in Marginalia

O’ Rourke on dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the amount of money he and his cronies stole

Republican Party Reptile

According to Newsweek, American and Philippine economists estimate that [former president Ferdinand] Marcos and pals shipped as much as $20 billion out of the country. We’re not talking about Michele Duvalier’s fur collection. Twenty billion dollars is more than half the Philippine gross domestic product, enough money to turn the archipelago into Hong Kong II. By comparison, total US aid to the Philippines since independence in 1946 has been less than $4 billion.

Reporters who do duty in the third world spend a lot of time saying, “It’s not that simple.” We say, “It’s not that simple about the Israelis and the PLO,” or “It’s not that simple about the contras and the Sandinistas.” But in the Philippines, it was that simple. It was simpler than that. Ferdinand Marcos is human sewage, an evil old power-addled flaming Glad Bag, a vicious lying dirtball who ought to have been dragged through the streets of Manila with his ears nailed to a truck bumper.

— From Guns, Goons, and Gold, a piece about the 1986 presidential elections published in Rolling Stone Magazine in April 1986 and compiled in Republican Party Reptile: The Confessions, Adventures, Essays, and (Other) Outrages of P. J. O’Rourke. [See: P. J. O’ Rourke in Manila folder]