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 27, 2016
Mr. President: The argument for and against the atomic bombing of Japan will go
back and forth. If the targeting of civilians and the killing of civilians is a war crime,
then the simple answer to the bombardment of cities is to make it a war crime. The
firebombing of Tokyo was appalling as were the air attacks on Dresden and Coventry,
destroying the cathedral, and of course the blitz on London.
The Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8:16 A.M. Why that time was chosen I do not
know but it was when children were in the open, exposed as they walked to school,
adults were going to work ... the city was abuzz with traffic. It was exactly a time when
the fireball and descending radioactive ash did the most damage. An hour or two
earlier or later, they would have been indoors, fewer children and adults would have
been incinerated, or suffered severe burns, or the misery of radiation sickness,
There is a troubling pattern in this administration. It is disingenuous to deliver
speeches on a world of peace while conducting wars; to long for a world without
nuclear weapons while initiating a trillion dollar domestic program to improve them; to
talk of peace with the Taliban while assassinating the leader, as happened this week;
to publicly advocate controls on banking in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis while
privately lobbying the House Banking Committee against them.
In a world where military bullying is commonplace, no small nuclear power is ever
going to up its trump card; obvious examples are Pakistan having to face India and
North Korea the combined might of the U.S. and South Korea. Whatever we may
think of Kim Jong Un and however he is caricatured in the press, the man is not going
to give up his country's premier asset.
Moreover, the U.S. with its overwhelmingly superior military will have an unfair
advantage in a nuclear-free world. Would we then be willing to disarm to parity with
rivals to attain a nuclear-weapons-free world? Would India be willing to ratchet down
to satisfy Pakistan? It is more likely going to point to China as the reason it cannot
and so on ...
The genie is out of the bottle; nuclear disarmament in a pipe dream. No leader or
politician will say it but, as has been envisioned by others, the only sane course is an
incorruptible universal court of justice to which each country surrenders its
sovereignty, to the extent it rules on its disputes with others.
When the U.S. and the other major powers are willing to accept the authority of such
a body, the world will have have taken the first steps on the road to sanity. In the
meantime, as the saying goes, talk is cheap ...