Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
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
April 15, 2016
Mr. President: Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the Hiroshima Memorial could
be a turning point if this country is serious about pursuing a concrete plan to reduce
and then eliminate nuclear weapons -- the goal laid out in your 2009 Prague speech
inaugurating the Nuclear Security Summit. We have now had the fourth and final
summit without getting any closer to that goal.
With good reason, this administration has become known for flowery rhetoric with
laudable aims while at the same time pursuing the nitty gritty of everyday policies and
politics. Thus it is with nuclear weapons.
A new report by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability titled "Trillion Dollar
Trainwreck: Out-of-Control US Nuclear Weapons Programs Accelerate Spending,
Proliferation, Health and Safety Risks." Quite a mouthful but tellingly descriptive.
Marylia Kelley, one of the report's authors, notes the 30-year trillion dollar plan to
upgrade every part of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile is inherently unstable.
In particular, the Long-Range Standoff weapon, which allows a bomber to stand off its
intended target and launch a nuclear-armed cruise missile from a thousand-plus miles
away. The missile hugs the terrain, evading radar in a surprise nuclear attack.
Instead of deterrence, this is more like using these weapons as an extension of war.
MAD our mutually assured destruction doctrine and its deterrence effect was
successful, but this new weapon is inherently unstable and initiates a new arms race.
This is 'mad' in small letters and the polar opposite of the rhetoric.
As it was, submarine launched ballistic missiles gave little warning if the sub was close
to shore, but this cruise missile gives no warning at all. Not surprisingly, the Russians
have a long range cruise missile they showed off at the beginning of their Syrian
engagement; doubtless they too are now fashioning a nuclear weapon for it. It's a far
cry from a nuclear-free world.
Syria held elections on April 14. A massive turnout and difficulties on the ground
resulted in the the 7000 polling stations being kept open an extra five hours. While
the State Department has led by declaring these elections illegitimate, the media
without supplying concrete evidence, has been denigrating them. The fact they can
hold this parliamentary election without rebel disruption speaks volumes.
For the presidential election, Bashar al-Assad has offered to let the rebel opposition
field candidates against him as part of a peace deal. That this offer has been
rejected out of hand also speaks volumes. The rational Syrian is going to choose
order over chaos, and, with Libya and Iraq as examples, Assad is likely to have a
resounding victory. Again facts when they do not align with our narrative do not exist.
Why we have been toppling secular regimes, only to have them replaced with
intrinsically destabilizing (possibly even a danger to us) religious fundamentalist
chaos, remains a mystery wrapped in a conundrum, known only to our two major