By Staff Writer James Mellen III.
Draft Dodger Donald J. Trump has apparently asked the Iraqi Prime Minister to repay the United States for their war efforts twice in his short two year career as President. Marine and Secretary of Defense General James “Mad Dog” Mattis had to be the one who told Trump that demanding oil from Iraq was a violation of international law.
I like to imagine that every time Trump says something his cabinet has to play the nose game to decide which one is going to tell the President that the government doesn’t work that way. Or maybe they have a rotating schedule, last week it was Mattis’s turn to explain to Trump what the president does next week it’s Ben Carson’s turn.
The President has had this opinion on Iraq since approximately 2013 when he tweeted (there’s always a goddamn tweet) “I still can’t believe we left Iraq without the oil”. Later on the campaign trail in 2016 he said in an interview, “It used to be, ‘To the victor belong the spoils, Now, there was no victor there, believe me. There was no victor. But I always said: take the oil.”
Then in 2017 he was reported to have said to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “So what about that oil?”. To which that Prime minister obviously replied with something along the lines of “what do you mean by that” to which Trump responded “Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.”. As stated earlier it was explained to Trump that was against the rules of war.
But that wasn’t going to stop our President, because a few months later he asked the Prime Minister again in a phone call! Trump was then told that asking Iraq for oil was “very bad”, because “a violation of international law” have far too many syllables.
So there’s a lot of obvious questions that the American people should be asking about this, including but not limited to: Is the president tacitly admitting that the war an Iraq was over oil? Does the President view war as an investment? What would that mean for wars under his presidency?
Why is the United States still focused on oil as our primary form of energy? When is my dad ever going to come back from the store? Why isn’t the president educated on what does and does not constitute breaking an international law? Why doesn’t the president have to be told more than once that what his proposition is breaking national laws? Why does this keep happening? Why did we give a career criminal the highest executive position in the country?
The answer to all of these questions is of course, try not to think about it too much. However there’s one question that’s slightly more subversive that also requires answering, if Trump said this in 2017, why is the media covering it now?
This presidency has been hard hitting with scandal after scandal week after week, and one result of this is the common person never really being able to tell what’s going on. At the very least, it’s difficult for the average person to know what’s going on. I would argue that this is completely intentional.
While this was a major online news story from last week, the real story of importance was the Mueller investigations. Which for a short summary Paul Manafort is going to die in prison (thank God) Trump’s old lawyer Michael Cohen lied under oath, and Mueller and (at the time I’m writing this) Mueller has an unnamed witness who is knowledgeable of Trump’s personal and business life.
So why would Trump want there to be a news story about him saying something as dumb as “Iraq owes us oil for the war” instead of news stories about the Mueller investigations?
Trump’s core voter base has no problem with racist imperialism, that’s why they want to build a wall on the Mexican border. So while a comment about Iraq owing the United States oil may outrage or shock centrists and leftists, it’s something that many radical right Trump supports actively want to happen.
Trump loves to tell his fan base that he’s an anti-establishment candidate and that the media hates him, and while there’s definitely a portion of the media that doesn’t like him. Trump is by all means an establishment president, or at the very least, does not actively fight the establishment.
That’s part of the reason why Trump scandals seem so constant, and so confusing, Trump wants it to be that way. Whether that’s done by intentionally stirring controversy, or by leaking old news stories, Trump is going to continue to get that done.