This morning, (Friday 11/13) I heard Donald Trump on the radio with his next Overly Simplistic Big Idea.
After claiming that ISIS oil wells are earning them millions of dollars per week, Trump said that as president, “I would bomb the shit out of them. I would just bomb those suckers. And that's right: I'd blow up the pipes, I'd blow up the refineries. I would blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.”
He went on to say that our oil companies are very good at rebuilding, so he would send them in to rebuild, and then take the oil.
The article I linked didn’t mention that last part about taking the oil, but I heard a clip of him saying it this morning, and I’m paraphrasing to the best of my recollection. Plus, none of this is new; he’s been using this idea in his stump speeches all summer.
In Iowa, like it has on the stump, the idea of blowing up ISIS-held oilfields and taking the oil was met with raucous applause. Because of course it was. It’s a “feel-good” idea for the guys at the bar, that makes them feel powerful and in control. “Yeah, we’ll just blow’em up real gooooood.”
But as with most bumper sticker ideas, if you give a few minutes’ worth of thought on the matter, the whole thing unravels.
So I heard his quote on the radio this morning as I got up, and by the time I got out of the shower, I had this analysis.
The biggest problem isn’t necessarily the blowing up of the oil fields. Hell, we’re doing that now. The problem is rebuilding and taking the oil, and what it would require. You think ISIS is going to just let some Exxon engineers waltz in and rebuild the facility? Hell no. So it would require a constant US military presence to clear the area and ensure the builder’s safety.
It’s the same with operation; once the facilities have been rebuilt. ISIS would be relentless in trying to retake the area and resume reaping the glut of oil money. So our military would have to remain there, indefinitely, to maintain operations.
It’s the same with transporting the oil. The oil has to get to a refinery, or to a tanker ship (not necessarily in that order), and the transport avenues would be vulnerable to attack. We’d have to provide military escort until the product was out of the region. Indefinitely.
Now, add in the surrounding players in the oil business, in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the rest. Do you think they’ll be happy with an American oil-producing outpost smack in their back yard? (Putin will be pissed he didn’t do it first.) There will be a lot of international hell to pay over our blatant resource-grab. I’m thinking UN condemnation, trade sanctions, export tariffs, and whatnot. Regardless of whether we “care” or not, it will make the job a lot harder and more costly.
Wrap it all together and we now have a permanent American military presence in the middle east, the equivalent of a 3rd Gulf War. And for what? We can’t even kid ourselves that we’re sending our troops over there for national security. They’ll be there for the oil, plain and simple. Our soldiers will be fighting and dying so that the oil companies can line their pockets.
If you believe what you see on Facebook, conservatives lay claim to being the most fervently supportive of the military. Yet judging from the popularity of Trump’s statement, they show no hesitation to send them into a war-for-profit.
Maybe I’m “un-American,” but in addition to providing education, employment opportunities and health care for veterans, I say we should support the troops by not sending them into wars of choice. The Department of Defense should be about defending, not the forced acquisitions of foreign resources, for the exclusive benefit of a select few.
If the oil companies want to commandeer mid-east oil fields, let them purchase security directly through the defense contractors like Halliburton, and leave our troops and the taxpayers out of it.
But you can’t put all that on a bumper sticker.