Thursday, August 17, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tweeted out a racist fairy tale that, for all anyone knows, he may actually believe.

In response to terrorist vehicular murders in Barcelona (which, this time, he did not hesitate to label as such), Trump tweeted a racist urban legend about Gen. Pershing executing fifty Muslims in the US-occupied Philippines with bullets dipped in pig's blood. According to Trump, this so horrified potential Muslim attackers that they refrained from "radical Islamic terrorism" for 35 years. 

Trump, who justified his hesitation to offend torch-wielding neo-Nazis and Klansmen by saying that he always waits to get "the facts," is repeating a lie with no basis in fact. He didn't invent this myth, although he seems to embellish it every time he tells it. (Last time, it was only 25 years; in reality, neither pig blood nor any other substance had much effect on a conflict that had Muslims on both sides.)

Pershing was the military governor of the predominantly Muslim Moro Province of the Philippines. In reality, he tried to de-escalate the rebellion by avoiding civilian casualties and fostering civil society among non-rebelling populations. While the Moro people were almost all Muslims at the time of Pershing's governorship, they were not radicalized: they had been resisting rule by Western governments since Spain colonized the Philippines in the early 16th century. 

Why is this bad?

  • The president of the United States of America should not be endorsing savagery and religious hatred, under any circumstances whatsoever.
  • Mocking non-radicalized Muslims as superstitious cowards is a good way to radicalize them.
  • If Trump is not dumb enough to actually believe this, then he must think his supporters are.