SLUG: 6-12840 U-S Troops to Philippines
TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP
TITLE=U-S TROOPS TO PHILIPPINES
INTRO: The American press is commenting on the use of United States military forces to fight terrorism in the Philippines and we get a sampling now from V-O-A's____________ in today's U-S Opinion Roundup.
TEXT: The U-S forces, reportedly as many as three thousand Special Forces and Marine support troops, will be used to aid the Philippine military. The target is the Islamic terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf, which has been linked to the al-Qaida network and has been fighting the Philippine military for years. It is one of the most violent of several Muslim groups operating in the predominantly Muslim southern Philippine islands.
In Ohio, The Cincinnati Post is generally supportive of the U-S military plans to aid the Philippines
VOICE: Last year, 13-hundred U-S troops trained and advised the Filipino army in a successful operation to end Abu Sayyaf's campaign of killings and kidnappings on the island of Basilan. Under the rules of engagement, the American advisers could only fire in self-defense. Now, the remnants of Abu Sayyaf, about 200 or so, have decamped to [nearby] Jolo [Island], and the Philippine government has asked for American help in clearing them out of that island too.
. U-S military support for the Philippines can be justified on several grounds - - as support for a friendly democracy with whom we have long standing historical ties and as part of a broader war on terrorism.
TEXT: Excerpts from a Cincinnati Post editorial. California's Los Angeles Times, on the other hand, is adamantly opposed to the deployment and warns of another Vietnam-like quagmire ahead.
VOICE: United States combat troops should not be fighting in the Philippines. Last week, unidentified Defense Department officials said that up to 3-thousand U-S soldiers would do just that. The government of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo promptly issued denials, and on Monday the Filipino foreign secretary . said the .reports "emanate from junior officials who don't know what they are talking about." Let's hope that's true. . The Philippines is not Vietnam . Still, Washington must remember the lessons of that quagmire in expanding trainers' and advisors' missions and increasing their numbers.
TEXT: On the other coast, The New York Post is pleased to see this latest anti-terrorist move.
VOICE: Abu Sayyaf has links with the al-Qaida Islamic terrorist network and claimed responsibility for a horrific bomb attack on the island of Mindanao in April 2002. It wants to turn the Southern Philippines into an Islamic state. Letting U-S forces participate in combat is a major shift in policy by both the American and Filipino governments. .One lesson of Vietnam . was that it is often best to use indigenous forces .against a threat like these local Islamist guerillas
.But sometimes indigenous forces don't have all the tactical skills needed to do the job. A realization by Washington and Manila that this is the case in the Southern Philippines -- plus a new determination to defeat Abu Sayyaf in their jungle hideouts -- likely lies behind this new phase in the war on terror in Asia.
TEXT: Views of The New York Post. Across Manhattan, The Wall Street Journal is also supportive and explains its stance this way.
VOICE: The situation in the southern Philippines certainly justifies a renewed combat role for U-S forces. The Abu Sayyaf terror organization has been disrupting life in that country for years, but evidence has been accumulating since the September 11, 2001, attacks that it also has links to global terrorism, including Iraq and al-Qaida. .A U-S combat role is crucial to the success of this new mission. .Joint U-S-Philippine efforts nearly finished off the terrorists last year, only to see them rebuild after the American withdrawal.
TEXT: That commentary from New York's Wall Street Journal concludes this sampling of opinion on sending U-S troops to the Southern Philippines to help that country's military fight Abu Sayyaf guerillas.
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