During a meeting with airline industry leaders at the White House on Thursday, President Trump lamented that the U.S. didn’t commit additional war crimes during the second Iraq War by pillaging the country’s oil.
After talking about the condition of American airports, Trump said, “We spent 6 trillion dollars in the Middle East. We’ve got nothing. We never even kept even a little tiny oil well. I said, ‘Keep the oil.’”
Trump suggested that the oil proceeds could fund a major government infrastructure project. “We’ve spent 6 trillion dollars in the Middle East. We have nothing, and we have an obsolete plane system, obsolete airports, obsolete trains, we have bad roads. We’re going to change all of that folks. You’re going to be so happy with Trump. I think you already are.”
Plundering a country’s natural resources is a war crime according to the Hague Conventions, which prohibits destroying or seizing an enemy’s property, and according the Geneva Conventions, which simply states, “pillage is prohibited.” The U.S. is a signatory to both.
“Maybe you’ll have another chance”
Trump claims to have been against the Iraq War from the beginning — he wasn’t — but argues that once the U.S. went in, the military should’ve pillaged Iraq’s oil.
During Trump’s first speech to CIA agents last month, he said, “We should’ve kept the oil… maybe you’ll have another chance.”
Stealing oil isn’t the only war crime President Trump has endorsed. During a recent interview with ABC News, President Trump said he “absolutely” thinks the sort of torture the U.S. used during the Iraq War is an effective counterterrorism tactic and refused to rule out bringing it back. But experts say torture produces unreliable intelligence. It’s also a violation of international law.