Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IED Blast Kills Two US Navy Men, One RP Marine in Southern Philippines

[via GMA TV News] It has been reported by AFP spokesperson Lt. Co. Romeo Brawner,  and confirmed by the US Embassy in Manila that two US Navy personnel and a Philippine Marine have been killed by the blast of an IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE detonated along a roadway as their convoy was making its way to a construction project site in Indanan, Sulu in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.  The identities of all three killed in the attack have been withheld.

The two American fatalities are the first killed since US troops have been deployed under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) to the southern Philippines.  They have been engaged in training, support and civic works  to help combat the  Abu Sayyaf Group, which has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S., the U.K., the E.U. and the UN Security Council.   The ASG has inflicted years of terrorist atrocities on all Filipinos: Muslim, Christian and otherwise, in the form of kidnappings-for-ransom-and propaganda, murderous rampages and rape of hostages, bombings, beheadings and mayhem.  

At the same time, the Philippine Senate led by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago,  has just passed a resolution calling upon President Gloria Arroyo to serve notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement if the U.S. won't renegotiate the VFA. 

I don't think however, that we ought to let the vital mutual security interests of the Philippines and the United States become a hostage to Maid Miriam's political plans in 2010.  She has never impressed me with her much-vaunted "foreign policy expertise" considering what a mess she made of China-RP relations during the ZTE NBN fiasco with her hare-brained comments about the Chinese inventing corruption.  Her understanding of the terrorist problem we face is underwhelming to say the least. I'm only  glad that at least for now, Sen. Santiago does not have a decisive influence upon our foreign policy. 

She's been sharpening her knives for the Visiting Forces Agreement however, ever since the Subic Rape Case unreeled and then imploded.  But given that the Philippine government is unable to provision its own Armed Forces with ammunition and fuel, and is perpetually dependent on American largesse for the bare necessities of the national defense, that Senate Resolution deserves to be given short-shrift.  

SOURCE: Philippine Commentary

6 comments:

manuelbuencamino said...

The war in the south has obviously entered a new phase. US servicemen are targets now. The US has to make a decision, will it continue to expose its troops to the ASG/JI/MNLF/MILF or will it start firing back?

I don't understand this hilaw involvement of the US in Mindanao. It reminds me of the military advisers in Vietnam before the US became a combatant.

I favor a review of the VFA insofar as we have to decide exactly what sort of role we want the Americans to play in Mindanao. We've been playing word games all this time.

Do we want them to be actively involved as combatants in the war? Yes or No.

Do we want them only to build infrastructure and to supply armaments, medicines, and intelligence? Yes or No.

Anonymous said...

Manuel,

What is this, Do we want them to do this or that? This and that, as you very well know, can not be because what counts, the reality of the whole thingy is, What they want us to do!

Let's face it - we need the Americans and their dollars. Where else will our politicians get money to fill their already deep pockets? Where will our militant students get juicy issues to allow themselves to be used? Etc, etc, etc.

We are not that tough and our politicians are for sale. The Americans know this better than we know ourselves.

Let's not kid ourselves. Lets admit our limitations and perhaps we can negotiate an honest to goodness practical agreement.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

MB, My answer is: YES. They should be involved actively in hunting down the ASG and bringing them to Justice. The Constitution allows us to grant them that permission. I favor a Law and Order Approach with no hypocrisy about the need for military might and intel sufficient to firmly establish the Rule of Law. How that is to be done: peacefully or forcefully, is largely a function of those opposing it.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

No shame in being PRACTICAL, Anon.

manuelbuencamino said...

Anonymous,

I meant let's figure out what we ant for ourselves first and then let's see what we can get.

manuelbuencamino said...

DJ,

The reason why I wrote ASG/MNLF/MILF is because we know that the ASG is not acting alone. Recall that the ambush where troops pursinh ASG were fired upon by MILF. That was not an isolated case.

So if the US engages the ASG, it will necessarily have to confront the MNLF and the MILF. What then?

I'm trying to find parameters here so that we can evaluate the VFA and decide what to do with it.