Weekly Letter to the President
Copyright © 2017
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
March 23, 2018 (posted March 26, 2018)
Mr. President: March 20 went by nearly unnoticed. It was the 15th anniversary of the
Iraq war. Exactly one week earlier seven marines lost their lives in western Iraq in
what was reported as a helicopter crash. The war has not ended. The flattening of
cities to recapture them from ISIS also flattens civilians. How many dead? Who
knows? Or, for that matter, who cares? Yemen? Where's that?
A Nobel Peace Laureate destroys Libya and starts the Syrian mayhem. According to
him the war in Afghanistan is good. Of course, he never saw a young man, legs
blown off, screaming for someone to kill him.
If only our forces had stayed longer in Iraq ... really? The results of the Afghan surge
are apparent on any map, and the Taliban continue to bomb the most secure section
of Kabul, the green zone, with impunity.
The man at the top may espouse the highest moral principles, be a man of faith, or a
lascivious bimbo chaser; the results are the same. And the children learn their
lessons well -- school shootings averaging one per week this year (one in Maryland
last Tuesday) as the unthinkable becomes commonplace.
What news had the ear of the American people on the anniversary of the Iraq War?
Not a discussion of how and why, or of the neocons maneuvering behind the
scenes. No, it was another Playboy centerfold, Karen McDougal, eager to jump on
the cash and media publicity bandwagon suing for the right to tell her story. Already
paid $150,000, she wants more. To start with, the now 46-year old is selling
autographed nude posters from her modeling days for $85 a copy.
Ms. McDougal had an affair with Trump in 2006 when he was married to Melania. The
story was quashed in a tabloid 'catch and kill' operation by American Media Inc., the
owner the national Enquirer, which is headed by David Pecker, a close friend of
Donald Trump. The contract Ms. McDougal signed gave AMI exclusive rights to her
story forever but did not require the company to publish it. It simply made her shut
up. Well, she has been on CNN, and last week's bimbo in the news, porn star Stormy
Daniels' interview is to air this Sunday on CBS 60 Minutes. It may be a calculated
gamble for both.
The sordid affair eclipsed any talk of the cost of U.S. wars -- about $5 trillion
according to the Watson Institute at Brown University. Meanwhile, the infrastructure is
falling apart. Pot-holed roads, dangerous bridges occasionally collapsing, railroads a
half-century behind Europe or Japan or even China in some respects, and the city of
Flint, Michigan could have gotten potable water. School systems, locally financed
through real estate taxes, suffer in poor neighborhoods where Federal cash would
not have been amiss.
Also taking a backseat was the heroine of the Iraq war vote, which gave President
Bush carte blanche. Barbara Lee, a Democrat representing California's 13th District
the sole voice in opposition as Senator and Congress members were led by the nose
to precipitate a war without waiting for the UN investigators to conclude their work in
Iraq and file a report on any weapons of mass destruction. It took enormous courage
on the part of Barbara Lee as she was vilified for her vote and faced numerous death
threats. A true tragedy that her voice fell on deaf ears.
Thousands of dead U.S. soldiers, tens of thousands wounded, hundreds of
thousands of civilians dead and millions displaced, many streaming into Europe. The
last causing electoral upheaval and a shot in the arm for right-wing extremists whose
parties are becoming an important electoral factor. Effects of their nationalisms are
evident as the UK is peeled off the EU and racism takes an ugly foothold in Europe.
In Trump's White House junction, the comings and goings continue. General H. R.
McMaster the National Security Adviser has been replaced by John Bolton -- the very
same John Bolton who as George Bush's ambassador to the UN managed to offend
and enrage almost every one. Suckled at neocon think tanks and the Muslim-baiting
Gatestone Institute, he can only increase the chances for war with Iran.