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Editor's Desk // Letters
Don Chapman

Letters To The Editor

More to Billy

Great job on the Billy V. cover story. A perfect example for all of us about following what you love and working hard at it.

What wasn’t reported, and you’d probably never hear it from Billy because of his humble nature, but he is also a member of the Rotary Club of Waikiki. He’s involved in his community and internationally in areas other than his profession.

As president of the Waikiki Rotary, I am proud to serve alongside such a compassionate and accomplished human.

Of course, I will have to fine him $10 at our next meeting for having his name appear in print. If you publish this letter, I’ll also have to fine myself, but it will be worth it.

Mo Radke
Kaneohe

Obama’s danger

I should have been quicker in responding to Jerry Coffee’s “Obama: Danger to U.S.” column. He is so on the money.

What amazes me and my friends is that so many people are oblivious to what’s happening around them. When I saw the letters to the editor, I had to write and thank you for your original article.

I hope the letter writer who was “dismayed at your context and tone” regarding Obama not upholding and defending the Constitution, etc., comes to his senses rather soon.

But I’m not holding my breath waiting – there are too many like him out there.

Cindi Flating
Honolulu

Flawed facts

I read Bob Jones’ column “America’s Shame In The Philippines,” and would like to share some of my concerns regarding what appear to be egregious inaccuracies.

While Mr. Jones recalls the Philippine-American War 1899-1902, “which should haunt us through history,” and while he uses Teddy Roosevelt’s theme of the Awakening of the Americas, he alleges that around 1890, “We good Americans who had demanded freedom from England” suddenly decided we’d need colonies. Where did he get that information? The Philippine event was a residual of the Spanish-American War (remember Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and San Juan Hill?) and not an independent war against the Philippines. We won the war and inherited the Philippines as our first colony ever, i.e., since we had won the war and the Philippines was now a protectorate. If you’ve ever read the book Little Brown Brother, you’d realize that Americans weren’t in a colonial mood at all, but other countries such as Russia, Japan, Germany, China, and the Dutch would be willing to “take over” and free us of our burden. But when one looks at the results of their colonizations in India, Indonesia, etc., one soon learns that simply releasing the Philippines to another country could only lead to dire results. On the other hand, there was a group of Filipinos appropriately known as Insurrectos. Mr. Jones also conveniently overlooks that the Insurrectos in Samar, Leyte and others were Muslims, and the relationship between them and other Filipinos was very similar to that which exists in Afghanistan today.

Having said that, Mr. Jones seems to imply that we felt all Filipinos at that time were savages once again, conveniently overlooking that the Philippines had been colonized by the Spanish in the 1500s, were 200 years older than the United States, many of their children traveled to Spain for education (and in Manila, many spoke English very well), had banks and medical schools – hardly savages, and certainly not looked at that way. As far as wealth, don’t forget at that time the “Manila Galleons” carrying gold and silver from the Philippines to Acapulco to be carried across Mexico to Vera Cruz and then sent via “Spanish Galleons” to Spain. Americans treated the educated Filipinos as well or better than had the Spanish, hence the relationship.

The photograph of a Filipino insurrectionist being executed appears to be flawed. Firstly, Americans did not use the garrote, which was a torture device (ending in death) from the Spanish Inquisition, and in the photo it is being administered by a Filipino in uniform, presumably an officer.

If one carefully reads the book Little Brown Brother (and others), one will note because of all that was happening, even The New York Times at that time admitted that while the Americans did not want a colony in Asia, but because of what would occur by releasing the colony and subsequent overthrow by other interested and truly cruel colonizers of those countries that it became “Americans’ responsibility to save our little brown brothers.”

Finally because of the relationship established in the ensuing years between the Americans and the Filipinos, the Japanese during the Second World War invasion realized that these people were too western-thinking (even in Samar and Leyte) to ever be reincorporated into Asia, hence their brutality. As a matter of fact, the liberation of Manila by the Americans caused more damage to that city than any other city of the Second World War other than Warsaw, Poland. Nevertheless, for very good reasons, the Filipinos stood behind us, beside us, and are still with us today.

Jack H. Scaff Jr.,
M.D., F.A.C.S.M.

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI, 96813, or to dchapman@midweek.com.

Letters may be edited for clarity and space.

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