New Casualties From The Forgotten War

The Weekly Standard‘s Max Boot paid these troops a visit last year, and detailed our guy’s efforts in helping put down the MILF (no, seriously, that’s their name!). You can read that article here.

Hey, remember the 4th front on the War On Terror? We’ve got the Middle East, Northern Africa, Here At Home ... and the Phillipines. Remember them? They haven’t made the news hardly at all in years. Come to think of it, neither has that Joint Task Force over in the horn of Africa.

President Bush sent troops there back in 2002. And we haven’t heard a peep since then.

Turns out they’re still there, and still fighting training and advising local forces. And now a couple of them have been killed. Doesn’t it just suck that the only time the troops make the news is when they die?

Two U.S. servicemembers serving with the low-profile U.S. military contingent in the southern Philippines were killed by a roadside bomb on the island of Jolo, a stronghold of Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf.

A U.S. Pacific Command news release said the two servicemembers — described in news reports as Navy Seabees — were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb while conducting a resupply mission for a school construction project. The Seabees are the first American combat deaths in the Philippines in nearly seven years. A Filipino marine was also reportedly killed.

Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines has only around 600 personnel, and they are limited to training missions ... and civil affairs projects.

… nationalist sensitivities are a major issue in the Philippines. The U.S. troops are not supposed to do any fighting — except in self-defense — but the local press has raised allegations that the Americans have defied the rules of engagement and engaged in direct combat.

MANILA, Philippines – Two American soldiers and a Filipino Marine were killed when an improvised explosive device went off in Sulu province Tuesday morning, the military said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr. confirmed the incident past noon, about an hour after a ranking military officer first informed Dateline Philippines of the attack.

This is the first confirmed incident of American casualties in an attack in the southern Philippines, where the US maintains a 600-man contingent that officially provides local troops with technical assistance in the anti-terrorism campaign.

Sulu police director Senior Superintendent Alibuddin Esmail named the slain Americans as Staff Sergeant Jack Martin and Sergeant 1st Class Christopher Shaw. The Filipino was named only as a Private First Class Estrada.

In a statement issued by the US embassy hours after the incident, Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney said the slain soldiers “lost their lives serving others and we will always be grateful for their contributions to improve the quality of life on Jolo.”

The incident comes in the wake of fresh allegations that the American troops, who are deployed in the country’s south as part of the Visiting Forces Agreement, have been engaged in actual combat operations in violation of the defense pact and the Philippine Constitution.

Recently, the American presence in Sulu also came under fire after US troops opened fire in Jolo, Sulu, hitting a mosque, as they reacted to what they perceived to be a grenade attack.

“This is the report that we received just this morning (Tuesday). At 8:30 this morning, September 29, there was an IED attack or improvised explosive device attack in front of the Philippine Marine detachment which is...between Luamsing and Kagay barangays, both of Indanan, Sulu. and as a result of this, two Us servicemen were killed, one Philippine Marines were also killed, and two other Philippine Marines (were) wounded,” Brawner said.

If you would like to keep abreast of what our troops are up to over there, they have their own website. Lately they’ve been helping with flood relief, and before that they helped with that capsized ferry rescue. Prior to that it was the usual, building schools and hospitals, and giving the locals free medical care. Because teh USA is such an imperialistic power you know, out to take over and abuse the entire world.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 09/30/2009 at 03:19 PM   
  1. Drew:

    Good find, and you are damn correct about the Press’ selective consciousness.

    Because teh USA is such an imperialistic power you know, out to take over and abuse the entire world.

    As a rule of thumb, Drew, within the last century, the nations and groups that commit the most appalling crimes in the greatest number tend to be the nations and groups that go out of their way to proclaim “Anti-Imperialism.”

    Can’t say I’m surprised anymore.

    Posted by Turtler    United States   10/01/2009  at  11:41 AM  
  2. All our Troops are to the lamestream media is fodder to use as pathetic dumb children who are so desperate to get a job that they (unknowingly) put their lives on the line for the imperialistic greed and blood lust of the tyrannical right whose only goal is to rule the World by power and greed and bigoted, sexist, homophobic, intolerance or forgotten minions whose life decisions, consequences (i.e. wounding or death) of those decisions have nothing to do with the party who ‘claims’ to be for the little guy - but rather they are a political prop (since they know that the military rules forbid anyone in the military from actually being political) while they cut them down in size, financial support and most importantly - allowing the Public to know exactly what is going on.

    Such was somewhat exposed with the beatdown of McAmnesty in the election and his 100 year remark - go figure not a single Dem would even acknowledge that we’ve been in Germany & Japan (not to mention other places like the Philippines) since the 40s. And that those countries we’ve stayed in - got up off their butts and rebuilt and came into the 21st century - how are Laos, Cambodia and oh yeah Vietnam doing? Not quite as well - but hey America the Imperialistic bad guy isn’t there - so all is well with the Left - never mind the thousands murdered in the Killing Fields or the 3rd century economy and life in the majority of the towns. America isn’t there to corrupt them. Or help them.

    Posted by wardmama4    United States   10/01/2009  at  12:45 PM  
  3. Um, I think we’ve been in the Philippines for over 110 years now, on and off and to various extents. We were fighting the Moros (muslim insurrection) there back in 1899, after we got the area as a war prize from Spain.

    Manila Bay, 1898 - “You may fire when ready, Gridley.”

    Not that we’ve always done a proper job there. It took a very long time for us to start treating the ‘pinos as equals. To this day there’s still a flap about giving their Scouts military benefits and/or pensions from their service in WWII. But to be “fair and balanced” this week we just screwed over the Eskimos who had done a similar kind of thing for us up in Alaska.

    Posted by Drew458    United States   10/01/2009  at  02:44 PM  
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