with how the feudal lords were able to manipulate the peasants into accepting their unquestioned rule. It was very simple really. Serve me and I keep you safe, rebel and you will be at the mercy of barbarians. While life was hard back then and people really had to put their back into it to survive, a lot of peasants believed that it was probably a lot better than let the barbarians rape their wives and daughters (or sons and husbands), steal their belongings, destroy their homes and outright kill everyone else. Whatever the case, it worked all too well because the peasants were simply too scared to mount any kind of revolt against their tyrannical leaders.

But enough of conspiracy theories for now. Let’s go back to the here and now and the facts we have to face in case we do decide to give into the demands of terrorists. While the United States is sometimes called out on being “unfair” about their “never negotiate with terrorists” policy, one can argue that there is a good reason for not playing along with terrorist ploys. Here’s a better look at what I’m talking about:

It Spits on the Face of Justice

Put aside the Fallen 44 for now and look back on the other misdeeds of these rebels. How many hapless civilians and innocent bystanders have they killed over the years in the course of their rebellion? How many other police officers did they have to butcher to further their goals before they finally came upon the forty-four members of the PNP-SAF? These questions alone should be enough to give people some thought before going out to negotiate with these criminals.

From even before the Fallen 44, these so called “liberators” have made it clear what they really are: criminals. They are thieves and murderers who need to face justice and be held accountable for the lives they’ve taken over the years. It’s quite obvious from the get-go that the so-called negotiations isn’t about justice or peace but simply about satiating and playing into the hands of these terrorists.

As Benign0 states in his own article, where is the justice in negotiating with these scum. What about all the people that died? What about all the people that they may kill in the future to further their goals?

I know that hurting or arresting these criminals isn’t going to bring those Fallen 44 back to life but are we really wiling to let these rabid dogs run around free to kill even more people, soldiers and civilians alike?

Appeasement isn’t a Long-Term Solution

As proven in World War II when the Allies tried to negotiate with the Axis forces before the war started, appeasement isn’t a long-term solution to a major geopolitical problem. It was quite clear that these terrorists aren’t going to stop with just their bill. The government has done numerous peace talks with them before and none of them have ever really lasted long. In the end, these same criminals break their promises and refuse to keep their end of their bargain because they want more.

In the end, if all we do is appease these terrorist scum, they may end up owning the rest of the country. It’s like giving in to the demands of a spoiled child. Once you get them accustomed to taking advantage of you, they’ll be doing it every other time to get what they want.

By giving in to their demands now, we set ourselves up to be (or already are) the suckers of these criminals. We will just end up giving them more and more of what they want until it’s too late for us common people to do anything about it.

When will our government realize that there is no point in negotiating with madmen? Will our government finally realize their mistake when these terrorists are beating down the doors to Malacanang? Will they reconsider their policies regarding terrorists when these scum finally hold them and their families at gunpoint?

Giving Into the Demands of a Terrorist Organization Might Give Ideas to Others

Okay, this is what worries me most. No, I’m not talking about keeping up the image of being macho and all. I’m talking about the fact that if you show weakness, other people might start taking advantage of you.

For instance, when a young beggar boy approached me and I gave him a coin, a whole gang of them swarmed me. The same can be more or less said about these terrorists. When we show them and the rest of the world that we’re willing to negotiate with people who do enough killing, what’s to stop everyone else from doing the same thing.

Right now it’s just these terrorists down south. But what if, say, the communists decide to get into the action too and take their own share of hostages and shoot police officers along the way? Or worse yet, what if China sees this as a potential weakness for their own agendas and takes a large number of our fellow Filipinos hostage so that we will be forced to hand over more of our territories to them?

For the safety and future of our country, please think about this. Giving into them will just make things worse. The heroes of our history fought and died for our freedom. I hope you even have some inkling of their courage.

[Photo courtesy New York Times.]

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21 Comments on “Why Negotiating With Terrorists Can Do More Harm Than Good”

  1. Excuse me for the term, I think someone must have the balls to fight those terrorists by any means. I’ve seen the new technology used by Americans in defeating those terrorists, I hope our government can put into consideration the use of drones. Hindi kasi natatakot ang terrorists sa gobyerno natin.

    1. @imback:

      The Americans have been fighting terrorists for a long time; yet, they have rarely been able to defeat them. Why?

      If the Americans with their weapons and bloated military budget are not able to defeat terrorists; what makes you think that a Filipino military solution will work?

      You have to think outside of the box, on this one. Becoming partners with moderate elements, regional players from other countries, incentives, sanctions, cutting the funding for the extreme rebels. Aquino’s strategy needs to be fine tuned; not abandoned in favor of some kick ass approach.

      1. “The Americans have been fighting terrorists for a long time; yet, they have rarely been able to defeat them. Why?

        If the Americans with their weapons and bloated military budget are not able to defeat terrorists; what makes you think that a Filipino military solution will work?”
        ========
        The Americans are fighting terrorists outside the mainland. Not an inch of American land is under threat that a Muslim terrorist wants to declare and governed as their homeland. None. That’s a very different case.

        The Americans is acting as the world policeman. The police can always defeat the criminals but not the crime. Of course, they can defeat the terrorists if they want to. What they cannot defeat is the existence of terrorism.

        “You have to think outside of the box, on this one. Becoming partners with moderate elements, regional players from other countries, incentives, sanctions, cutting the funding for the extreme rebels. Aquino’s strategy needs to be fine tuned; not abandoned in favor of some kick ass approach.”
        ========
        What’s outside the box has been tried and tested before and it continues to be utilized at present. They are the common sense approach in dealing with the problem. Very basic and helpful. However what needs to be given focus now is precisely the ‘kick ass approach’ because the enemy has practically mastered our approach in dealing with them and they are taking advantage of it.

        The carrot and stick approach will produced dividend if only PNoy knows how to do it (which I highly doubt).

  2. I have to agree 100% with what Grimwald says. You don’t negotiate with terrorists. To do so only strengthens them. You don’t coexist with them. They don’t want to coexist with you. They will stop short of nothing but to blot you out.

  3. Please recall that it wasn’t the national government who was courting the MILF into peace talks — the opposite was true.

    As for the comparisons with Hitler: PLEASE. Salamat wasn’t and still isn’t advocating for a hostile takeover of all of this country or even the whole of Mindanao, while the Twelve-Year Uberreich was actively seeking for judenrein lebensraum (I apologize for my being all… well, Deutsch), and Hitler made it a point to say so repeatedly before adulatory audiences — something neither Chamberlain and his counterparts nor the OP have noticed.

  4. I would liken the line, “Let’s not negotiate with the terrorists” to “PNoy is not qualified to be president’ in that both has expiration date. Let me explain.

    Some people still raise the issue of PNoy’s qualification even though he has already passed more than half of his term. Up to now, some even rant the view that PNoy became president because of his parents? Really? Everybody knows that because it has been the focal point at the time when PNoy was campaigning for president. I don’t see any logic resorting to recycled campaign issues that serves no purpose now when there are a lot of legit issues, from the Luneta kidnapping to PDAF to the Mindanao massacre, that can be raise against the president.

    On the ‘terrorist’ issue, I understand the gist of what the word means today in relation to the gruesome killings of PNP personnel in Mindanao. Details aside of that despicable event, we already put our self in the box a long time ago for talking/negotiating with the MILF. Also, the MILF is not really different from the MNLF which we actually have an agreement with. One thing going for the MILF, although I see them partly if not wholly responsible in the PNP killings, right or wrong, they are no Abu Sayyaf or Jemaah Islamiyah. To go back on the terrorist issue now is to paint inconsistency on the part of the gov’t.

    As the saying goes, we made the bed, now we have to lie on it.

  5. @Grimwald:

    Your inflammatory rhetoric is simplistic, at best. It does nothing to explain the complexities of the situation or offer a possible way out.
    Let me analyze some of your statements:

    1) “If you show weakness, other people might start taking advantage of you.”

    Get real. The Philippines is weak. Their armed forces are inadequate; as this recent operation clearly shows. What would be the point of pretending to be strong? In fact, it might lead people to believe there is a military solution; when clearly, there is not.

    2) Dehumanizing your opponents and characterizing them as “mad men” and “terrorist scum” is counter productive cheerleading; nothing more.

    Underestimating the Moros would be a big mistake. Rather, instead, we should try to see the issue from their perspective. Try to understand what motivates and drives them. Do they have legitimate grievances? Maybe these can be addressed; instead of launching an all out civil war. You may call this appeasing the enemy. I would call it approaching the situation in an intelligent manner.

    3) “If all we do is appease these terrorist scum, they may wind up owning the rest of the country.”

    Boy, have I heard this used before. “If we do not stop the communist in Vietnam, their ideology will spread and one country after another will fall like dominoes.” Stop the paranoia. The Christians are the ones trying to take over Mindanao; not the other way around.

    4) You end your article with the patriotic exhortation: “The heroes of our history fought and died for our freedom.”

    This is precisely the kind of mindless flag waving that fuels conflicts, to begin with. It presupposes that your country has a special unique story, peopled with noble patriots; who fought not for their own interests, but to uplift the masses. Baloney!!! Filipinos are no better or worse than any other people. People do the best they can given the circumstances they find themselves in. The sooner we start thinking globally, instead of tribally; the sooner we can put conflicts like this behind us.

    “We do not exist apart from one another.”
    Buddha

    1. Yes, but don’t you see, if our government can’t get its shit together over issues like this, then we the people will end up suffering for it.

      I don’t think there’s a peaceful way to resolve this issue, not anymore. Both we and these terrorists are stuck in the past. Unless we can let the past go, I can assure you that our future will suck to.

    2. 1) “The Philippines is weak. Their armed forces are inadequate.”
      ========
      But on whose perspective? The US? China? Yes, we are weak. But in the eyes of the local terrorists, bandits and insurgents, no we are not. We are dangerously strong that is why other countries willingly participate as go-betweens in our negotiations with other armed groups. The recent operation was not proof of our military’s weakness but evidence of treachery and viciousness of the enemy.

      2) “Underestimating the Moros would be a big mistake. Rather, instead, we should try to see the issue from their perspective. Try to understand what motivates and drives them. Do they have legitimate grievances? Maybe these can be addressed; instead of launching an all out civil war. You may call this appeasing the enemy. I would call it approaching the situation in an intelligent manner.”
      ========
      We’ve seen the issue from their perspective that is why we were able to have several agreements with them as far as Marcos’ time. We know the root cause of their grievances and we’re addressing them as much as we can without compromising the authority of the gov’t.

      But giving your hand as a sign of reciprocity and cooperation while the other side tries to take your whole arm is another story.

      3) “Boy, have I heard this used before. “If we do not stop the communist in Vietnam, their ideology will spread and one country after another will fall like dominoes.” Stop the paranoia. The Christians are the ones trying to take over Mindanao; not the other way around.”
      ========
      While I agree with the erroneous theory of domino effect of communism, we have to understand that unlike Islam, it is not a religion or faith that the Muslims governed their way of life with.

      The view that the Christians are taking over Mindanao is already archaic. The gov’t. since the ’70s has made an effort to accommodate, within the bounds of law, the Filipino-Muslims to have their own space in what they call their ancestral domain. The existence of ARMM makes such view obsolete already.

  6. The Palestinians and the Israelis sign “Peace Agreement”; then go back fighting each other again.

    I don’t believe in Peace Negotiation; if your Partner in Peace, wants a “Pound of Flesh” in you…

    Aquino and his administration are just Clueless, like those murdered police/soldiers.
    “Peace at any Price”? What if who you are negotiating, don’t want Peace…

    1. @ See Bee:

      “Know thyself, and know your enemies…a thousand battles…a thousand victories….from the great Chinese military strategist: Sun Tzu (Art of War)…

      All they do is learn from the Sri Lankan Military…how they defeated the Tamil Tigers…

      Or from the Russian Military, how they defeated the Checkniyan Rebels…

      We need good Field Commanders, to lead their troops. Not Desk Commanders, or ass lickers…whose purpose is to be promoted and get rich…

      1. All they do is learn from the Sri Lankan Military…how they defeated the Tamil Tigers…

        Or from the Russian Military, how they defeated the Checkniyan Rebels…
        ========
        But is that – to defeat – the objective of gov’t. against the rebels?

        Aren’t we in fact talking and negotiating with them?

  7. roxas, do not spin the mind of the pilipinos. you should question why there is a equivocation on purissimas’ resignation. are you the one to continue what pnoy started? we all know you are a yellow.

  8. This came upon us so that we may RETHINK and DOUBT the sincerity of the second party and ask the crucial question: What is the benefit of negotiating peace with terrorists? If the proposed Bangsamoro basic law is sealed and approved by Philippine Congress, then it would take a bloody war to undo it. At the cost of our blood we suffer because its always “damn if we do and damn if we don’t” accede with the terrorists.

  9. Well I give up, reading a bunch of major pro-war comments here and from other topics(comments) gives me the notion that I’ll probably never see eye to eye with most of them.

    I have yet seen someone with pro-war sentiments here (well except for some select few), give an option that is viable in our current situation. They just want war because they think its an easier approach to the problem, and probably just want it because it sounds cool. Some of them even wants a call for mass genocide. (really?)

    If I were to put them in a stereotype, then they are a group of people who are emotional, does not think rationally, who likes a gun-ho approach and does not think the consequences of their action. It might not be necessarily true for all but hey that’s what stereotypes are for!

    I just hope they join the military or the PNP, and put their internet warriors spirit into use. Who knows, they might actually get the dream of an all out war and at the same time be deployed, that’s like killing 2 birds with 1 stone!

    I don’t like BBL, it really does give a dangerous precedent. But throwing the negotiation card altogether to the bin and opting for war is just plain looney. The only time where I could justify war is when the offending party cannot be reasoned to like ISIS, BIFF and the radical muslims.

    Diplomacy is not about being subservient on any one’s party, its a balancing act where both parties tries to meet midway on what is considered as the best outcome.

    P.S. I could not think of anywhere to rant so I just posted it here XD

  10. The strategy of the government is working but it takes a long time to see the final result. In order to achieve true peace, you must tackle the root cause which is economics. We are actually winning the war albeit there are a lot of setbacks and problems that are happening. And it is really slow… and I mean slow as maybe a baranggay liberated every year.

    Slowly but surely, the government is injecting progress and development in Mindanao. For every baranggay that became progressive, the rebels lose their grip over it. For every negotiated peace with the “terrorist”, we buy more time to inject progress in a baranggay. True, this is not fast and hardcore as war but the government is trying to win the war of attrition. Right now, the rebels are too strong to be fought in a war with their strength equal or near our army’s. There is a right time for a total war against the rebels but this is not the time for it.

    1. I think you overlook the reason why we have a problem with Muslims in Mindanao. It’s not about economic, it’s about self-governance; self-autonomy. The Muslims want their own space in Mindanao to run and govern by them in accordance with their faith. That’s the rallying cry of every rebel group that aspired to speak for the Muslims in the country.

      We should not even be talking about ‘winning the war’ because it is out of the equation. No, there’s no parity in military or arms strength. The government can take all the rebels in Mindanao combined anytime. The only thing preventing that is we don’t want bloodbath on our hands.

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