Trump's very first visit to the troops stirs up trouble in Iraq

Arturo Kim
December 28, 2018

I'm sure we'll be hearing about it if he said anything to question the existence of Santa Claus during his visit. In March, he told military families that he was handing out the first pay raise in a decade.

He promised a "strong, deliberate and orderly withdrawal" of forces from Syria.

CNN and other media outlets erupted after Mr. Trump signed the MAGA hats and other pro-Trump items during his stops this week to visit troops at bases in Iraq and Germany.

The US invasion of Iraq and the wars for regime-change initiated by Washington and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and regional allies in Libya and Syria have reduced entire societies to chaos and rubble.

"We just got you a big pay raise".

After campaigning on a pledge to rebuild the military, Trump secured a 10.4 percent increase in national defense spending in fiscal year 2018 ($700 billion) and another 2.3 percent in 2019 ($716 billion). We are always going to protect you.

"The nations of the region must step up and take more responsibility for their future", said Trump. "It was entirely inappropriate to use that as a point of a political rally". "It doesn't make a lot of sense".

A Defense Department directive states that personnel must refrain from engaging in partisan political activities when in uniform and "should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause".

The president and first lady greeted troops in Iraq in a dining hall, taking photos and signing autographs as part of the visit.

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Trump not only told the troops that he got them a fictional raise but he made up a scenario in which people didn't want to give them a raise, but he fought the fictional opposition for the troops because that's the kind of stand-up guy he is.

At the same time, he boasted of the massive United States military budget, which already exceeds the amount spent on armaments by the next eight major powers combined. It's the first time in 17 years that Hillary Clinton didn't top the list.

But Newsweek has reported that in a video Donald Trump tweeted after a festive visit to the troops in Iraq with Melania Trump this week, covert Navy Seals are identifiable from their kit, uniform and unblurred faces.

US troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State group.

The suggestion ran counter to the current sentiment of Iraqi politics, which favors claiming sovereignty over foreign and domestic policy and staying above the fray in regional conflicts.

He did not meet Iraqi officials while there but spoke on the phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

Iraqi lawmakers are seizing on President Donald Trump's surprise visit to demand US forces leave the country.

Trump said there are no plans to withdraw the 5,200 American troops deployed to Iraq, which Pentagon officials have indicated will have the ability to launch attacks into Syria.

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