The Islamic State (ISIS) is claiming responsibility for the deadly terror attack in Barcelona, Spain. The attack claimed the lives of at least fourteen innocents, and more than 100 others were injured.
President Trump took to Twitter to condemn the horrific terror attack while extending an arm of support to our Spanish allies. According to Independent Journal Review, shortly after condemning the attack, Trump tweeted, “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” What did General Pershing do? Legend has it he used the Islamic religion against the Muslim terrorists and dipped bullets in pig’s blood.
The legendary General John J. Pershing was the leader of the American Expeditionary Force in the Western Front of the Second World War. However, before rising to a hero of the great war, Gen. Pershing was suppressing radical Islamic terrorists in the Philippine-American war.
After defeating Spain in the Spanish-American War, America had acquired the territories of the Philippines from the now defeated Spanish empire. However, in their victory, American forces also inherited the Moro insurrection that had been plaguing Spanish colonists for decades.
The Moros are a Muslim minority in the southern Philippines known for their “culture of Jihad,” according to historian Omar H. Dphrepaulezz. This was only one of the first times that American forces faced off against suicidal warriors inspired by Islam.
Years of fighting the Spanish forces in the Philippines created a culture of Juramentado within the Moro community. Under Juramentado, a Muslim swordsman would be coaxed into a rage-induced frenzy. He would single-handedly sprint into enemy forces with the intent of murdering as many people as possible before being shut down himself. The term “stopping power” was first coined in response to stopping these Juramentado attacks.
The brutality of the Moros was a growing concern as American forces were attempting to pacify the Pacific islands. It was during this time that the legend of General Pershing developing a strategy to fight the Moros by using their own religion against them was born. Gen. Pershing, it is told, would dip bullets in pig’s blood before engaging with the Islamic warriors. And, it is further told, would even bury the deceased Moros face down, covered in pig entrails.
Pigs are considered impure and inherently dirty creatures in Islam. Many Muslims believe that being buried alongside a porcine carcass would block their entry into heaven. In a letter to Pershing from Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell, commander of the Philippines Division, Bell stated: “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.”
President Trump condemned the attack in Barcelona, Spain. Do we need to send a tough message to radical terrorists?
President Trump discussed the legend of these military tactics during his presidential campaign. He evoked the memory of Gen. Pershing during a campaign stop in South Carolina.
General Pershing “took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men, and he dipped 50 bullets in pig’s blood.” Trump said. “He had his men load their rifles, and he lined up the 50 people… They shot 49 of those people. The 50th person, he said ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.”
President Trump is not necessarily recommending that we start dipping our Marines’ bullets in pig’s blood. Instead, the legend of General Pershing suggests that sometimes strong messages can be necessary to stem the tide of radical terrorism.