Never forget our allies and help when we can

Our government should battle Islamic terrorists wherever they are, of course. But when they assault a people with whom we Americans have had a long friendship, our obligation becomes especially binding.

Most terrorist attacks involve individuals or small groups of murderers. But a small army of Islamic militants, perhaps 500 strong, is attacking Marawi, a city of more than 200,000 people in the Philippines. This is not the typical terrorist hit-and-run attack, but something more like a siege.

President Donald Trump reportedly was monitoring the situation Thursday. Whether Philippine officials had requested assistance was not known.

It should be offered.

The Filipino people have been staunch allies of our country for many decades. When Japanese forces invaded the Philippines during World War II, Filipino soldiers fought courageously with Americans, even after it became apparent theirs was a lost cause.

Among the darkest chapters in U.S. military history is the Bataan Death March after the Japanese prevailed. Between 500 and 650 Americans died on the march.

Between 5,000 and 18,000 Filipinos perished with them.

These are more than allies. They are friends — and if we can help them, we should.

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