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column-teddy locsin-free firePRESIDENT Ramos told Karen Davila that one commission of inquiry is enough; not 5 at the latest count; hilong-hilo na ang sundalo. Right.

I don’t believe in any commission; better a free for all; no compulsion to appear; no compulsion to lie to get back at politicians. Truth is the daughter of time and it will be born.

Ramos gave 10 reasons the massacre happened:

  1. It was conducted like a fire drill but in a real conflagration. You can learn on the job but in battle you will die doing it.
  2. If Purisima called the shots, said Ramos, that’s okay. That’s his job. But the president should not follow him without clearing it with Espina in the Army. Right. I have no doubt Purisima was around but I doubt he called the shots during the operation. He was the architect of the operation; suspension did not change that advantage.
  3. The chain of command pertains to the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He has a right to insist that the chain of command be followed but he must respect it himself. But he did that; he respected the chain of command from top to bottom, and thereby relied on the assumed expertise of his commanders. Big mistake. During a coup however, ignore the chain of command, that’s my experience
  4. Unity of command. PNP and AFP are one force whose combined or separate reach is national; that reach cannot be shortened by negotiators. Two things will never change: we have one country and war is men’s work. Even Condoleeza Rice, the leading expert on the Soviet military, would never have presumed to second-guess tactical requirements.
  5. Coordination is not just talking, said President Ramos; you must have a plan, a policy, and implementation. Noy had all that but the operation that dropped Bin Laden, Zero Dark 30, was rehearsed repeatedly before it was a go. Where do you rehearse in a small country where everybody talks? I do not believe the MILF woke up to the sound of gunfire; they had massed in huge numbers, which they seldom do, and they were waiting. Somebody talked. Clausewitz said, War is the continuation of policy by others means. Therefore policy is the bedrock of strategy. What is our policy? It was dictated by 9/11; we go in wherever the war on terror needs us in our territory.
  6. The MILF were never apart of the historic war of secession waged by the MNLF with tactical brilliance and Napoleonic mass. But the Republic beat it. Its leadership joined the democratic process and through free elections came to dominate Muslim Mindanao; the best of them were my mentors in Congress. But Noy wants to turn over the leadership to Hataman and his other chums without the benefit of elections. The MILF just sprouted like mushrooms after a rain.
  7. What is the mission? Destroy the enemy? No, said President Ramos. And Clausewitz said the mission is to destroy the enemy’s will to fight—by beheading the leadership, by killing a fourth, half, as many as it takes until the will is broken.
  8. We are over-dramatizing the bounty, said Ramos. Right. It is offered throughout the world to everyone like us who have joined the war on terror.
  9. Espina should have been informed but Roxas is not in the chain of command, said Ramos. Right. But not telling Mar shows not loss but utter lack of confidence; ditto Volts, one of our most seasoned combat officers.
  10. This is not 100 percent the fault of Napeñas, said Ramos; the fault goes all the way where the buck stops. Sure the buck stops with Noynoy but his refusal to stop operations against terrorists that have been ongoing since 9/11—more often killing the wrong terrorist but what the heck, same, same—shows that it is not his understanding that the peace agreement creates a homeland for terrorism especially foreign terrorism. The peace panel might think it does; they should be asked. The peace process must be reviewed, said Ramos. Right. This operation proves that the Bangsamoro Basic Law assumes that the national government can go in with massive force to enforce the basic laws of the Republic.

And finally, this tragic event will be remembered as the time 44 SAF lost their lives successfully taking out Marwan, a terrorist on the US watch list pursuant to our international obligations, without the benefit of satellite imagery though maybe we did not ask. I remember that we did ask on earlier occasions under previous governments.

Salute a man whose business is war. Oh, by the way, he is not ex-President Ramos; there is no such title in protocol; it is just President. Ex is only for those who regularly had sex with a famous person but no more.

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