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 27, 2012
Mr. President: A man goes into a movie theater in Aurora, CO, and shoots up the
audience killing and injuring scores. A couple of decades ago, it would have started a
national conversation. Now all we get is bickering about gun controls. One side
argues AK47's should not be in the hands of criminals. The man in Colorado was not,
and a lesser gun would have still killed people. The real issue is why such an event is
not uncommon here, whereas it is almost non-existent in Switzerland, a country where
adult males are supplied assault rifles by the government to keep and train with
annually for their defense force.
Another question is, why violence is fast becoming our only recourse for
impediments. It applies to individual and state actors. Not only this week does a
woman get twenty years for the attempted murder of her lover's wife but there are
dozens of other killings, and the news is flooded with violence and mayhem here and
across the world wherever we have left a footprint -- the latter often a consequence of
our government's interference and military interventions. Herewith a recent tally:
Attacks in Afghanistan reach record levels. We are there fighting a people, who
had nothing to do with 9/11, in league with an ethnic minority and a corrupt and hated
Three consecutive days (July 23, 24, 25) of bombings around Baghdad this week
kill a record number of people (around 400 with hundreds more wounded). Al-Qaeda
claims responsibility. The organization did not exist in Iraq until the U.S. arrived. Our
leaders claim to have brought Iraqis "freedom and democracy". Tell that to the
displaced (about five million including most of a Christian community that had lived
there from the earliest years of Christianity) and the families of the dead 100 to 500
thousand to even a million depending on the source.
The $5 trillion cost of the wars is bankrupting us as we struggle to pay interest on it
and the ever mounting deficit, in the face of a moribund economy. The GDP growth
rate announced in the economic report today was a tepid 1.5 percent, not enough to
make even a dent in the unemployment.
The opening ceremonies of the London Olympics dwelling on an economically
straitened Britain's past glory were a cogent reminder of where we too are headed if
this ship of state is not righted and steered into the wind soon.
In stark contrast, the Chinese dragon looked confidently into the future four hears
ago in Beijing. It is our largest creditor, yet we continue to needle it constantly with
the air of a hegemon. We are doing the same to Russia in Syria, where it has its only
Mediterranean naval base and is allied with the government.
As our actions continue to add to the legions of the dispossessed and displaced,
garnering enemies and swelling hatred in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in Libya,
and now in Syria, the question to ask is, are we really getting safer?