HAWAII'S ONLY WEEKLY FILIPINO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER
SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
APRIL 15, 2017
CANDID PERSPECTIVES

Trump Sees the Light but Is Gabbard Blinded by Syria?

Why So Little to Commemorate a Real War Crime in Bataan?

by Emil GUILLERMO

Before we talk about the war crime that is Bataan Death March, I must ask about the unofficial war crime in Syria and how it’s effecting Rep. Tulsi Gabbard D-Hawaii.

When it comes to Syria, Gabbard’s marching to a totally different beat from official Washington, and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

But maybe it is if--you want to replace her.

The word in Washington is that something is wrong with Gabbard, and it’s beyond whether she should have met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in January. They’re wondering if he got the best of her.

Gabbard has brought it on by being so very cautious to condemn Assad for the recent gas attacks in Northern Syria, the one that produced those pictures that made Donald Trump a cruise missile humanitarian.

Trump seemed willing to threaten his “bromance” with Putin.

Gabbard doesn’t seem willing to threaten whatever relationship she developed with Assad.

She’s the only prominent voice all too willing to give the Syrian dictator the benefit of the doubt.

But among Democrats and Republicans that the finger points directly to Assad.

Gabbard’s restraint is very cagy. She’s against the war. And she hates the use of chemical weapons.  She just wants more evidence before she commits.

You can’t fault someone for wanting to see proof right? Thought Trump doesn’t worry much about that.

As one Twitter wag joked, if it wasn’t Assad, maybe it could have been the North Koreans. After all, they have chemical weapons.

Clearly something’s up. And people have started calling Gabbard an apologist or worse. Those on the left, like Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress challenged Hawaii residents to replace her.

“People of Hawaii’s 2nd district,” Tanden tweeted. “Was it not enough for you that your rep met with a murderous dictator? Will this move you?”

To what?

Put up someone to go after Gabbard in the next primary, of course.

I’ve always found Gabbard to be unpredictable in a good way. She was a military vet for Sanders and not Clinton. But that “peace mission” to meet with Assad took her from Sanders left to who knows where? She’s alienated the DC Left, and she’s not exactly swamp right.

Only the Russians right now are saying Assad wasn’t responsible, saying that some rebel group set up the gas attack  to create a pre-text for American strikes.

Meanwhile, Trump and Tillerson are certain Russia is at least behind a coverup of Syria’s involvement.

And while they argue, it all matters more to Hawaii than you think.

So, who do you want District 2?

The long knives are ready to come out for Gabbard. But is there anyone in Hawaii on the Democratic side who will or can challenge her? A Filipino?

Bataan Death March

If you mention the Bataan Death March, people nod like they know it.

Maybe from the John Wayne movie. Or from someone mentioning it in passing. For sure, they know the three words. It was in Bataan. And men died while marching.

Oh yeah, it happened during World War II. A long time ago.

Now it’s nearly forgotten.

This year in California, the move is just about complete to make sure there’s something in at least the high school history curriculum about the Bataan Death March.

Maybe the same should happen in Hawaii.

It’s important that all Filipinos know a little something about it.

But on the weekend after Donald Trump showed the world how emotional he was seeing the “beautiful babies” suffer from Bashar al-Assad’s gas attack on his own people, I don’t recall seeing the Trumpster pause to remember April 9, 1942.

Palm Sunday 2017 may have started Holy Week.

75 years ago, it started a week of hell.

There’s no debate over this:  The Bataan Death March was a horrific atrocity, judged a war crime that convicted General Masaharu Homma of the Japanese Royal Army by execution.

He was the man behind the march that marks the largest surrender of U.S. forces in history. It was the end of the U.S Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) defense of the Bataan peninsula in World War II.

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