"In spite of the fact that the reasons she cited for supporting the war has been proven to be lies — there are no weapons of mass destruction and Saddam, while a terrible dictator had no links to terrorists — it’s incredible that Arroyo can still say that war is ‘good’ with a straight face," Corazon Fabros of the ISC said.
Arroyo had earlier told the Foreign Correspondents Association in a press forum last October 25 that, regardless of the issues surrounding it, the war on Iraq has been "beneficial" for the Philippines.
"She should say that to the more than 15,000 Iraqis and the 1,000 American soldiers who have been killed in vain for this war. Instead of telling them that the war is good, the President should be apologizing to them," Fabros said.
The ISC pointed out that Arroyo is increasingly being isolated on her position on the war.
"Even the majority of the Americans now think that the war was a mistake," noted Herbert Docena of Focus on the Global South, a policy research center. He cited a CNN/USA Today/Gallup showing that 54% of Americans think it was wrong to send US troops to Iraq."
Docena said that the best people to ask whether the Iraq war is good would be the Iraqis themselves since this war was supposed to ‘liberate’ them. "Unfortunately, thousands of them can’t speak from the grave," Docena said.
"Of those who can speak, 80% said they want the US and other coalition forces to leave immediately," Docena said, referring to a June survey conducted by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies. "If this war is good, as Arroyo insists, then shouldn’t the Iraqis themselves say that they want the invaders to stay?"
The ISC called the President na?ve for suggesting that the legality of the Iraq war was "for international courts to decide, if there is ever such a court." The ISC pointed out that there is indeed such a court — the International Court of Justice — but the US withdrew from it after the court judged that the US’ intervention in Nicaragua in 1980s was illegal.
Disputing the President’s claim that the war has been beneficial to the Philippines, the ISC stressed that the war in fact continues to endanger the lives of the 6,000 Filipino workers in Iraq. "If our Filipino workers were invited by a truly sovereign Iraqi government — instead of by occupation forces — then they would be safer and there would even be more employment opportunities there," Fabros added.
"It’s a shame that Arroyo has no qualms about benefiting from other people’s suffering," Fabros said.
"The only ones who still think this war is good are the ones making lots of money from it," pointed out Millette Morante of Kilusang Pambansang Demokrasya, an ISC member. "Arroyo belongs to the crowd of Halliburton and Bechtel — big politically connected multinational corporations who got billion-dollar contracts from Iraq — who find the war good because it is good for their pockets."
"Praising the war is also good for the Arroyo personally because it’s her way of trying to reconcile with the US after her decision to withdraw Philippine troops from Iraq," Morante said.#