Monday, July 9, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 151


Got cash to burn? Crash a jet in China

Mary Carradine

What could you do with $1 million? It would probably take you several minutes, or even hours, to think about how you would spend that much
money. Cruise to the Bahamas? Pay off your massive accumulation of student loans? Buy a new car because yours reeks of mold from the flood?

Here's one more option to factor into your endless choices. For your $1 million, you can house 24 American hostages and disassemble a foreign
government's spy plane. You can even foot the bill for Chinese hostage guards. But your dollars aren't done stretching, friend. We'll even throw in a
tank of gas for the Chinese jet that's flying your precious spy plane back to the United States in pieces.

While the aforementioned package doesn't seem cheap, it certainly shouldn't cost $1 million. Where did they house our troops, the Four Seasons?
Who made all of those dang calls to the 976 numbers? I'll bet they also purchased a few pay-per-view movies and popped some popcorn. Imported
popcorn, even, made from the finest corn fields of Nebraska.

Yeah, I saw pictures of the American troops while they were being held in China. They were too busy indulging in five-course meals to smile at the
camera. "Lt. Osborne, that's your second bowl of rice today! You're going to eat us out of house and hostage prison if you don't slow down."

Who were the guards carefully watching the servicemen and the grounded aircraft? Were they gold-plated? Perhaps they were celebrities.
Goodness, we couldn't honestly expect Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu to guard the aircraft without reimbursing them for their precious time.

Maybe the Chinese government is running low on funds these days. Maybe our $1 million will help President Jiang Zemin and his cronies purchase
some ammunition so they can execute several thousand criminals. What kinds of criminals? Murderers? Rapists? Actually, they like to publicly
execute thieves, pimps and separatists there, too. These things cost money, I'll have you know. Renting out a local soccer stadium to watch 10 pimps
line up and get shot in the head isn't cheap. China obviously needs our help.

Er, I mean -- China needs its rightful reimbursement. After all, it is our fault that Chinese pilots don't know how to fly their own jets. And we shouldn't
have had our sneaky American ears to their coastline trying to intercept sensitive government information and signals.

Reconnaissance flights just aren't fair, and they sure aren't in keeping with the honest spirit of government. Nobody should be able to conduct them --
except China. They can drag our coast, and anyone else's, until the proverbial cows come home.

Until then, we'd better start checking under the couch cushions for some cash. It's time to pay for the damage.

Carradine, a senior computer engineering 
technology major, can be reached at

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