Harry is wrong

By Alex P. Vidal

“If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.”—Pearl S. Buck

WHILE watching news on Youtube, I caught former presidential spokesman Harry Roque making a false allusion of two separate historical events that occurred nearly 60 years ago while he was delivering a spiel on SMNI, fugitive pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s TV network recently.

Roque said “we must learn a lesson from the ‘Invasion of Pigs’” when the event he claimed nearly triggered a third world war.

The defeated senatorial candidate was criticizing the Balikatan Exercises, an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and U.S. military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences.

Roque warned that the Philippines could be targeted by China in case a full-scale war erupted because the Americans had stationed a missile launcher in the Philippine soil for the Balikatan.

The same missile launcher issue nearly sparked a third world war, Roque said, in the “invasion of pigs” when the Soviet Union sent it to Cuba.

Was the missile launcher delivered to Havana really the cause of enmity that nearly sparked a third world war? The answer is yes.

Was it an “invasion of pigs” as what Roque had declared? The answer is no.

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ERROR NO. 1: There is no such animal as “invasion of pigs.” What Roque probably meant was the “Bay of Pigs Invasion” which occurred on April 17-20, 1961.

It was a failed military landing operation on the southwestern coast of Cuba by Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF), consisting of Cuban exiles who opposed Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution, clandestinely financed and directed by the U.S. government. The operation took place at the height of the Cold War, and its failure influenced relations between Cuba, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

It had nothing to do whatsoever with the missile launcher crisis that nearly triggered a third world war that Roque was commenting.

ERROR NO. 2: The event related to that controversial missile launcher was known as “Cuban Missile Crisis” which occurred October 16-29, 1962, or more than a year after the “Bay of Pigs Invasion.” It was not an “Invasion of Pigs” as Roque had claimed.

The United States and the Soviet Union came as close as they ever would to global nuclear war in the fall of 1962. Hoping to correct what he saw as a strategic imbalance with the United States, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev began secretly deploying medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

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Once operational, these nuclear-armed weapons could have been used on cities and military targets in most of the continental United States. Before this happened, however, U.S. intelligence discovered Khrushchev’s brash maneuver.

In what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy and an alerted and aroused American government, military, and public compelled the Soviets to remove not only their missiles, but also all of their offensive weapons, from Cuba.

Khrushchev, faced with the armed might of the United States and its allies, had little choice but to find some way out of the difficult situation in which he had placed himself and his country. President Kennedy did not press the advantage that the strength of U.S. and allied naval and military forces gave him.

Thus, the Soviet leader was able to peacefully disengage his nation from this most serious of Cold War confrontations.

A missile launcher, also known as a rocket launcher or warhead launcher, is a weapon that fires a high-speed projectile with an explosive warhead.

Missile launchers can be small enough for a single person to use, or large enough to be built into starships. They can be handheld and portable, or mounted on a vehicle.

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WE CAN’T DEPEND ON LEADERS WITH WEAK CHARACTER. Man’s permanent value rests upon his dependability.

The first question asked is, “Can we depend upon this person?”

A man may be clever, capable and agreeable, but if you cannot depend upon him, you do not want him around.

To be dependable, we must be dependable in all things—little and big—at all times, in all places, under all circumstances.

We cannot be dependable if we have weak character and a weak will.

The dependable man keeps as straight in the dark as in the light. We know that wherever he is put, he will not lie, he will not steal, he will not cheat, he will not do any mean or contemptible thing.

LOVE THY SELF. The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe—Dr. Deepak Chopra.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)

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