America Will Never Live Down Trump’s War Crime Pardons, by Danny Sjursen | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC
Donald Trump loves him some bluster, worships machismo, and always has. Spectacle over substance has long been the name of his game. Decades before his successful presidential run, back when he was still a cartoon billionaire playboy, Trump took out a full-page newspaper advertisement that argued that New York state should bring back the death penalty for five adolescents arrested in 1989 for allegedly beating and raping a jogger – even though the boys hadn’t yet been convicted. Turns out that the infamous Central Park Five were later exonerated by DNA evidence. To this day, Trump refuses to apologize, even though his suggestion would have resulted in the execution of five innocent kids. But regret isn’t part of The Donald’s playbook.
Neither is adherence to facts, or recognition of history. Trump illustrated this point on the 2016 campaign trail, when he repeated a demonstrably false story about how then-Capt. John J. Pershing (future commanding general for all U.S. forces in World War I) – “a rough, rough guy” – had, during the brutal American counterinsurgency in the Philippines (1899-1913), once captured 50 Muslim “terrorists,” dipped 50 bullets in pig’s blood, shot 49, and set the sole survivor loose to spread the tale to his rebel comrades. The outcome, or moral of the story, according to Trump, was that “for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem, OK?” Well, no, actually, the Philippine insurgency dragged on for another decade, and a Muslim-separatist rebellion continues in the islands to this day.
No matter. For Trump, as the saying goes, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” In these strange times, the current occupant of the Oval Office, “the leader of the free world,” revels in tough-guy military bravado. With an apparently crippling case of bone spurs keeping him out of combat in Vietnam, Trump has had the luxury of reveling in the romance of war, having never seen its atrocities up close. Paradoxically, the candidate-turned-president who regularly rails against endless war (but rarely puts his money where his mouth is) isn’t exactly averse to combat in general. Rather, while he rightfully critiques expensive, aimless wars, Trump thinks conflicts should be short and “savage.”