Let’s go to the video and see exactly what presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump said at a rally on Tuesday, June 15th in Greensboro, NC.
“How about bringing baskets of money? Millions and millions of dollars, and handing it out. I want to know, who were the soldiers that had that job? ‘Cause I think they’re living very well right now, whoever they may be.”
OK, then. Perhaps Mr. Trump is thinking of Three Kings, director David O. Russell’s excellent (fictional) 1999 movie about the end of the first Gulf War, the one where George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube play corrupt U.S. troops out to steal Saddam’s secret gold stash.
The progressive veterans group VoteVets.org released a statement from Paul Eaton, a retired major general in the U.S. Army, who said Trump’s “smear” against American troops and veterans should disqualify him as a presidential candidate.
Trump’s spokesperson Hope Hicks immediately tried to quell any controversy, telling NBC News, “Mr. Trump was referring to Iraqi soldiers.”
Of course, as detailed by Military.com’s Bryant Jordan, more than 100 American service members were convicted of graft and corruption stemming from their handling of aid funds in both Iraq and Afghanistan. None of them are exactly living very well right now, but they did try to line their pockets when they were supposed to be serving their country.
Question for anyone who served in Iraq: were Iraqi troops responsible for handing out baskets of money? If so, were they corrupt? Did the United States screw up its oversight of the program?
Do you think U.S. troops are guilty of the widespread theft of funds intended to rebuild Iraq? Did you witness this for yourself when you served?
And finally, which troops was Mr. Trump talking about: Americans or Iraqis? Does it matter? Is either group guilty as charged? Do you believe statements like this are an attack on the character of the U.S. military? Or is Mr. Trump just shaking the tree to see which guilty parties fall out? Sound off!