Donald Trump on Wednesday upped the ante to his April call for America to stay in Iraq and take the oil as compensation for our efforts.
Speaking with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News's "On the Record," the real estate tycoon said, "We’ve lost tremendous numbers of great, young, beautiful soldiers. Those families should be given a couple of million dollars apiece from the Iraqi oil" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DONALD TRUMP: We have to rebuild our country. We have to stop rebuilding Iraq, which the day we leave, Iran is going to take over because we're not smart enough to figure out what to do. And I've said it from the beginning. In Iraq, they have the largest oil fields in the world except for Saudi Arabia, OK? We should reimburse ourselves. We should take it!
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: VAN SUSTEREN: Why didn't we?
TRUMP: Because we don't have intelligent leadership. It's very simple.
VAN SUSTEREN: But we've had -- we had President Bush, who was Republican. We have President Obama, who's a Democrat. Nobody's suggested that we -- you know, we get reimbursed.
TRUMP: You know, it's sort of interesting. When we first went into Iraq, smart people said, Oh, it's for the oil. It's for the oil. It wasn't for the oil. It's amazing. It wasn't for the oil.
The fact is, they have the second largest oil reserves in the world, and these people are going to make a fortune! And you know who's going to make it? Iran, because we've totally knocked out their armies, the Iraqi armies, totally just wiped them out. So there's no more army. So Iran, after hundreds of years of going back and forth, fighting back and forth, equal nations -- they're going to walk in the day we leave, they take over the oil reserves. And I hope you play this back in two years or three years because I will tell you, I never hear it from anyone else.
We should go in and we should, hey, to the victor go the spoils. We should go in and at a minimum, at an absolute minimum, reimburse ourselves with Iraqi oil. Now, the other thing, we’ve lost tremendous numbers of great, young, beautiful soldiers. Those families should be given a couple of million dollars apiece from the Iraqi oil. The people that are wounded, and I see them all over the streets of New York, I see them all over, those soldiers, those brave soldiers that are missing a leg, an arm, or worse, they should be given a million, two million, three million dollars. And you know what that is relative to the value of that tremendous reserve that you have in Iraq? It’s nothing. It’s nothing. We fight a war. We spend $1.3 trillion we get nothing. What do we get out of it?
VAN SUSTEREN: Is anyone, I mean, where is this oil now? I mean, I don't see a lot of money flowing into Iraq from their own oil.
TRUMP: Because they don't know how to take it themselves. I mean, they don't even know how to take it themselves. Look, the minute we leave, that whole thing's going to fall apart.
VAN SUSTEREN: So are you suggesting...
TRUMP: But Iran will take it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Leave now, or wait, or what would you do?
TRUMP: Well, I would take the oil, personally, but of course, some people think that's a very radical solution. Somebody said, Oh, that's a sovereign country. Wouldn't that be a terrible thing? What's a sovereign country?
Look, we spent $1.3 trillion in Iraq. We should at least reimburse ourselves. I would say much more than that, but somebody else would be more modest. We get nothing. What do we get out of it? Tell you what we get out of it. Iran will take over the minute we leave. As sure as you're standing there, Iran will take over the Iraqi oil fields and Iraq as soon as we leave.
Is he right? Is Iran waiting for our departure only to swoop in and radically increase its power in the region along with its oil wealth?
Or is this just more inflammatory hyperbole from a man that has almost made a living from inflammatory hyperbole?
Readers are advised that some of Trump's comments above didn't air on Wednesday's "On the Record" but instead were included in a fuller interview published at FoxNews.com.