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Cable/Satellite-less Random Thoughts on Iraq and Terrorism

April 1, 2004

The presidential campaign season is on and even for me, a regular campaign junky, it seems too early to get into it. But as we hear Dick Clarke, Kerry, and all the other stuff being talked about, please keep one thing in mind: rational logical thought processes don not sell newspapers nor build cable audiences. Here are some of my rational thoughts, albeit positively influenced by the Harper family not having cable or satellite … on purpose.

Are the Saudis trying to defeat Bush?

When I worked for a major oil company a couple of decades ago, the oil price forecasting group resided on our floor. They regularly studied supply and demand and then forecasted up to 10 years in the future. From those guys I learned that OPEC is NOT a cartel. The correct economics term is that Saudi Arabia is a dominant supplier. By opening or closing valves in their vast oil fields, they control the price of oil. The other OPEC members have little influence on prices because their production combined is much smaller than the total Saudi Arabia production. So if election year prices are rising, the Saudi royal family is the cause. No one else can pull it off. I suspect they are rightfully worried that the effects of the Bush Doctrine will wash away their monarchy.

The invasion of Iraq was for oil

Oil is the fuel that makes democracies and free enterprises work. To have the largest oil supplies (other than Russia's) under the control of a monarchial dictatorship, a clerical dictatorship, and a secular dictatorship is not good for mankind.

Afghanistan's future required the downfall of Saddam

This one is very obvious to me. The Taliban pulled support from several countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Saddam. Pakistan could be the most easily persuaded to join us in protecting Afghanistan through diplomacy. An invasion of Iran would have brought clerical outrage. Invading Saudi Arabia would have unexplainable because they are an "ally". So it had to be Saddam. Looking at the Mideast map, you can see that now Iran and Saudi Arabia and Syria are effectively surrounded by democracies, albeit fledgling. The Bush Doctrine is a brilliant chess game.

What Clarke misses: Why the military did not press the case for attack during the Clinton years' terrorism
One of the key issues Dick Clarke, the civilian desk jockey, misses is why didn't the military press for attacks during the Clinton years? I believe it goes back to Somalia. The Battle of Mogadishu occurred early in the Clinton Administration. He sent the Army into a difficult situation and when they needed his support, William Jefferson Clinton left them high and dry. The father of Sgt. Randy Shughart got it right when at the ceremony in the White House presenting the Medal of Honor to his son posthumously. He told Bill Clinton that he was not fit to be president. I believe the rest of the military brass believed that also and made sure that no more Randy Shughart's were available to Bill Clinton for any preemptive action. Note my use of preemptive. If it had been defensive, our guys would have followed their oath and defended the country.

Bottom line: The character of the person in the White House does matter.

A generation of Iraqi children will remember US troops with affection

I had the honor of hearing a recently returned 101st Airborne Captain talk of his time in Iraq. He said the most underreported story was the school, road, and infrastructure construction going on in Iraq. I suspect that the Iraq children witnessing all this will grow up with memories like those French boys and girls along the Normandy coast, Calais, and other parts of northern France had of the Captain's predecessors in 1944.

Sam T. Harper S graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University. Following a tour in the US Navy and a stint as Operations Manager at Roadway Express, he earned his MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He was a contributor to "In Search of Excellence," the best selling business book of all time. Sam was also Manager, Economic Planning & Analysis at Sohio Petroleum, Partner and Chief Financial Officer at investment-banking firm Bridgemere Capital, and Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for Contemporary Studies, a San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank and international publishing firm that specializes in self-governing and entrepreneurial public policy. Sam was a chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party and the GOP co-host of California Political Review on KALW-FM in San Francisco. For nine years, Sam was the co-owner of the Tennessee based Institute for Local Effectiveness Training, LLC - a management consulting, training, and coaching firm. He recently was the campaign manager for a conservative candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives who successfully beat a ten year incumbent. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Finance and Development for a Tennessee based company that is a leader in food safety services.