Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is using hoax email chains to form his national security policy — according to a fable he told a South Carolinian crowd on Friday.
Trump told the crowd the fable of U.S. General John Pershing at the Philippine-American War at the start of the 20th century. “He took fifty bullets, and he dipped them in pig’s blood,” Trump said. “And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the fifty people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the fiftieth person he said ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, okay?”
Snopes.com, a website that tracks rumors, said this story spread around the internet shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. “[The] anecdote about General Pershing’s handling of terrorists in the Philippines has circulated widely on the Internet ever since 9/11 [and] even made the rounds at the top levels of U.S. government,” the website reads.
Many Muslims, some devout and some less so, abstain from eating pork, but the idea of pig’s blood being to Muslims what garlic is to vampires seems to stem from a 1939 film, according to Snopes.
Trump also used his platform Friday to reiterate his support for waterboarding — a tactic many Republican candidates have vowed to bring back. “Is it torture or not? It’s so borderline,” he said. “It’s like minimal, minimal, minimal torture.”
A group of non-partisan former national security, law enforcement, and interrogators wrote a letter on Wednesday condemning the use of torture on prisoners.
“Torture is not only illegal and immoral; it is counterproductive,” they wrote. “It tends to produce unreliable information because it degrades a detainee’s ability to recall and transmit information, undermines trust in the interrogator, and often prompts a detainee to relay false information that he believes the interrogator wants to hear. It also increases the risk that our troops will be tortured, hinders cooperation with allies, alienates populations whose support the United States needs in the struggle against terrorism, and provides a propaganda tool for extremists who wish to do us harm.”