RealNews

U.S. troops to be under Philippine command

A year ago, the Pentagon sent some 1,000 U.S. soldiers to the Philippines to help that military battle the Abu Sayyaf guerilla group. It was not without trepidation. Despite the declared war on terrorism, some officials in the Defense Department were hesitant to accept the mission. The two sides struck a middle ground: U.S. forces would train and support the Philippine armed forces but not engage in combat. One year later, that caution is gone. The Pentagon last week announced its intention to send close to 2,000 U.S. military personnel to the southern Philippines where they would fight Abu Sayyaf directly. Philippine resistance, however, has replaced U.S. reticence. In the face of protests and outrage from the Philippine people, the government is putting limits on the U.S. troops. Contradicting the Pentagon announcement of last week, Manila says U.S. troops will only serve in a training and advisory capacity. The Pentagon this week is offering a more nuanced version of its announcement: officials emphasize the way the American troops will be used is up to the Philippine armed forces, as they will direct the mission. They point out, however, that U.S. personnel are no longer under the constraints they once were. Full Story

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