Trump is referring to tales of how US General John Pershing apparently discouraged Muslim terrorists by dipping bullets in pig's blood, burying bodies with pig guts, or shooting 49 of 50 terrorists and telling the last one to tell his friends what would happen if they committed further acts of terror. These crimes allegedly took place in the Philippines in the beginning of the 20th century, and this is not the first time Trump has referred to them — they were also campaign trail go-tos.
But according to historian Brian McAllister Linn of Texas A&M University, "this story is a fabrication and has long been discredited." Linn has said he was "amazed" the stories still circulate. Also amazing is that the US commander-in-chief believes such behavior is a viable route for tackling terrorism.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
The fact-checkers at Snopes concur that tales of Pershing's atrocities are indeed myths.
Combating terrorism does pose a major problem around the globe, however. Following today's van attack in Barcelona, 13 people have been confirmed slain by a man who deliberately drove a van into a crowd of civilians. One hundred people were injured and two suspects have been taken into custody.
The current US strategy, which has kept US personnel and military assets throughout the Middle East for 15 years, clearly has not been the most effective means of ending terror.
While Trump has suggested the US commit war crimes to end terrorism, some contend the US has been doing this for some time. Chelsea Manning's release of military documents and classified materials showed US forces mowing down civilians and even two Reuters journalists.
Furthermore, a recent in-depth investigation conduced by the Associated Press found that the US is complicit in torture and "enhanced interrogation" practices in Yemen. The report found that 18 "clandestine" or secret prisons had been built and operated by US-supported security forces where up to 2,000 people have gone missing.
These findings demonstrated that "the US hasn't learned the lesson that cooperating with forces that are torturing detainees and ripping families apart is not an effective way to fight extremist groups," Human Rights Watch national security specialist Laura Pitter said at the time.
Pitter told Sputnik News that HRW is actively lobbying publicly and privately for answers. "We are urging lawmakers to exercise their oversight role to get answers from the US administration about how such an interrogation policy could be authorized and are pressing with our public and private advocacy for answers," Pitter said.