Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York, N.Y., May 17, 2016.
Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Trump creates new dangers with provocative comments about Iraqi oil

In his bizarre speech to the CIA over the weekend, his first remarks on his first full day president, Donald Trump lamented the fact Americans did not take Iraqi oil after the 2003 invasion.” “The old expression, to the victor belong the spoils,” the new president said, adding, “We should’ve kept the oil. But, okay, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

Really? What does that mean, exactly? Pressed for an explanation, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters this week that Trump doesn’t take any option “off the table.”

In his interview with ABC News’ David Muir yesterday, the president said, four times, “We should have taken the oil.” Asked about the “maybe we’ll have another chance” comment, Trump added, “[W]e’ll see what happens. I mean, we’re gonna see what happens. You know, I told you and I told everybody else that wants to talk, when it comes to the military, I don’t wanna discuss things. I wanna let the action take place before the talk takes place.”

Before the new president talks himself into invading Iraq to steal the country’s resources, it’s probably worth noting that invading a country and taking its stuff is a war crime.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/25/17, 9:52 PM ET

Iraq on edge at Trump 'keep the oil' talk

Rachel Maddow reports on the reaction in Iraq, including by the Iraqi Prime Minister, to Donald Trump’s loose talk about seizing oil as payment for U.S. military actions, and the added risk U.S. troops face as a result of Trump’s statements.
What’s less appreciated is the fact that Trump, whether he realizes this or not, is putting Americans in danger with his frequent rhetoric about taking Iraqi oil. As Rachel explained on last night’s show, videos of Trump repeating his “take the oil” rhetoric are circulating in the Middle East, with Arabic subtitles.

At a press conference this week following a major success in Mosul, Iraq’s prime minister was asked whether American troops in Iraq are there to take the country’s oil supplies – since that’s what the new American president keeps talking about publicly. “Iraqi oil is for Iraqis,” Haider al-Abadi responded. “No official anywhere in the world claims that is not his.” Rachel added on the show:
“This is a dangerous thing to not have clarity on, and I don’t mean it’s dangerous in some academic, geopolitical sense; I mean it’s literally, physically dangerous for the American troops who are in Iraq right now.

“If the Iraqis they’re serving alongside think that the United States has these members of our military in that country right now because it is now U.S. policy to take Iraq’s oil, that is very dangerous for American troops in that environment – like fighting ISIS wasn’t dangerous enough.”
In part of yesterday’s ABC interview, David Muir asked Trump if he’s concerned about anger from the Middle East in response to the White House’s new “extreme vetting” policies towards Muslims. “Anger?” the president responded, “There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?”

Asked if his administration might be exacerbating a problem, Trump added, “David, I mean, I know you’re a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place.”

The phrase to remember is, “The world is as angry as it gets.” In the new American president’s mind, it’s impossible to inflame tensions in the Middle East, because the region is already at Peak Rage.

New York’s Jon Chait concluded, “Trump has gone out of his way as a candidate and as a president to depict his policies toward the Muslim world in the most hostile and imperialistic terms, and he literally cannot imagine how this could create problems. ISIS could not have dreamed up a more effective recruiter. The consequences will be horrific.”

Donald Trump, Iraq and Oil

Trump creates new dangers with provocative comments about Iraqi oil