Docena, Herbert. UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE: Are US Special Forces engaged in an ‘offensive war’ in the Philippines? 2007. Focus on the Global South. Quezon City, Philippines.

Unconventional Warfare by Herbert Docena: Book Review.

Herbert Docena at WSF, 2007. Photo © Theresa Wolfwood.

Canada shares with the Philippines the dubious distinction of not having foreign military bases. But Canadians know that, from Nanoose Bay on the Pacific to Cold Lake Alberta, to Goose Bay in Labrador, the USA and other NATO countries military make regular, frequent and lengthy use of so-called Canadian bases.

In the Philippines, foreign bases were closed by the post-Marcos constitution and the presence of foreign troops was to be limited to so-called training exercises. Things are not quite so simple and Docena has prepared this report because, “since January 2002, US Special operations Forces (SOFs) have been stationed in the southern Philippines and have not left…” Not only does this report verify the presence and nefarious activities of SOFs but it also makes it clear that civil society must respond on many levels to a local and global danger.

A petition aimed at stopping this deployment “was junked” by the Supreme Court because it did not accept the statement that foreign forces were engaged in an offensive war – it said this had to be proven.

Docena and his colleagues at Focus on Global South have laid out very clearly the positive proof that, indeed, SOFs were and are in a direct military role in the Philippines and they give well–documented evidence to prove their case. Not an easy task – given military secrecy and disregard of democratic right of information of citizens and the well–founded fears of witnesses that if they spoke out they would suffer reprisals.

Unconventional Warfare by Herbert Docena (Phillipines) : Book Review.

These forces are a particular and little known part of the USA´s policy. By their own definition they conduct, “special operations”, those “conducted in hostile, denied or politically sensitive environments” and that require “covert, clandestine or discreet capabilities.” In other words wherever local law or opinion may be unfriendly, SOF are used to maintain the USA imperial aims and to reinforce and to subjugate national governments. If local laws or opinions oppose these forces, as Docena shows, secrecy, deceit and intimidation can be used to overcome such objection to, “unconventional warfare operations in Southern Philippines…to help the Philippine government separate the population form and to destroy the terrorists”. – Col. David Maxwell Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines commander.
Note that in this photo from the report, USA troops & Philippine troops pose in front of a mosque.

Although this is a short document, it is concise and thorough in its mandate to prove the engagement of USA military in the Philippines, its use of chilling quotes from USA military documents show clearly the purpose of its occupation of the Philippines and any other place they might want to go. The report is also of much wider interest to peace activists and investigators everywhere; not just as a model of research and publishing but also in its disturbing content. The report is a warning the world that, as he quotes, “countries that harbour terrorists, either by consent or because they are unable to enforce their laws within their territory, effectively forfeit their rights of sovereignty.” To the USA – it goes without saying; “from conducting war against nations – to conducting war in countries we are not at war with.” Quote from Quadrennial Defense Review, 2006. (QDR).

Docena says, ´As the US embarks on the most radical realignment of its worldwide presence since World War II, the aim, according to the QDR is “to develop a basing system that provides greater flexibility for US forces in critical areas of the world…” Re-establishing it presence in the Philippines is key to deepening US military presence in the region and worldwide…´

This the greater international significance of this violation of Philippine law and sovereignty – which could happen to Canada, Venezuela or Iran at anytime – is that, the world´s only super power gives itself the right to interfere and intervene anywhere on earth it sees fit. As the US embarks on more and more economic, political and military incursions everywhere, this report alerts us to one possibility and also concludes with possible action to end and prevent this bullying power from continuing.

The answer to the title question is a resounding YES.

(Available in print or PDF on this website: www.focusweb.org)

Filed under Book Reviews, Herbert Docena