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There’s a way to win wars without fighting

/ 12:54 AM October 09, 2013

On Sept. 28, 2013, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin declared that the military’s mission in Zamboanga City had been accomplished. The mission was to rescue and ensure the safety of the 194 hostages (“Mission accomplished,” 9/28/13). The military mission took almost 20 days to accomplish, left hundreds dead and injured, and devastated the city, driving more than 100,000 Zamboangueños from their homes into various evacuation centers, many of them with their houses burned.

Surely, there must have been a better way to “rescue and ensure the safety of the hostages.”  The “hostage-takers” were members of the Moro National Liberation Front. But we cannot dismiss this organized group of Muslims as merely criminal elements. They may have nonnegotiable demands, but they also have some very legitimate ones. A ceasefire could have shortened the firefight and lessened the damage caused by the conflict. Besides, peace talks can help us find a lasting solution to the Moro problem.

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As Sun Tzu, author of the oldest and most successful book on military strategy, stated, “…to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

—JULIE L. PO, Linangan ng Kulturang Pilipino, [email protected]

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TAGS: Sun Tzu, the Moro National Liberation Front, Voltaire gazmin, Zamboanga City, Zamboangueños
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