TURNING POINT: Fighting Terrorism

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/06 Sept.) — My family joins the civilized world in condemning the monstrous bombing of innocent civilians in Davao City. We grieve with the families of the fallen victims and share the pain and uncertainties of the injured and their loved ones. In some degree we have all become victims of terrorism. We need to pray for our deliverance from the trying times.

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Terrorists are all of the same kind: they are all brazen cowards. They attack the most vulnerable in the community, whose only security is their trust and faith in the goodness of fellow humans, who are in no position to strike back at them. They inflict such harm like blasting their defenseless target to smithereens, torturing, even burning or mutilating them while the victims are still even alive in the full view of other victims, all aimed to sow fear and panic to all and sundry.

You cannot defeat terrorists by conventional war strategies. Terrorists are very mobile target and easily blend and disappear into the community. Unleashing attack helicopters, war tanks, waves and waves of armed personnel would inflict heavy casualty on the invading force rather than on the target. The zooms and rumblings of war machines betray the invaders and prepare the terrorists for the encounter. They could ready an ambush for slow moving soldiers whose huge number makes them very easy target. The shock and awe strategy is only good in movies. It means nothing in hit-and- run combat, the game of most terrorists like the ASG we all know play.

Terror is the only antidote for terror. Terrorists should be fought they way they fight but in much better fashion. Not an infantry but a highly trained commando force is needed to hunt and pursue them like rabbits wherever they may scamper. If a number is captured they should be treated in the same manner they treat their victims, or much more to paralyze in fear the survivors in the run.

The rule of engagement with terrorist is the doctrine of “lex talionis,” an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” There is no other way.

Are terrorists entitled to the protocols on armed conflicts of the Geneva Conventions?

Evidently not. Terrorists the world over violate every tenet of international law. They deliberately attack noncombatants or defenseless civilian population, do not protect and provide minimum care for their captives or hostages but instead brutally treat them by any means possible.

Moreover, no terrorist group is party to the Geneva Conventions. They have not signed, much less ratified those treaties. Terrorists and their network all over the world have flagrantly spurn the letter and spirit of international treaties designed to ameliorate the cruelty of war.

Do terrorists enjoy protection under the international law on human rights?

It is doubtful because terrorists have long ceased to be humans; they have become wild beasts. A tiger which attacked a human community, mauled, clawed and chewed to death its victims need not live another day to inflict more damage to the community. It has to be hunted without let up, trapped and butchered without pity once captured. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan is retired professor and former chancellor of the  Mindanao State University Naawan campus, Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)(Mindaviews is the opinion section of mindanews. William R. Adan is retired professor and former chancellor of the  Mindanao State University Naawan campus, Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)