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
July 11, 2014
Mr. President: As one looks at the conflicts around the world, it soon becomes clear
they bear a heavy U.S. imprint. North and South Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan,
Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and its periphery, of course Latin America, and at
present the flare up in Israel.
Tensions in Hebron have always been high particularly when gun-toting settlers -- if
TV footage can be believed -- regularly abuse the locals. Of course, it does not
excuse the abduction and killing of three settler teenagers. It was a crime and should
be treated as such. So why was an innocent 15-year old Palestinian beaten and
burned to death? And why was a visiting Palestinian-American teenager arrested and
badly beaten by Israeli police?
Benjamin Netanyahu's response from the start has been to blame the elected Hamas
government for the killing of the three Israeli settler teenagers without presenting any
evidence. Instead of a criminal investigation, the military was used for a house to
house search. Hamas workers and supporters (operatives is the word used by our
media) who had been released in exchange for Gilad Shalit, the captured ('abducted'
is the words used by our media) Israeli soldier are back in custody.
This was not enough for Mr. Netanyahu. He has now unleashed the Air Force on
densely populated Gaza claiming the aim of destroying rocket-building sites but hitting
small workshops and people's houses. So far over a hundred are dead including
many women and children; nearly seven hundred are wounded and doubtless the
eventual number will be higher. For what? The real threat to Israel is demographic,
and the Palestinians have nowhere else to go.
Ms Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, has serious reservations whether
or not the bombing complies with international law prohibiting the targeting of
civilians. But such declarations have never stopped the Israelis in the past. Our
supine Congress blames terrorists without ever asking how they originate. And
America ... mocked and disliked throughout the world.
For the first time in its history, the German government has asked the U.S.
intelligence station chief to leave the country. In diplomatic hair-splitting, it is a
request not an expulsion but the end result will be the same.
So, if we have to spy on the Germans and the Israelis spy on us (the Pollard case, the
operative at AIPAC are examples), who are our real friends? Yes, we get their vote at
the UN Security Council only to be blocked by China or Russia, but the miniscule
percentage of forces in those 'coalitions of the willing' speaks volumes.
Better to fight them there than here. Sure, if you get the right 'them'. Secular Iraq
with a Christian prime minister in the Saddam Hussein regime kept al-Qaeda at bay.
Now Iraq is swarming with its adherents.
Pakistan did not have a problem with fundamentalists before the 'war against terror' in
Afghanistan. Now it is the victim of this terror; its military busy trying to eradicate it at
And in Afghanistan the Taliban remain a force to be reckoned with .. except we are
Meanwhile, Russia is busy making inroads in our backyard. Vladimir Putin is on a
Latin American tour starting in Cuba forgiving the Soviet period loans. Ninety percent
of the $35 billion owed has been written off. The remainder will be used in mutually
agreed investment projects. He will be in Brazil for the World Cup final, meeting with
Dilma Rousseff, another U.S. victim like Angela Merkel of telephone bugging and
angry enough to cancel a state visit here.
The Russian bear is awake.