President Donald Trump recommends the world stop Islamic terrorism by following the example of General Pershing, who supposedly smeared bullets in pigs’ blood and executed Filipino Muslims with them.
That story is false but what we did do in the Philippines is horrible enough. We had no justification for going to war against Spain, taking control of Spanish possessions, and brutally suppressing the resistance of Filipinos to another colonial overlord. According to historical accounts, American soldiers killed at least 250,000 Filipinos in three years, most of them civilians. Soldiers raped, tortured, and either hanged or bayoneted to death civilians under suspicion of supporting the rebellion. The military burned down entire villages and sent thousands of Filipinos to concentration camps. Our tactics did not produce long-standing peace or unity in that country.
Instead of reveling in sadistic ways to intimidate people of another religion, we should thoughtfully ponder our own history and how we can achieve peace and security consistent with the values we proclaimed before Trump took office.
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