This article was first published in October 2015
On Sunday the 25th of October, Republican U.S. Presidential aspirant Donald Trump was interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union” show, and was asked about Iraq. He said,
« I told you very early on, if we’re going to leave, take the oil.”
He then repeated this theme again, in this CNN interview:
“And I said, take the oil when we leave. But we shouldn’t have really left.”
So: he thinks that the U.S. occupation of Iraq should have continued on, and should be continuing, and that the U.S. should have “taken” Iraq’s oil. But he added that, “We shouldn’t have gotten in” to Iraq in the first place. This latter opinion from him was purely a retrospective comment, and Trump had never even expressed himself publicly about the invasion until it had already been done.
He had said at that time (August 2004) only that it was a mess and had been done incompetently. This new retrospective evaluation by Trump of the invasion of Iraq, now on CNN, sparked from the interviewer, questions about whether Trump thinks that “the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein” in power in Iraq. Trump answered directly, “A hundred percent.” He added:
« They’re worse now than they ever were. People are getting their heads chopped off. They’re being drowned. They’re — right now, they are far worse than they were ever under Saddam Hussein.”
And, in fact, no reasonable person can doubt the truth of that statement. The recently released « Gallup 2015 Global Emotions Report” interviewed a thousand citizens of each of 148 countries and found: « Iraqis Are the Saddest & One of the Angriest Populations in the World.” Furthermore, Iraqis were found to have the world’s “Highest Negative Experience Scores,” which is a misery-index. Therefore, Trump is accurate to say that the American government did such a thing as that, to the people of Iraq.
So: he thinks the U.S. destroyed the lives of the Iraqi people, but that “we” (no one asked him who, or how) should have taken their « oil when we leave” (would it go to Exxon, the Kochs, the U.S. government that invaded Iraq — whom, and how?) — and that American occupiers shouldn’t have left Iraq, that the U.S. military should instead still be occupying their country.
On 11 April 2011, he had told the Wall Street Journal (8:05- on their video):
“I always heard that when we went into Iraq we went in for the oil. I said, ‘oh, that sounds smart.’ But, we never did. … (8:35-) I would take the oil. … You know, we have thousands of people that died, our great soldiers, they died. … I would not want to be the one that would tell their [U.S. soldiers who had fought in Iraq] parents that your son or daughter has died in vain, been wounded in vain.”
Then, he said (9:30-):
“I’d give plenty to Iraq [first he’d steal all of it from them, then he’d generously let them have some of it back], I’d keep plenty for us, I’d pay back Britain, I’d pay back everybody that was involved. … (10:35): We will make a fortune. They have fifteen trillion dollars worth of oil. … We are not going to hand that oil to Iran.” He was saying that it’ll go to either Iran or “us.”
It won’t go to Iraq, except for what “we” will give to Iraq, of Iraq’s oil. Also, he mentioned China many times there as being an enemy-nation, which now is getting oil from both Iraq and Libya, and he said that he wants China to have to pay “us,” for all of that oil, too.
This interview was by Ms. Kelly Evans, and her name didn’t even appear in the blogpost (Rupert Murdoch’s print newspaper didn’t publish it) except at the end, but she performed such a superb job of interrogating a Republican Presidential candidate (against Romney in 2012), that this, which is still the best-ever interview of Trump, got buried by Rupert Murdoch’s operation, as a mere blogpost, headlined « Trump Will ‘Probably’ Run as Independent If He Doesn’t Win GOP Nomination.” From then, till now, Trump revealed more than he has yet revealed in his 2016 Presidential run. And what he revealed there was buried, and has largely remained buried, for the past four years.
So: Trump would want the U.S. something-or-others (Exxon? Koch? He has always refused to say who “we” are) to “take their oil” in order for U.S. warriors not to have “died in vain.” He also said in his interview with Kelly Evans (7:55- and repeated by him at 11:20-), “I’m only interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don’t take the oil, I have no interest in Libya.” He wants to steal Iraq’s oil “for our great soldiers, they died.” But why he’d want to steal Libya’s oil? He said in that 2011 interview, that the reason is because (11:25-) “China gets its oil from Libya; we get nothing from Libya.” So: “we” should steal Libya’s oil because China wants it.
Months after that WSJ-blog-video interview, Reuters headlined on 18 December 2011, “Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war.” Iraq had not handed its oil over to the United States.
This fact continued to disturb Trump. On 16 August 2015, he told“Meet the Press”:
“Take back the oil. We take over the oil which we should have done in the first place. … And what I would do with the money that we make, which would be tremendous, I would take care of the families of the soldiers that were killed, the families of the soldiers, the wounded warriors that I see. I love them.”
So: somehow, he’d give them a chunk. Who would get the rest? He didn’t say. He wasn’t asked. He has never been asked, beyond what Kelly Evans extracted from him — and even she could have drilled much farther than she did.
What’s refreshing about Trump is the directness with which he expresses his psychopathy. For example, candidates such as Hillary Clinton sugar-coat theirpsychopathy, or even find ways to get their interviewers to join eagerly in their expressions of it (camaraderie with power-holders), but they don’t say such blatant things as (to paraphrase Trump here), “After we raped them — which we shouldn’t have done — we should have stolen from them, and we should still be stealing from them.”
The delight that Trump gives his Republican admirers might be due to his « F-U!” responses to politicians such as Clinton, Obama, and other conservative Democrats, and to liberal commentators who support them (including most media other than Fox ‘News,’ etc.), for those liberals’ hypocrisies. Even blatant psychopaths can take delight in knocking down the hypocritical moralisms of liberals.
As for progressives such as Bernie Sanders — they’re not really conservatives of either the overtly conservative type (Republicans), or the covertly conservative type (almost all Presidential-level Democrats, plus the national ‘news’ media). Sanders is trying to shoehorn himself into the Democratic Party at the Presidential level, but at his heart he’s a progressive, who’s trying to restore the Democratic Party to the progressivism that it was under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Sanders calls that (and the existing versions of it in Scandinavia) “socialism.”
Trump is certainly no progressive (no “socialist,” to use Sanders’s term for progressivism). But he’s more than just an “entertainer” (to employ the characterization of his political involvement, from Arianna Huffington). Among Republicans and other psychopaths, his political appeal is very real, and is hardly “entertainment.” It’s revenge and anger against liberal hypocrites.
Among Republicans, life is a blood-sport, not just dripping blood. It’s all “red in tooth and claw.” To them, that’s what business should be all about; and government is just the CEO who’s the king of the hill. Successful people in business tend to have that attitude, but so too do fundamentalists and true-believers in any religious faith — everything’s either “us” or “them”; and everyone’s goal is that, as much as possible, all of the blood that’s on the floor will be “theirs,” not “ours.”
Crusades and jihads can be in business and government, not merely in religions. Donald Trump is a warrior, and he has now seriously entered the political battlefield, claiming to be the most effective warrior for “us.”
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.