Wednesday night, Donald Trump repeated his claim that the United States should have taken Iraq’s oil because, and he said this with a straight face, “to the victor go the spoils.” Shortly after that, retired Lt. General Mark Hertling tore into the Republican candidate’s disgusting remarks:
“The idea of to the victor go the spoils, it implies that Iraq itself is the enemy,” Cooper observed. “And we have crushed them and now we’re taking their oil.”
“It implies that the U.S. military that’s there is a mercenary force,” Hertling pointed out. “It is not the American way of war to go and occupy land, steal its resources, rape its women and do the kind of things that Mr. Trump is saying.”
Lt. Gen. Hertling nails it on the head here. While some wars (I’m looking at you, Vietnam) saw widespread human rights abuses by American troops, it is not the policy or mindset of the American military to plunder the countryside for treasure.
But Donald Trump is, at heart, a savage only constrained by public scrutiny. For him to impart his sense of lawless entitlement to America’s military would be an unthinkable disaster for the entire planet. As it is, we’re too lax on crimes committed by the troops abroad; I can only imagine that Vietnam would look like profile in restraint compared to what official policy would be under a President Trump.
Lt. Gen. Hertling then perfectly summed up Donald Trump, his foreign policy and his followers in one single sentence:
“It is a simplistic approach that is appealing to a certain percentage of Americans.”
Exactly. A certain percentage that is, itself, simplistic; capable of only seeing the world in black and white, us and them. Nuance and complexity is the enemy and life must fit on a bumper sticker in order to be understood.
These are not the people that should be allowed to control this country or there won’t be much of a country left when they’re done with it.