Donald Trump

From Pig's Blood Assassination Fantasies to the Depressingly Real Afghan Surge

How many people will die for Donald Trump's mistaken belief that only "political correctness" is holding America back from victory?

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Nope. ||| Snopes
Snopes

On Aug. 17, President Donald Trump, in the wake of the Barcelona terrorist attack, tweeted that we all should "Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!" On Aug. 21, the president laid out his new Afghanistan policy, reversing campaign rhetoric by backing an open-ended increase of around 4,000 U.S. troops.

The two statements, separated by four days (or four months in Trump News-Cycle Time) were understandably treated as wholly separate events. But they are not. Trump's allusion to one of his favorite historical fables—an alleged Pershing mass killing which historians unanimously agree there is zero evidence of having ever taken place—advertises a core belief that has always been at tension with the president's expressed skepticism about military intervention. Namely, that a key tactical error separating America from victory against Islamic terrorists is the self-restricting embrace of "political correctness."

This formulation, long embraced by the likes of Ralph Peters, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum, can mean everything from the refusal to utter the phrase radical Islamic terrorism ("She won't even mention the words," Trump clucked at Hillary Clinton during one of their debates), to the broader and vaguer sense that America lacks the "will to win"…to straight-up violations of the Geneva Conventions.

"We're fighting a very politically correct war," candidate Trump lamented to Fox & Friends in December 2015. "When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families."

In domestic fights against suspected bad guys, there is no equivalent to the countervailing Trumpian foreign policy tendency to eschew nation-building and avoid disastrous wars. This means that taking the proverbial gloves off America's internal law enforcement cops will likely be a one-way ratchet. President Trump, through his campaigning as the "law and order" candidate, to his appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, issuance of succeeding travel bans, attempts to punish "sanctuary cities," fondness for draconian drug prohibition, pardoning of Joe Arpaio, mutual affection for recently resigned Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, re-starting of the controversial 1033 program of transferring military surplus gear to local law enforcement, and much more, has sent the unmistakable message that he will aggressively move around any perceived impediment—including the judiciary branch and the United States Constitution—to give cops and prosecutors more power. He has never exhibited a drop of anxiety about potentially punishing the innocent or otherwise producing unintended consequences.

That oughtta do it. ||| Fox News
Fox News

But overseas, there had been reason to hope that Trump's internal conflicts would at least produce some kind of draw. "Afghanistan is, is not going well. Nothing's going well—I guess we've been in Afghanistan almost 17 years," the president-elect said in a joint interview with Bild and The Times of London back in January, sounding not unlike Ron Paul, at least until his very next words: "But you look at all of the places, now in all fairness, we haven't let our people do what they're supposed to do….We haven't let our military win."

Why did the bellicose version of the 45th president win out over the intervention-skeptic? Some anti-war voices assert that with the exit of strategist Steve Bannon, the president's foreign policy has been captured by his generals. That may well have merit.

But Trump, and the people who supported and voted for him, and even man of his #NeverTrump antagonists, have long indulged in the dangerous delusion that military victory is achievable through the removal of proverbial handcuffs. This was true during primary season, through the general election, in the first seven months of his presidency, and after the Afghanistan re-surge announcement. And nowhere has that mindset been made more clear than in Trump's persistent claims, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Gen. John J. "Blackjack" Pershing defeated radical Islamic terrorism for at least a generation by committing a hideous war crime.

On Aug. 15, during an intensely controversial press conference defending his zig-zaggy responses to the Charlottesville protests and aftermath, the president repeatedly stressed that, "I want to make sure, when I make a statement, that the statement is correct….I wanted to see the facts." Trump got into hot water, and deservedly so, for including among his facts that there were "very fine people" among the original tiki-torch demonstrators, but the gesture toward empirical humility was otherwise appropriate in a street-fighting world gone mad with wildly inaccurate characterizations of basic details. (For an exposition on which, I highly recommend this Matt Labash account in The Weekly Standard of an Antifa beat-down of a non-Nazi in Berkeley.)

Sadly, though not surprisingly, the president's adherence to rhetorically restrained crisis management did not last even two full days. On Aug. 17, just hours after a van plowed through the crowded streets of Las Ramblas, killing 13, Trump blurted this:

The word "study" here is almost exquisitely inapt. Trump was referencing one of his favorite shaggy-dog stories from the campaign trail, one that he kept on telling, even embellishing, despite widespread, well-documented pushback from academics, news organizations, and political competitors. In calling back to the tale as president, he demonstrated not only a cheerful disregard for the concept of learning, but a preference for military ruthlessness as strategy. As David French headlined it over at National Review, "In One Tweet, Donald Trump Just Spread Fake History, Libeled a Hero, and Admired an Alleged War Crime."

Candidate Trump first started telling this story in the military-heavy state of South Carolina, where in February of last year he was waging an eventually successful attempt to drive Jeb Bush out of the race by (rightly!) blaming the Bush family for the "big, fat mistake" of the Iraq War. Like Ted Cruz's vow to find out whether Middle Eastern sand "can glow in the dark," Trump's anecdote about Pershing putting down the Moro Rebellion in the Philippines a century ago served as a way to make a critique of neoconservatism go down with a bloody shot of Jacksonianism.

||| New York Daily News
New York Daily News

"They were having terrorism problems, just like we do," Trump said at the time, botching the analogy from the outset (the Moros were hardly anybody's threat to bring a nail bomb to Times Square). "And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs' blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs' blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th 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? Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem."

(Sticklers may note that Trump said 25 years here, compared to 35 in his recent tweet; he has also claimed 28 years, 42 years, and so on.)

The fact-checking was immediate, and everywhere. Snopes traced the rumor in part to a Gary Cooper movie. The Associated Press, in a piece printed from coast to coast, described the story as "widely discredited." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called it "bizarre." Even unironic #MAGA hash-taggers like Lou Dobbs called the tale "apocryphal."

There are, as far as I can tell, only three historical scraps that remotely resemble Trump's yarn, and none of them come close to supporting his claim that Pershing (or anyone else) ordered the execution of Moro rebels with blood-soaked bullets. These sources are: 1) a Pershing memoir in which he describes a different man, Col. Frank West, publicly burying killed insurgents "in the same grave with a dead pig," in order to deter Muslims with fears of going to hell. 2) a letter discovered a half-century after, in which a serviceman (according to one paraphrase) recalls witnessing Pershing "hang a Moro chieftain by the heels over an open grave, kill a pig, and then drop the Moro into the grave with the bloody animal." That letter was been widely deemed by historians as at best 100 percent uncorroborated, and at worst a "fabrication." And 3) a 1927 article in the Chicago Tribune, in which:

||| Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune

Capt. Herman Archer relays the "well-known" tale of Gen. Pershing sprinkling captives with pig's blood and letting them go.

"Then [Pershing] announced that any Juramentado thereafter would be sprinkled with pig's blood," Archer wrote. "And those drops of porcine gore proved more powerful than bullets."

The correspondent does not seem to have personally witnessed this incident, but seems rather to be relaying a war story shared with him by others. No mass executions were reported by the Tribune, and the copy is peppered with characterizations of Muslim Filipinos as "savage sultans" and "devilish brown men"

So: No executions, no pig-bullets, and the only two sources that posit Pershing as a protagonist in any porcine strategy are deeply suspect. Meanwhile, as PolitiFact and others discovered when interviewing relevant academics, the general's actual approach on the ground was closer to the opposite of Trump's portrayal. "He did a lot of what we would call 'winning hearts and minds' and embraced reforms which helped end their resistance," Cameron University military historian Lance Janda told PolitiFact. The fact-checkers' conclusion? "Historians noted that Pershing pursued a less brutal approach to 'pacifying' the rebels in the southern Philippines than Leonard Wood, one of his predecessors."

There are many options available to someone who makes a gross historical error in public: You can quickly correct it and apologize, perhaps examine whether your mischaracterization of the facts calls into question the conclusions you derived from it, or at minimum drop it from your rhetorical rotation. Trump, again not surprisingly, chose none of the above.

||| NYT Magazine
NYT Magazine

Two months after the pig's blood anecdote had been thoroughly vetted, New York Times Magazine published a long account of Trump's unique campaign stylings. "The mainstays of his rallies," correspondent Jeff Sharlet wrote, "are parables, in which he channels such [empathetic-to-the-audience] sentiments into full-fledged, multivoiced dramatic scenes. Trump plays every role. There are three scenes in current rotation; if Trump worked off a set list, they might be labeled 'The Call,' 'The Snake' and 'The Bullet.'"

"The Bullet" was the fabricated Pershing anecdote. And the way Trump kept performing it throughout the 2016 campaign tells us a lot about the mindset governing his foreign policy in 2017 and beyond. This Sharlet excerpt is on the long side, but worth reading in full:

"Can you imagine what these people say about the United States? How weak we are?" […]

"There's a story I tell," he says. "This is when we were strong." The crowd cheers. Many have heard it before. He asks if they want to hear it again. "Should I tell it?" He asks three times.

It begins with a horse, and on the horse there's a general. The year is 1919; the place is the Philippines; the general is John J. Pershing, known as Black Jack. Trump does not name the war. It's not the point. "Tremendous terror problem," that's what you need to know, and that the terrorists are Muslims. The point is Pershing's solution:

"They catch 50 terrorists. … Today we read 'em their rights, take care of 'em, ba ba [the audience boos], we feed them the best food, make sure they have television, we give 'em areas to pray, it's a wonderful thing. We're wonderful people. We're wonderful, wonderful, stupid, stupid people [laughter]. So General Pershing, tough, tough guy … 50 terrorists … what happens is he lines 'em up to be shot. [A man shouts, "Yeah!"] Lines people up to be shot. … And as you know, swine, pig, all of that is a big problem for them. Big problem. He took two pigs, they chopped them open. [Trump chops his hand.] Took the bullets that were going to go and shoot these men. [Holds up an imaginary bullet pinched between thumb and finger.] Took the bullets. The 50 bullets. Dropped them in the pigs, swished them around [swishes] so there's blood all over those bullets.[Cheering.] Had his men, instructed his men [voice rising] to put the bullets into the rifles [thumps lectern]. They put the bullets into the rifles and they shot [he shouts the word; another man shouts, "Yeah!"] 49 men."

He tells it again, puts the imaginary bullets into an imaginary rifle and shoots his imagined 49 Muslims. "Boom."

He leans forward, squints and runs his words together: "a-pig-infested-bullet-in-each-one."

A woman shouts, "Yeah!"

Then, Trump says, they dumped the bodies into a mass grave—he waves his hand across the podium, sweeping the corpses in—and threw the gutted pigs on top of them. They took the final bullet—he holds it up again—and they gave it to the last man. "And they said, 'Here, take this bullet'"—he mimes handing it over – "'go back to your people'"—he jabs a finger at the last man's "people," and yet another man shouts, "Yeah!"— "'and explain what we just did!' "

Trump pauses. The crowd cheers. "This is history, folks."…We can choose to win, or we can choose to lose. For Trump, this is not a choice.

But the war-crimes strategy of foreign policy turns out to be more complicated to enact in the real world, as candidate Trump found out in March of last year when he had to walk back previous statements that service-members are "not going to refuse me, believe me." So how do you apply the anti-P.C., will-to-win, no-more-weakness bravado within the more established Beltway parameters?

||| Fox News
Fox News

You spend more money on the military. You make threatening noises to would-be adversaries. You increase droning, drop scarier bombs, double down on dirty wars. And yes, you surge. Before you know it, many of the same people who have beaten you up for bad ideas and worse manners will be standing loyally by your side.

"The gloves are off inside Afghanistan," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) enthused moments after Trump's Aug. 21 announcement. "I am proud of the fact that he listened to the generals and [showed] the will to stand up to radical Islam. I'm relieved he didn't take the advice to withdraw, which would had been disastrous….This is a war between radical Islam and the rest of us. They hate our guts and not going to stop fighting us until we kill them and stabilize Afghanistan."

Choosing Lindsey Graham's style of juvenile chest-puffery over Sebastian Gorka's may make for better media relations, but it moves America even further away from extricating itself from bloody military conflicts and expensive commitments that have no currently forseeable end point. Whether through fictitious pig-bullet or all-too-real semi-occupation of a miserable country, the fantasy that the United States can somehow will itself to victory is filling body bags, not ticker-tape parades.

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46 responses to “From Pig's Blood Assassination Fantasies to the Depressingly Real Afghan Surge

  1. Washington didn’t really cut down that cherry tree either.

    1. Yes, bit no one is claiming that his cutting down the cherry tree had a major impact on international terrorism, or anything else. Nor is anyone making an argument for cutting down more cherry trees so that we can have more honest presidents.

      1. Also, cutting down a cherry tree is not a war crime.

        1. What “law iof war” binding upon the US and the Moro Sultanate forbade the defiling of enemy dead with pig corpses?

            1. You?

              Cutting down fruit-bearing trees is actually one of the oldest recognized war crimes. It was outlawed in Deuteronomy.

              1. I was talking about the summary execution part. You know, the story that Trump has been spinning.

                1. There were no ‘summary executions’, all would have been tried and justice served. Black Jack was a tight ass. Rebels not in uniform were not considered legitimate combatants until the Geneva Convention in the 1930s. The drum head court marshal was the rule and no formal army bothered with them as prisoners. During the War of Northern Aggression, Yankee officers executed Confederate soldiers, even those in uniform. This was only stopped from the ‘generals’ level.

          1. The accepted laws of war among nations like the United States and most of the rest of the world. Defilation of corpses in general, no matter the manner.

            And, of course, now that’s ‘officially’ codified in the Geneva Conventions.

            1. Oh yeah – and there’s the whole ‘summary execution’ thing. Not a spy? Then you don’t get lined up in a field and shot out of hand.

              1. Tell that to Daniel Pearl.

                Oh wait, he was only decapitated.

            2. I haven’t read it all but where is defilation of corpses in a Hague provision signed by the US prior to 1913? Thanks in advance if you can find the answer.

            3. Minor twist to your reasoning there.

              Combatants need to be dressed so they can be distinguished as the armed force. In other words, wearing civilian clothes does not protect you.

              Furthermore Afghanistan signed in 1956 and reupped in 2009, but most combatants do not wear uniforms. Iraq also signed the Geneva Conventions in 1956 and reupped in 2010.

  2. These dipshits have never figured out who it is they’re dealing with in Afghanistan. We’re talking about people who have been at war their entire lives, and don’t really have much of anything to lose. The Soviet Union couldn’t put them down, and nobody has ever accused them of playing too nice.

  3. Somehow, the public has come to imagine that ISIS miraculously arose in the wake of Obama’s retreat in Iraq, as well.

    Of course, nothing is further from the truth. You’d have to ignore everything we know about Zarqawi, his success as Al Qaeda in Iraq, his recruitment of dead-enders from Saddam Hussein’s former army, Zarqawi’s break with Al Qaeda over their attacks on Shia Muslims, and their subsequent success.

    http://tinyurl.com/ycbbjhct

    I guess neocons on the right don’t like to talk about that because it undermines their narrative. The lesson to draw from Iraq, however, isn’t that if you ever withdraw from a country, the insurgency will coalesce in your absence. The lesson is that if you don’t want to fight an insurgency forever, that can be avoided by not invading and occupying a country in the first place.

    1. “I guess neocons on the right don’t like to talk about that because it undermines their narrative.”

      It seems like you’re trying to distance the rest of the right from the neo-cons. Seems like the only difference to me is what stimulates the war boner.

      1. I just had a long post eaten by the squirrels.

        Suffice it to say, Republicans or “right” is not the equivalent of “neocon”, and Hillary Clinton herself was as much or more of a necon than George W. Bush.

        In fact, the neocons only became influential under the Bush the Lesser Administration.

        Republican foreign policy was always more pragmatic than neocon. See Weinberger, Baker, Scowcroft, Powell, Shultz, and others for examples. All the reasons not to invade Iraq in 1991 were traditional Republican reasons.

        1. Eminently sensible comments here, squirrels not withstanding. “Traditional Republican reasons” You mean literally and figuratively bowing to Saudi demands?

    2. Well, you’re right in that ISIS didn’t arise because of Obama’s retreat. It came about because the United States removed the guy keeping a lid on them (for his own protection) and they moved into the power vacuum left.

    3. I, too, much prefer the colonial policies of the 18th Century. Come in and tell the dirt people to behave. If they don’t, kill them in carload lots. Make the Americans into the bogiemen for generations. Make mothers kill sons that start to think about killing Americans. They Turks figured out that if you kill 100:1, even these mental midgets will get the idea.If Baby Bush had used the occasion of the WTC attack to eliminate 300,000 Saudis and Egyptians, we would not have Islamic terror running amuck. Nation Building is foolish. These people founded civilization thousands of years ago, but now live by the morals of a drunk pedophile Arabian camel thief!

      We should recommission a few battleships as diplomatic options. A fellow who watched one in Vietnam told me that it will shake you to your soul. If Reagan had loosed on upon Qaddafi three decades ago, Libya would be much more respectful.

      1. I wouldn’t typify the pragmatism of Weinberger, Shultz, Powell, Baker, Scowcroft, et. al. as gunboat diplomacy or 19th century.

        The idea that we shouldn’t ever make friends with vicious dictators wasn’t a part of that. What’s in the best interests of the U.S. security may always be a subject for debate, but if and when it was in the best interests of those pragmatists to shake hands with Stalin, Marcos, Pinochet, or Saddam Hussein, they were willing to do so.

        That doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made or weren’t made, it just means that watching Trump shake hands with Putin when it’s in America’s interests to do so isn’t a novel approach. It’s a return to form. That’s how we won the Cold War.

      2. And we really shouldn’t denigrate everything Trump does on the anti-war front just because Trump is the one doing it. Shaking hands with Trump to get us out of Syria–over the objections and obstacles put in Trump’s way by McCain, the neocons, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, et. al.–isn’t just something that fell out of the sky either. Trump campaigned on doing what he did–and it seems to be working better than anything Hillary and Obama or the neocons tried.

        Anyone who was aware of what was going on during the Reagan and Bush the Greater administrations should recognize what’s going on, here. No need to go back to the 19th century. You want to see somebody making friends with authoritarians like Putin to oppose totalitarians? Go look at Jeane Kirkpatrick in the 20th century.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkpatrick_Doctrine

        Hillary and the Obama administration refusing to pursue the best interests of American security because Putin was against gay marriage is probably the most embarrassing chapter in the history of American foreign policy. He let ISIS–the most intolerant totalitarian ideology in the world (even against LGBT!) run amok because Putin wouldn’t recognize gay marriage?

        Trump is an enormous improvement over the Obama administration on foreign policy–certainly on questions of security.

    4. Perhaps ISIS didn’t have a name before the withdrawal, but that doesn’t mean they had consolidated control over huge swaths of “terrortory” prior to the withdrawal, does it?

  4. I’ve heard that you can gut a shark in the water and the shark, smelling blood in the water, will go into a feeding frenzy, thrashing around mindlessly, swallowing and re-swallowing his own offal again and again as his guts fall through his open belly.

    I used to wonder what would happen with two gutted sharks but I think I now know what that would look like.

    1. I’ve heard there’s a conspiracy to make Americans think the world is round when it’s actually banana shaped. Just kidding, I made that up.

  5. Trump does deserve some anti-war credit, however. Being anti-war isn’t just about bugging out of current conflicts. It’s also about not being drawn into new ones.

    Trump campaigned on working with Putin against ISIS in Syria, and he’s executed on that plan–to excellent effect. The limited ceasefire has been holding for some two months now, and Trump pursued that strategy, as promised, over the objections of the Democrats, who tried to smear him as a collaborator with Putin, not to mention the objections of John McCain and the neocons–or the powers that be in our intelligence services, who did their best to undermine Trump working on Syria with Putin in every way they could.

    Despite all that, Trump did what he campaigned on doing in Syria, and so far, he’s making excellent progress on keeping us out of Syria and exiting to whatever extent we were already in.

  6. I’m not impressed by Trump’s rhetoric or limited actions on Afghanistan either, but let’s also give credit where credit is due in Syria.

    Hillary Clinton might have us in Syria right now. She certainly wouldn’t have been able to coordinate with Putin–given Hillary’s amateur denunciations of Putin’s legitimacy after Putin’s last election. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a more incompetent performance as a Secretary of State than Hillary Clinton.

    Between accepting money from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State to trashing our working, strategic relationship with Russia–because Putin opposes gay marriage for LGBT in Moscow? Hillary Clinton will go down in history as a laughing stock of a Secretary of State. I shudder to think what she might have done in foreign policy as President of the United States.

    1. Hillary clearly had a war boner I think as much to prove she’s as tough as any male president or Putin must have turned down her sexual advances, otherwise what was her hate for Putin for since she had done so much for him already.

  7. Somehow i can’t find any reserve of outrage to spend on this.

    Trump says shit his base likes. Most of which is dumb.

    I don’t think that equates into genuine advocacy for Moro-rebellion-type tactics. call me crazy, but i think he’s just doing what the generals are asking for, and putting his own bullshit spin on it. Whether it amounts to an embrace of ‘interventionism’ [insert stock-Gilmore-rant on why that’s a stupid term] or whether he’s trying to strongarm some concessions from Afghans before calling it game over, its going to take a while to find out.

    That said:

    I tried following Julian Sanchez’ twitter feed, and all i got were a lot of retweets of Matt Yglacias. between that, pink-polka-dotted-dress-shirts, and Balko’s “That’s Not Journalism“-stupidity, i’m getting kind of depressed.

    1. They’re both “lootertarians” now

      1. “Look man, its a blurry line, and surely a WaPo writer 1000s of miles away has a better perspective on the matter than a local news reporter who is right on the scene”

  8. http://www.frontpagemag.com/fp…..greenfield

    Trump’s version of the anecdote matches the California national Guard poster that was removed at the behest of CAIR

  9. The President owes General of the Armies Pershing and his descendants an apology. What filth. How embarrassing for us.

  10. These jurametado attacks were materially reduced in number by a practice the army had already adopted, one that Muhammadans held in abhorrence. The bodies were publicly buried in the same grave as a pig. It was not pleasant to take such measures, but the prospect of going to hell instead of heavan sometimes deterred the would-be assassins. (pp. 284-285), My Life Before the World War, 1860–1917: A Memoir.

    1. Death is hell. You can only make death look like paradise if everyone’s trying to make your life hell, that is, a big steamy shit sandwich instead of a pulled pork with a touch of vinegar and some slaw on a bun with some pork and beans.

  11. Yep, obsessing over rituals with pig flesh makes one look as wacky as the terrorists, but that’s the level of political debate at home and abroad it seems. Snopes article was interesting, but the closing paragraphs were blighted by that tiresome sentiment that terrorists aren’t real muslims. I suspect that the author of the article wasn’t a real muslim either, more likely a pale, post-religious WASP. The terrorists, hypocritical bandits that they are, made the mistake of thinking that Americans would be pacified by destroying their sacred skyscrapers and pentagon, and yes that was also delusional. So their divine figurehead met his end binge watching CNN on his sacred satellite tv in his austere Pakistani pad. Sadly, there are some disagreements you can’t reason your way out of, much less pose and virtue signal your way out of. What’s the endgame? Who knows.

    1. “The terrorists, hypocritical bandits that they are, made the mistake of thinking that Americans would be pacified by destroying their sacred skyscrapers and pentagon, and yes that was also delusional. ”

      oh, I’m not so sure. My personal mind reader and spiritual advisor tells me that the attacks were meant to draw the US into endless conflict with no victory in sight. Bleeding the elephant white was how the noble Vietnamese resistance put it.

      “So their divine figurehead met his end binge watching CNN on his sacred satellite tv in his austere Pakistani pad.”

      He’s not so revered as you believe. He was actually quite the pussy on the whole question of killing Shia.

      “Sadly, there are some disagreements you can’t reason your way out of, much less pose and virtue signal your way out of. What’s the endgame? Who knows.”

      Indeed who knows what a virtue signal is and why commenters seem to feel it necessary to repeat these magic words in every comment thread?

      1. We have plenty of white elephants, but no dead ones yet. As for Al Qaeda, they’re out of style.

        1. American cooperation with Saudi backed jihadis never goes out of style.

      2. “Indeed who knows what a virtue signal is and why commenters seem to feel it necessary to repeat these magic words in every comment thread?”

        Well, you don’t. Maybe you’ll figure it out one day. In the mean time, it’s magic.

        1. “In the mean time, it’s magic.”

          It’s idiotic parroting. Try something new.

          1. Idiotic parroting is repeating the same mantras about genuine Islam being the religion of peace, and I’m not here to entertain you. Piss off.

      3. “He’s not so revered as you believe. He was actually quite the pussy on the whole question of killing Shia.”

        No honor among rival religious fanatics I guess. But you’re only illustrating my point. Al Qaeda is a dead end.

        1. “No honor among rival religious fanatics I guess. ”

          I don’t think the victims of al qaeda are necessarily religious fanatics.

          1. I don’t think you’re necessarily a rapist of barnyard animals, either.

  12. Getting back to President Camacho and his tweets, he sure comes off as stupid, but then consider his audience. Some contributors here have alluded to the theory of “public choice”. Not sure how good of a theory it is, but it just seems to be the phrase they roll out as an alternative of whining yet again about just how stupid most voters tend to be. The genius of Camacho is his ability to steal support from the ranks of reliable Democrat voters in ways that pollsters, consultants, and cookie cutter Republican poltards can’t. Won’t help matters in Afganistan, but then nothing will.

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