Weekly Letter to the President
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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
June 17, 2016
Mr. President: "Unhinged and unstable". That was the verdict of Daniel Gilroy, a
former Fort Pierce police officer, who once worked for G4S providing security at PGA
Village, a golf resort, along with Omar Mateen who had a follow-up shift. He
described Mateen as toxic, stalking him with dozens of text and phone messages
daily, and talking about killing people. Concerned about his own safety and of his
family, he quit when G4S did not respond to his complaints about Mateen.
"He was mentally unstable and mentally ill," according to his ex-wife Sitora Yusifiy.
She thought he was bipolar. The marriage lasted only four months because of abuse
although the formal divorce was two years after their marriage. She was so restricted
by him that her parents had to fly to Florida and literally snatch her away.
While there is evidence now of curiosity about IS on his part, there is none of any
involvement, except his professing allegiance in a phone call to emergency services.
But then he also claimed allegiance to Hizbollah in the same call. The two
organizations, the first Sunni, the other Shia, are sworn enemies. Clearly an
unstable, confused perpetrator, who had on two occasions been investigated by the
FBI and deemed not a threat. Some event clearly set him off.
It is also now known that he had frequented PULSE, the gay club he shot up,
previously and thus was a latent homosexual, which in a religious family triggered
self-hate and homophobia.
A very disturbed man, who was able to purchase a deadly assault weapon, just a few
days before he employed it. Yet the focus of the media, instead of discussing an
assault weapons ban, is on "Islamic Terrorism". Never Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh
or Buddhist terrorism, even when Buddhists murder and eject centuries-old Rohingya
Muslim residents of Myanmar. We can not manufacture hobgoblins if we are to retain
influence among the 1.7 billion Muslims in the world. Terrorism is, was, and will be a
political act, not a religious one.
A reduced presence in the Middle East will most likely mitigate the terror threat. Who
attacks Sweden or Switzerland for example? Moreover, force does not help,
particularly bombing with its indiscriminate victims. "Every bomb recruits more
supporters," notes Phyllis Bennis, an Institute for Policy Studies fellow, in responding
to President Obama's authorization of new airstrikes in 2014 targeting IS in Iraq.
Yesterday, CIA chief John Brennan admitted the failure of a military strategy as well
as economic pressure. Appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he
averred "... our efforts have not reduced the groups' terrorism ability and global
It is therefore difficult to understand the leaked letter from 51 State Department
diplomats arguing strikes against Assad's forces. He may be violating the ceasefire
but his forces did not initiate the violations. The State Department program allowing
dissenters a voice is commendable but leaking the dissent to the press should carry
serious punishment for it can hamper and distract from a consistent policy and
borders on disloyalty. The honorable way to express strong disagreement is to resign
but honor has little place in a shameless world where celebrity is king.