Face of the day

Did U.S. General “Black Jack” Pershing rid the Philippines of Islamic extremism in 1911 by executing a group of Muslim terrorists and burying them in a grave filled with pig’s blood and entrails?

General John Joseph Pershing

General John Joseph Pershing

Today’s face of the day is an urban legend so I asked Uncle Google if what has been shared on the internet about him since 2001 is true.
The urban legend is below:

original

Well the good news is that he did indeed exist. He is not a made up person. However according to urbanlegends.com…

Analysis: In June 2003 I consulted Dr. Frank E. Vandiver, professor of history at Texas A&M University and author of Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing, and asked if there’s any truth to the above. He replied via email that in his opinion the story is apocryphal.

“I never found any indication that it was true in extensive research on his Moro experiences,” Vandiver wrote. “This kind of thing would have run completely against his character.”

Similarly, I’ve been unable to find any evidence corroborating the general claim that Muslims believe that “eating or touching a pig, its meat, its blood, etc., is to be instantly barred from paradise and doomed to hell.” It is true that Islamic dietary restrictions, like those of Judaism, forbid the eating or handling of pork because pigs are considered unclean. But according to Raeed Tayeh of the American Muslim Association in North America, the notion that a Muslim would be denied entrance to heaven for touching a pig is “ridiculous.” A statement from the Anti-Defamation League characterizes the claim as an “offensive caricature of Muslim beliefs.”

Lastly, it is erroneously claimed that John J. Pershing was born near Laclede, Mississippi. He was actually born near Laclede, Missouri.

 

Snopes.com on the other hand did not completely discount the possibility…

Origins:The idea of subduing militant Muslims by threatening to bury them with pigs has held currency for many years. Just a few weeks before the September 11 terrorist attacks on America in 2001, Deputy Israeli police minister Gideon Esra suggested in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Palestinian suicide bombers be buried in pig skin or blood. In the 1939 film The Real Glory, Gary Cooper portrays Dr. Bill Canavan, an American Army doctor in 1906 Manila who “tries to protect the native population from ruthless invaders” (i.e., “Muslim fanatics”). At one point in the film, the Dr. Canavan character drapes a captured Muslim in a pigskin and proclaims that henceforth all slain Muslim rebels will be buried in pig skins, thereby discouraging their “savagery” by threatening to prevent their entry into paradise. And, of course, the above-cited anecdote about General Pershing’s handling of terrorists in the Philippines has circulated widely on the Internet ever since 9/11 even made the rounds at the top levels of U.S. government:

[Drogin, 2001]Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-Fla.) cited as an example a dinner he attended last week with people who work on intelligence issues and have connections to the intelligence community. The dinner conversation ranged in part on how U.S. military commander “Black Jack” Pershing used Islam’s prohibition on pork to help crush an insurgency on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao after the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century.In one instance, Graham explained in an interview, U.S. soldiers captured 12 Muslims. They killed six of them with “bullets dipped into the fat of pigs.”After that, Graham said, the U.S. soldiers wrapped the Muslim rebels in funeral shrouds made of pigskin and “buried them face down so they could not see Mecca. Then they poured the entrails of the pigs over them. The other six were forced to watch. And that was the end of the insurrection on Mindanao,” Graham noted.

The history of the American administration of the Philippines between the Spanish cession of the islands at the conclusion of the Spanish-American war in 1898 and the attainment of full political independence in 1946 (including American attempts to “pacify” various independence-minded groups through military means) is too long and complicated to explicate here. Suffice it to say that General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing was part of the process as Governor of the troublesome Moro Province between 1909 and 1913. We haven’t yet found any references to this alleged incident in Pershing biographies, however, nor does it match the way Pershing is generally recorded as having dealt with the Moros in 1911. When they refused to obey Pershing’s order banning firearms by surrendering their weapons, his response was to draft a letter to the Moros expressing sorrow that his soldiers had to resort to killing them to enforce the order:

I write you this letter because I am sorry to know that you and your people refuse to do what the government has ordered. You do not give up your arms. Soldiers were sent to Taglibi so that you could come into camp and turn in your guns. When the soldiers went to camp a Taglibi, your Moros fired into camp and tried to kill the soldiers. Then the soldiers had to shoot all Moros who fired upon them. When the soldiers marched through the country, the Moros again shot at them, so the soldiers had to kill several others. I am sorry the soldiers had to kill any Moros. All Moros are the same to me as my children and no father wants to kill his own children …

When negotiations stalled and matters came to a head, Pershing was still reluctant to be responsible for any more loss of life than was necessary:

[Vandiver, 1977][Pershing] went to his offices on [14 December 1911] only to hear a message from the Sulu district governor: hundreds of hostiles gathered on Jolo’s Bud Dajo! The message had dread portent. Mount Dajo, awesomely high and capped with the creater of an extinct volcano, meant sacred things to Moros. It was the refuge against fate, the last bastion of the hopeless, the place where their ancestors stood off great waves of enemies. Once on the mountain, esconced in its big cotta, Moros would die gladly, as Leonard Wood had grimly learned. Retreat to Dajo meant a clear declaration of war.Sobered and depressed, Jack wrote of an overriding worry: “I am sorry these Moros are such fools, but … I shall lose as few men and kill as few Moros as possible.” Memories of Wood’s massacre of men and families on Dajo rankled in the army and still bothered the chief of staff. Obviously another such slaughter in the winter of 1911 could adversely influence the 1912 elections in the States.

Pershing’s strategy was to surround the Moros and wait them out while attempting to induce them to surrender, a strategy that worked effectively: the Bud Dajo campaign ended with only twelve Moro casualties. But in his report Pershing seemed keenly aware that the best approach was not to take any action that would encourage religious fanaticism:

There was never a moment during this investment of Bud Dajo when the Moros, including women, on top of the mountain, would not have fought to the death had they been given the opportunity. They had gone there to make a last stand on this, their sacred mountain, and they were determined to die fighting . . . It was only by the greatest effort that their solid determination to fight it out could be broken. The fact is that they were completely surprised at the prompt and decisive action of the troops in cutting off supplies and preventing escape, and they were chagrined and disappointed in that they were not encouraged to die the death of Mohammedan fanatics.

Other anecdotal accounts attribute Pershing’s success to his merely threatening to do as described:

Col. John J Pershing threatened the mullahs with … “splattering of pigs-blood on your houses and families and any who attack us and are killed will be buried in pig-skins.” Consequently the mullahs made Pershing an Honorary Chieftan with little if any more trouble in his area of command.

Yet another account, from the 1938 book Jungle Patrol, attributes the deed to someone other than Pershing:

It was Colonel Alexander Rodgers of the 6th Cavalry who accomplished by taking advantage of religious prejudice what the bayonets and Krags had been unable to accomplish. Rodgers inaugurated a system of burying all dead juramentados in a common grave with the carcasses of slaughtered pigs. The Mohammedan religion forbids contact with pork; and this relatively simple device resulted in the withdrawal of juramentados to sections not containing a Rodgers. Other officers took up the principle, adding new refinements to make it additionally unattractive to the Moros. In some sections the Moro juramentado was beheaded after death and the head sewn inside the carcass of a pig. And so the rite of running juramentado, at least semi-religious in character, ceased to be in Sulu. The last cases of this religious mania occurred in the early decades of the century. The juramentados were replaced by the amucks … who were simply homicidal maniacs with no religious significance attaching to their acts.

We haven’t eliminated the possibility that Pershing at some point chose to deal with a group of “Mohammedan fanatics” in a manner similar to the one described above, but so far all we’ve turned up are several different accounts with nothing that documents Pershing’s involvement.

-snopes.com
Kryptonite is Superman's one weakness that can cancel out all his powers,

Kryptonite is Superman’s one weakness that can cancel out all his powers,

Finally Snopes had some interesting comments on our desire as Infidels to find a comic book solution to the problem of Islam. Pigs’ blood and meat being to Muslims what Kryptonite was to Superman. The urban legend reflects our desire for a? simplistic and simple solution to solve a complex and deadly problem.

 

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