Someone should tell the Democratic presidential candidates who indicated they don't believe there is a Global War on Terror (including John Edwards) about this success against jihadis in the Philippines:
A wanted poster printed four years ago has half of the 24 portraits crossed out. Seven of the suspected terrorists are dead, the other five in custody.
And the hunt continues apace: Philippine troops, often guided from above by U.S. Predator drones, have the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group almost constantly on the run and suffering steady losses.
Meanwhile, a sustained U.S. military presence has fostered a long-missing sense of security across Mindanao, heartland of the Philippines? restive Muslim minority. The wrenching poverty in this sprawling, southern part of the Philippine archipelago has created a rich recruiting ground for extremist groups, and the poverty remains, but there are hopes that U.S.-funded aid projects may make a difference.
Compared to the huge operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-backed effort in the Philippines is tiny, only about 200 troops.
But unlike the other missions, this intervention is generally accepted, even though U.S. interference is an emotional issue in the Philippines, a former American colony.
?They?re really contributing a lot to the overall security,? said Hermogenes Esperon, the Philippine military chief of staff. ?They?ve spent so much for their deployment. We should be reciprocating, but they?re not demanding anything in return but our commitment to work with them in the fight against terrorism.?