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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 17, 2019 (posted May 22,2019)

Mr. President:  Will there be war with Iran?  Will there not be war with Iran?  The
questions are being asked repeatedly in the media even though a single carrier task
force is steaming up there.  The expression is old for the latest carriers are nuclear
powered.  Imagine the mess if it was blown up.

There are two kinds of weapons in the world ... offensive and defensive.  The latter
are cheaper, a fighter plane compared to a bomber.  If a country does not (or cannot
afford to) have offensive intent, it makes sense to focus on defense.  It is what Iran
has done.  Moreover, its missile centered defense has a modern deadly twist -- the
missiles are precision-guided.

As an Iranian general remarked when questioned about the carrier task force:  some
years ago it would've been a threat he opined; now it's a target.  Iran also has a large
standing army of 350,000 plus a 120,000 strong Revolutionary Guard and Soviet
style air defenses.  In 2016 Russia started installation of the S-300 system.  It has all
kinds of variants, the most advanced, the S-300 PMU-3 has a range similar to the
S-400 if equipped with 40N6E missiles, which are used also in the S-400.  Their range
is 400 km, so the Iranian batteries are virtually S-400s.  The wily Putin has kept trump
satisfied with the S-300 moniker without short-changing his and China's strategic ally.  
The latter continuing to buy Iranian oil.

Iran has friends in Europe also.  Angela Merkel in particular has pointed out that Iran
has complied fully with the nuclear provisions of the UN Security Council backed Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action i.e. the Iran nuclear deal.  She is mustering the major
European powers.  Already alienated with Trump treating them as adversaries rather
than friends, they find Trump's bullying tiresome.  President Macron, his poll ratings
hitting the lowest, is hardly likely to engage in Trump's venture.  In Britain, Theresa
May is barely able to hold on to her job.  In the latest thrust by senior members of her
party, she has been asked to name the day she steps down.

So there we have it.  Nobody wants war with Iran.  Even Israel, so far without a
post-election government does not want to be rained upon by missiles leaky as its
Iron Dome was against homemade Palestinian rockets.

Topping all of this neither Trump nor Secretary of State Pompeo want war.  Trump is
as usual trying to bully -- now called maximum pressure -- Iran into submission.  It
won't.  The wild card is National Security Adviser John Bolton.  He wants war.  A Gulf
of Tonkin type false flag incident, or an Iranian misstep, or some accident can still set
it off.

In Iran itself, moderates like current President Hassan Rouhani are being weakened
by Trump's shenanigans.  The hard liners might well want to bleed America as
happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.