Courtesy Reuters

On October 18, 2003, President George W. Bush stood before the Philippine Congress and declared that the Philippines and the United States are "bound by the strongest ties that two nations can share." The statement was not just the sort of rhetorical flourish that often dominates a U.S. leader's address to a former colony. The long-simmering Muslim separatist rebellion in the southern Philippines has been identified as a critical battle in the war on terror, and the Philippine government has become a key U.S. ally as a result.

In January 2002, 600 U.S. soldiers were sent to support Philippine forces fighting

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