Pershing's war with radical Islamist is an example of Trump trolling the left

James Delingpole:
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak,” Sun Tzu, The Art Of War.

One of the big mistakes Trump’s critics make is to assume he is very stupid. Hence the liberal media’s delight in his Pershing tweet in the aftermath of the Barcelona massacre.
They think it shows the president to be an historically illiterate and gullible fool because – or so they claim – he is repeating a debunked myth that General Pershing used bullets dipped in pig blood when fighting Muslim terrorists in the Philippines.
The important take-home message about Pershing is that he was a highly effective commander who defeated the Moros in the Philippines with a mix of ruthlessness and sound strategy. Pershing took care to learn the Moros’ customs and language, co-opted their sultans and made it clear that his war was not with Islam.

But when he needed to be, he could be tough. And yes, actually, there is historical evidence that something involving pigs did take place. Even Politifact was forced grudgingly to admit this:

In a footnote, the editor of the 2013 edition [of Pershing’s My Life Before The War], John T. Greenwood, cited a letter about the incident from Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell, the commander of the Philippines Division, to Pershing: “Of course there is nothing to be done, but I understand it has long been a custom to bury (insurgents) with pigs when they kill Americans. I think this a good plan, for if anything will discourage the (insurgents) it is the prospect of going to hell instead of to heaven. You can rely on me to stand by you in maintaining this custom. It is the only possible thing we can do to discourage crazy fanatics.”

In turn, this form of psychological warfare echoes that used by Vlad III – the 15th century Romanian prince better known as Vlad the Impaler because of his penchant for impaling his Ottoman enemies on spikes greased with pig fat.
Vlad was the son of another warlord who was given the title of Dracul by a pope for his fight against the Muslims.  His son was called Dracula and became the model for the novel with that name, although the character in the novel was quite different from the warlord.  It did raise a question in my mind whether the use of a stake through the heart to kill Dracula in the novel was taken from Vlad's impaling of enemies.

Pershing had the benefit of a more limited media at the time and did not have to be concerned about upsetting a billion other Muslims.


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