Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pinoy Gurkhas in Iraq

ABS CBN reporter Jay Ruiz scored a major scoop with his story about Filipinos working as mercenaries for the U.S. forces in Iraq. The Filipinos mercenaries were said to be recruited from Dubai and are receiving salaries of $2,000 a month, with experienced soldiers and former policemen supposedly getting more. Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, many Filipinos would kill for the opportunity to earn $2,000 a month (that’s roughly P100,000 a month), literally and figuratively.

It seems that the Americans have finally found their own Gurkhas in Filipinos. Gurkhas are Nepalese nationals who serve as soldiers in the British Regular Army. They have their own division in the British Army, the “Brigade of Gurkhas,” which have seen action and served with distinction in almost every war that the British fought in since their Empire Days. The Gurkhas are famed for their valor in combat and their fierce loyalty to the British. As proof of their striking loyalty to the British, the Gurkha Brigade suffered tremendous losses (327 casualties out of their total strength of 490) during the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58. Despite their staggering 67% casualty rate, the Gurkhas were able to hold the Hindu Rao's house, a key British position which was under continuous fire from the mutineers for over three months. Aside from being exceptional soldiers, Gurkhas are also relatively cheap to maintain since they are paid below the salary scale of white soldiers. But despite this, the Gurkha Brigade never lacks for enlistees because in a poor country like Nepal, a son or husband serving in the Gurkha Brigade is seen as a sure-fire way to escape a life of poverty.

The Filipino mercenaries have striking similarities with the Gurkhas. Like the Gurkhas, Filipinos also are fierce warriors, extremely loyal to Americans and relatively cheap to maintain. I saw the video footages of ABS CBN featuring the Filipino mercenaries and I can tell (despite their blurred/blotted out faces) that they are all content and happy. I can see that they are well-equipped with the latest weapons and all are even wearing bullet-proof vests. It is apparent from the footages that they are better armed, better paid and better supplied than our own Armed Forces here. Given the right officers and proper motivation, those Filipino mercenaries can do the enemy a lot of damage in Iraq.

But a question comes to my mind. Who is funding these Filipino mercenaries? Has the U.S. government declared it their official policy to recruit foreign nationals to “protect” their troops? I smell CIA. Actually, it’s quite funny to hear that U.S. soldiers (said to be the most modern in the world) are in need of protection. Soldiers in need of protection? Don’t they have guns? This is the first time I heard of such a thing.

I surmise that the Filipinos are being used for outer perimeter defense or “pambala sa kanyon” (cannon fodder) in Iraq. Securing and maintaining control over a large country like Iraq requires a huge occupation army. The Americans must be finding it hard to secure the entire Iraqi territory with the limited number of U.S. ground forces personnel deployed there. President Bush must be finding it hard to convince Congress to send more troops to Iraq in lieu of the rising body-count of dead American G.I.s. Iraq is becoming too costly politically for the Republicans, that is why they are resorting to more “imaginative” ways of procuring troops for their dirty, oily war in Iraq.

I remember back when the CPP/NPA was still at its peak, our own Armed Forces adopted a similar doctrine to contain communist penetration of the countryside by forming paramilitary forces (CHDF and CAFGU). The AFP deployed the CHDF and CAFGU as a local militia in the remote countryside villages to act as their “early warning device.” Without a doubt, the CHDF/CAFGUs were very effective in containing the NPA and their armed presence prevented many hamlets from being infiltrated by Communist cadres. Unfortunately, the human rights record of these paramilitary groups were atrocious, so much so that the AFP were forced to collapse them.

So, how should we look upon these Filipino mercenaries? I’ve carefully considered this question and have come to this conclusion: I say, leave them be. Let them work as mercenaries and earn for their families. I hate to say it but I have developed this perverse view that it is better for Filipinos to be known as adventurers-for-hire and ferocious mercenaries rather than as pliant domestic helpers and meek caregivers. Having seen so many of our OFWs maltreated, raped and killed by foreigners, I somehow feel pleased to learn that some of our OFWs are “wolves” and not all, after all, are sheep.


Ilongo sa Amerika said...

The recruiters of Filipino Mercenaries are the private security contractors providing securities to non-combatant elements of the occupying forces and some NGOs and diplomatic personnel to relieve the "troops" for their main duties. The biggest security contractor The Blackwater security service is already a known entity. It could fill up the job here and from nearby countries such as Mexico and some other latin countries just as cheap, but the prefer the filipinos because of their work ethics and Loyaty to the Americans. Many in the country damm the U.S., but I'll bet my bottom dollar that given the chance, majority of Pinoy would rather live and serve uncle Sam and that's including going to War. Better than killing each other in the unending useless war within the country.

Anonymous said...

Blackwater USA even has training facility now in Subic Bay. Ex-cops, militaries and security personnel are definitely falling in line to try their luck, a whopping 2,000 to 3,000 US Dollars of monthly pay awaits them once they passed training and deployed in Iraq and other Middle-East hotspots. I have a couple of friends training and I'm planning to also in the near future.

Auckland movers said...

Farkin Idiots!

Any Pinoy that fights stupidly is an idiot!

Money will make a fool out of any man on judgment day!

Fight only for your family or you country.

only then will you see God with a clear conscience and heart.