Last week I wrote on US history according to Trump before hearing about the President’s “Pershing bullet myth”, which obviously should have been included in that post. For those who aren’t aware, in the wake of the Barcelona massacre Donald Trump tweeted about how General Pershing had executed Muslim rebels in the Philippines using bullets dipped in pig fat and that this ended Islamic insurgency there for decades. There is absolutely no historical evidence that the US general ever dipped bullets in pig fat and in any case the Muslim insurgency was not ended by Pershing’s activities. Pershing notes in his memoir – but does not condone – the US practice of burying the dead bodies of Muslim insurgents who had killed Americans with dead pigs because this meant that they would be excluded from paradise.
It seems that the bullet myth probably has its origins in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (previously known as The Indian Mutiny). However, the conclusions drawn by Trump are the exact opposite from those suggested by this historical event. The spark that led to the uprising against the British was that Indian troops employed by the British East India Company were expected to bite open cartridges that were lubricated either with pigs’ fat or with cows’ fat. The first was of course offensive to Muslims, the second to Hindus. Incredibly, the officials of the East India Company mixed up the two types of cartridges, so the obvious solution of giving pigs’ fat-coated cartridges to the Hindus and cows’ fat cartridges to the Muslims wasn’t an option. Rather than bringing peace, the “pigs’ fat bullets” caused the death of 800,000 people, Mr Trump.
However, there is one idea that comes out of all this. Why not have a law that says that the corpse of anybody killed perpetrating a terrorist act, as determined by a judge, should automatically be cremated? Cremation is forbidden in Islam and is generally believed to deny access to paradise. It would be non-discriminatory, would not affect the lives of peace-loving Muslims and might be a deterrent against suicide bombers.
 bullet – projectile used in a rifle or a pistol
 to be aware – be conscious (of a fact)
 in the wake of – after, following
 to dip – immerse, cover
 pig fat – porcine grease
 to condone – approve of
 to bury – inter, put underground
 to draw a conclusion (draw-drew-drawn) – reach a conclusion, come to a conclusion
 spark – immediate cause
 to lead to (lead-led-led) – cause, provoke
 uprising – rebellion
 troops – soldiers
 to bite open (bite-bit-bitten) – open with one’s mouth/teeth
 cartridge – (in this case) a packet containing a bullet and an explosive charge for a musket
 coated – covered
 rather than – instead of, in contrast to
 corpse – cadaver, dead body
 forbidden – prohibited
 to deny – prevent, impede
 deterrent – dissuasive factor