Perpetually Perilous

Romeo Gacad/AFP.

...and the scene inside the cathedral.

Filipinos like to tell the story that U.S. General John "Blackjack" Pershing invented the Colt .45 revolver during his 1945 campaign against the Moros in Mindanao because it took at least six slugs to stop one of these fierce tribesmen before he hacked your head off. Today, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is having an even tougher time than Pershing in vanquishing the Moro's pirate descendants: the Islamic militant group known as Abu Sayyaf, which is holding 13 hostages, including three Americans, in the jungles of the country's deepest south.

For an instant last week, it appeared that...

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