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
May 1, 2015
Mr. President: April 30th is an anniversary we would rather forget but for Vietnam it
was historic. In 1975 on this day, the Vietnamese clinched their victory, completing
the reunification of their country. Could the war have been avoided? Of course, it
could. The West failed to honor, post WWII, the understanding for the country's
independence. The French were allowed to return as colonial masters and stayed
until defeated. Then the promised countrywide referendum was never held and the
U.S. assumed the mantle of supporting the weak, corrupt government in the South.
The bogey then was Communism. Somehow, the communists were always about to
snatch away our freedom -- now it is the Islamists. Then we were watching out for the
communist under your bed, now it is Islamophobia.
Both with tragic results: unnecessary wars, millions of displaced and lives lost, and
tragedies at home. Blacklists then, killings of innocents now -- including three killed
(kneeling execution style, shot in the back of the head) in a Chapel Hill, N.C. parking
lot just recently. Police claim it was a parking dispute, but the facts belie the theory. It
defies reason for a hot-tempered dispute to result in a cold-blooded execution without
any signs of physical confrontation.
So the Vietnamese celebrated Victory Day -- the tank that first entered the grounds of
the President's palace in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) is displayed in a Victory
Museum. We learned lessons from the war; unfortunately, they did not last.
The supreme irony of course is that communist countries have since become our
biggest trading partners. China comes to mind and little Vietnam sends $33 billion in
exports. Russia, which gave up on communism is fast being made into an enemy.
We want to bring it to heel; it resists. We want to peel off its former constituents,
some with substantial Russian-speaking populations; it won't let us. So the Georgian
invasion of neighbors failed, Crimea failed, and the rest of Ukraine is in a mess.
All of this when Russia is the one country in the world capable of annihilating us in a
matter of minutes. They are also, at present, the only country who can ferry our
astronauts to the International Space Station.
To many, our actions violate international law and compromise our own legal
principles as we bomb countries at will, and kill Americans without trial.
On another subject ... a few years ago my elderly neighbor was involved in a traffic
accident. Battered and badly bruised, she was able to walk away thanks to the safety
devices in our cars. Who was instrumental in forcing reluctant manufactures to install
them? Ralph Nader. How many lives has this one man saved? Too many to count.
He should be a national hero, so it pains one to read his letters to your While House
are not even acknowledged. His new book "Return to Sender" publishes the letters.