A Terror War Success Story

Time for some good news in the war. In the Philippines, there's been success against a Jihadist entity called Abu Sayyaf which captured three American hostages in May 2001 and threatened the Philippine government. My new colleague, Mark Bowden, has a cover-story in the new Atlantic on this under-reported victory, a victory that might be very helpful in figuring out how to win the war in the coming years:

Eliminating [Aldam Tilao, the group's leading figure and spokesperson] was a small, early success in what the Bush administration calls the "global war on terror," but in the shadow of efforts like the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it went largely unnoticed. As a model for the long-term fight against militant Islam, however, the hunt for Tilao is better than either of those larger engagements. Because the enemy consists of small cells operating independently all over the globe, success depends on local intelligence and American assistance subtle enough to avoid charges of imperialism or meddling, charges that often provoke a backlash and feed the movement.

Bowden is interviewed about his report here.