Archive for June, 2005

Foreign Policy: Iraq

June 29, 2005

I have not yet blogged on any political hot button topics. This was not because I hadn't had any thoughts concerning politics. I just didn’t want people to think that was the intent of the blog. After Bush's speech address last night I have a few thoughts. Let me make no qualms about it, I support the War on Terror and I voted for George W. Bush. If you can not be open minded enough to expose yourself to a political ideology that differs from yours I suggest you not read this blog.

I support the War on Terror because it is the proactive approach to confront hate driven ideologies that we should have put in place a long time ago. Ever since WWII, the United States seemed to have a policy of prevention. Prevent North Korea from invading South Korea. Attempting to prevent North Vietnam from attacking South Vietnam. In the early 90s it was prevent Iraq from invading Kuwait. Evil, freedom hating, tyrannical dictatorships could exist as long as they only terrorized and killed those who lived within their borders. And why not, if they kept it within their borders it doesn't affect us as Americans right? Wrong.

By allowing them to exist we allowed them to strengthen and on September 11th, 2001 they brought the terror to us and kicked us in the mouth. So what was our reaction? It was to uproot the Taliban government in Afghanistan that protected terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and to go after bin Laden. Our next, and obviously much more controversial step, was to go in the tyrannical terrorist hotbed of Iraq and uproot Saddam Hussein and the terrorists.

Many people claimed the terrorists were in Afghanistan and had nothing to do with Iraq. Let me say this, the terrorist ideology and their network is not limited by a country's border. This is made obvious by the number of insurgents including Zarqawi who is Al-Qaeda. That is the last time I will refer to these men as insurgents; they are terrorists. The bias of the liberal media resulted in defining these men insurgents because calling them terrorists would be to admit that President Bush was right. How can al Qaeda be terrorists when they attack us at home but be insurgents when they attack Americans and innocent people in Iraq?

Anyways, getting back to the timeline. So we send troops to Afghanistan and a little over a year later we decide to go after Iraq. The plan was to defeat the government who creates the most anti-American sentiment, bring those tyrants and terrorists to justice, and to bring democracy and freedom to the Middle East.

There is a lot of talk about how Bush and the U.S. military did not have a plan going into this war. Let me break down some facts for you. First off Iraq is a big country, roughly the size of Texas but with slightly more people and less land size, with conditions that are not ideal for tanks. Second, Baghdad, the biggest city in Iraq and capital, is located dead in the middle of the country. I watched a history channel special that focused on the take over and ranked it one of the best in history in terms of how swift the take over was and how few lives were lost. Here is a quick recap of how quick it truly was…
We launch the attack on March 19.
By April 9th we had secured Baghdad. (20 Days)
April 23rd we arrive in Fallujah which we now know is where a majority of Al-Qaeda fled. (34 Days)
On July 22nd troops kill Saddam's sons in a firefight in Mosul (123 Days)
Thanksgiving, November 27th, President Bush and Condoleeza Rice secretly travel to Baghdad to have dinner with the troops (248 Days)
A little over 2 weeks later and less than 9 months from the initial invasion we capture Saddam Hussein. (262 Days)
President Bush should play the lottery if all that was accomplished without a plan.

At the beginning of the war many people argued we're engaging in this war because of oil. You hardly ever hear this anymore because that argument did not hold water. Oil and gasoline prices have gone up because of the war and we have spent more money than we will make back as a result of discounted energy from a new friendly nation. Two years later it is obvious that this conflict is about much more than dependance on energy from corrupt foreign nations.

The argument that there is not a connection between Iraq and terror SHOULD be settled by now but it isn't. An undeniable fact is that Saddam Hussein and his hatred for freedom and America, if nothing else, was a huge inspiration to these terrorists. I find it awfully ironic that we go to Iraq and what do we find? What has been the number one killer of US and Iraqi troops? Al-Qaeda terrorist groups, namely the one sponsored by Zarqawi who does have connections to bin Laden. But I guess that is all just coincidence and Zarqawi had no connections with Saddam or the American-hating Iraqi government. Hell he was probably just in Iraq on vacation with his family when our troops arrived being the loving man that he is.

I really do not understand why people who opposed the Iraq invasion so thoroughly wanted to give Iraq the benefit of the doubt. I am sure Saddam and his cronies had nothing to do with the terrorists who attacked us, they seem like nice enough guys. I doubt he would ever give any support or weapons to terrorists that they could use against us. I doubt he has any weapons of mass destruction even though there is intelligence that leads future Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry to believe there are. Saddam's not wanting UN weapons inspectors to be in Iraq has nothing to do with his plans for a WMD program.

Going back to the analogy, imagine looking for a bomb and all you know is it allegedly was built in Texas. It could be anywhere in Texas, it could have been dismantled by now, or it could be transported out of this area but while you are fighting in a war I want you to find this bomb. If you were expecting them to come on the news and say, “They found a WMD factory in a warehouse in the middle of Baghdad with 6 nuclear weapons” then you were mistaken. If there were weapons with a big red button on them they would have been detonated by now.

The military gets very little credit for how efficient they have been. They have been there over two years and in that little amount of time they have accomplished a ton. They ousted Hussein and the government that had been in place for 3 decades which is an underappreciated accomplishment. They have established democracy and held elections in a region that has not had democracy. The progress in Iraq has encouraged Syria, Turkey, and other surrounding nations in the Middle East are moving towards democracy. They uncovered a hornet’s nest of terrorists and have apprehended and taken prisoner a huge chunk of the terrorist network. They have kept the terrorists on the run and as a result the fight is being fought on their soil and at home we have experienced secure stable lives. They managed to accomplish all this in two years and at the expense of only 1,700 Americans Soldiers. Men die in wars; that is an undeniable fact. If your goal is to doing something great then chances are its not going to come easy. But if you break down U.S. wars by what was accomplished and how many lives were lost, Iraq may be one of the most successful operations in our country’s history.

War: Revolutionary War
Accomplishment: Freedom from England
American Lives Lost: 6,824

War: Civil War
Accomplishment: Abolished slavery, prevented the nation from splitting
American Lives Lost: 359,528

War: WWI
Accomplishment: Prevents German takeover of Europe and German alliance with Mexico
American Lives Lost: 126,000

War: WWII
Accomplishment: Ends Holocaust and Nazi take over of Europe
American Lives Lost: 407,000

War: Vietnam War
Accomplishment: Attempted to prevent Communist North Vietnam to take over South Vietnam but failed
American Lives Lost: 58,226

War: Iraq
Accomplishments to date: Ousted Saddam Hussein, established democracy and held elections in the Middle East, captured terrorists
American Lives Lost to date: 1,744

Go find the nearest 7 year old and ask her which number doesn’t fit. I understand there are more consequences that just lost lives. Funding wars are not free but our economy is already coming back around and the deficit that the war has caused has not resulted in such rampant inflation that our lives have been affected. It outrages me when people say that Iraq is the Vietnam of this generation. We have already had 10 times more success in 2 years in Iraq than we had in nearly 20 years in Vietnam and we have not endured anywhere near the sacrifice.

And how ironic that Kofi Annan , Secretary-General of the UN, and Jacques Chirac, France’s President, who were so adamantly opposed to the invasion of Iraq ended up being found to be the main players in the Iraqi Oil-for-Food scandal. What would ousting Saddam Hussein bring to them besides an end to cheap oil and big dollar kickbacks?

Whether or not you agree with the war and support our president’s decisions and the efforts of our soldiers you can sleep easy at night knowing you and the rest of the world is safer.

hj

Texas A&M-Texas Tech Rivalry Starts in Dallas

June 24, 2005

Many of you may have heard that Texas A&M and Texas Tech are close to finalizing a deal that would setup a neutral site game that would be played in Dallas every year. The reactions I have seen are very mixed. I am very much a fan of the idea. Tech fans seem to have mixed reactions towards the idea with the majority in favor of it. Texas A&M fans are mixed too but the majority of their fan base seems opposed to the idea. Basically what it boils down to is Tech loves beating the Aggies in Lubbock so they would lose that, but they would more clearly establish a rival and the neutral site game could turn into a big event. The Aggies like the idea of not having to go to play in Lubbock, but they are not onboard with the idea of losing a home game at Kyle nor do they like the idea that they are imitating their daddy UT by creating a pseudo-Red River Shootout.

First, I am in favor of this game from a Longhorn perspective. This is a budding rivalry and there have been great games in the past (2 OT games in the past 3 years). But the fact is the game does not get any TV coverage. The 1 pt overtime game 3 years ago wasn't even available pay per view and the game in Lubbock was on FSN at like 9 o'clock Saturday night. No TV coverage means 1. no exposure nationally to some real good Texas Football 2. No TV revenues that are shared amongst the Big 12. Texas and OU do a lot of damage pulling down TV money and Bowl money but those monies are distributed amongst the schools in the Big 12. So a school like Baylor who has never contributed to either Bowl or TV money sits back and gets a fat paycheck every year. If the Big 12 has an opportunity to increase exposure to its brand of football they should do so and a game at Texas Stadium would do just that. I am also in favor of this from a UT point of view in that it redirects A&M's focus toward their primary rivalry with Tech. The fact is the Texas-Texas A&M was always a one sided rivalry and in the past decade it is a dieing rivalry. This is a totally different Texas A&M athletic program that has no history with UT. Since Bill Byrne became their Athletic Director a couple of years ago they have new football, basketball, and as of this week baseball coaching staffs that have no history with Texas. This is a good breaking point for the scene to evolve into Texas-OU and Texas A&M-Texas Tech. Texas-Texas A&M will always be a big game and it was always be a rivalry of some sort but it will not be THE rivalry for either school.

Second, I think it is good for both of schools involved. The game would be played in Texas Stadium and then most likely moved to the new Cowboy stadium later. Both schools are paid $5 million a year. Texas Tech will gladly take that raise not to mention the added convenience of playing in the backyard of the city with their #1 alumni base. However, I have heard some Aggies try to flatter themselves claiming this game would not make sense economically. Last year 82, 278, I being one of them, came through the gates at Kyle Field to watch this game. Let's say a little over 20,000 of them were students so 60,000 paid a face value of $75. That's $4.5 million. So when you add in concessions and whatever else the revenue does come in over $5 million. But then I started to think about it. This is Aggie math. They are forgetting the $5 million check that comes the year the game would have been in Lubbock. So the pay the receive for moving the game from Kyle is actually $10 million and there is no way they make more than that in one home game.

Another plus for both schools is that they establish a foothold in the Dallas area recruiting base which has produced more D-1A recruits than any city in Texas in the past few years. This is actually bad news to Texas fans but it is much WORSE news for OU fans who makes a living recruiting Dallas so I think it actually helps Texas in the end. If Texas loses a couple, OU loses several, and all those lost stay in Texas and go to A&M and Tech I will be happy.
One exciting feature about this game is that if OU and Texas can consistently prove to be BCS Bowl bound(which is a BIG IF) the winner of the Tech-A&M game 9 times out of 10 will get a bid to play in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas with the loser having to travel to play in the Holiday Bowl. This was the case last year when A&M beat Tech in overtime and got the bid to the Cotton and Tech went west to the Holiday.

But for all this to work Texas A&M needs to accept that Tech is their rival and that is not going to be easy. A&M loves to compare themselves with Texas and think of themselves as superior to Tech. The fact is the Texas-Texas A&M all time series is at 72-35-4 in favor of Texas while Texas A&M hold a slight lead 34-28-1 over Texas Tech. It doesn't take a math major to see that the A&M-Tech rivalry is much more competitive. And the A&M-Tech all time series record is even misleading because Tech has the advantage if you just look at the past 50 years. Some more facts for you. Texas A&M has only won 1 more game in the past decade than Texas Tech. Texas A&M has won only 1 BOWL GAME in the past decade(and that was a win over TCU in the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl) while Texas Tech has won 3 straight. Head to head Texas Tech has beaten Texas A&M 3 of the last 4 years and 7 of the last 10 times they have played. Tech has finished with a better record 3 years in a row. Enough already. You can throw this A&M superiority out the window.

Last, I think Dallas wins big time. The plan I hear most commonly is to have the game the night of the Texas-OU game. I am not sure that this is the best way to do it but if that was the case that would be the most football rich day in one city during the entire football season. Dallas would be crawling with thousands and thousands of college kids partying and it would be a lot of fun. For a metroplex dominated by pro football and lacking big time college football, sorry UNT, SMU, and TCU but it's true, this would change Dallas from being a historical site for the Texas-OU game to the hub of Texas Football for all levels.

I have expressed my displeasure many times with new NFL stadiums, or new stadiums in general, and I am 100% against the new Cowboy stadium especially considering its public tax payer money going towards private pockets. But the political and economic issues a side what I dislike most is the lack of character in these new stadiums partly because there is no historical significance to the stadium and partly because ticket prices are too expensive for Average Joe rabid fan to attend. Reliant Stadium is 100 times nicer than Texas Stadium or the Cotton Bowl but there is no question which stadium is the least significant to the fans/players/schools, etc. My point in all this is if they A&M-Tech game moved into the new "JerryDome" the college flavor would add some character.

I am completely sold that moving this game to Dallas would be a great idea. The only cost I think I left out would be the cost to the Aggies to hire a new songwriter to rewrite their Fight Song or as they like to refer to it Nazi style, War Hymn.

hj

PS- Chalk up one more championship for Texas. 3 Super Bowls, 5 NBA World Championships, and a Stanley Cup Trophy in the past 15 years.