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
September 12, 2015
Mr. President: As we mark the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attack and the
unwarranted taking of civilian life, one cannot but be appalled also at the
consequences. The badly mismanaged response led to the loss of additional
thousands of American lives and the deaths of many times more innocent civilians in
the countries attacked, all without exception having absolutely no involvement in the
Disaffected and disgruntled expatriates, who have urged military action against their
former homelands in the past and continue to do so despite their ravaged countries
are paraded in the news media to absolve our responsibility whenever one of their
countries is in the news -- usually
because of our bombing or other military campaigns or some new horror due to the
anarchy left behind.
The latest are Syrians in the Chicago area permitted a voice across the political
spectrum from the right-wing Chicago Tribune to left-leaning National Public Radio.
The chief villain is Bashar al-Assad who has to go and must never be allowed to stand
in an election. The reason is quite simple, he would win. And those with hands
dripping blood, must constantly wash them like a modern-day Lady Macbeth -- no
matter the continuing horror by proxies, the proxies of proxies, and direct action like
providing arms, training insurgents, even bombing.
It is the bombing that turns the refugee trickle to torrent and flood. Imagine what
would happen here with the destroyed homes and infrastructure and debilitated
distribution channels ... no food in the supermarkets, then what?
In Yemen, despite years of strife, the civilian population stayed put. Then Saudi
Arabia started a bombing campaign against the latest group having the upper hand.
The Houthis who are predominantly, although not all, Shia were not to their liking.
The Shia are anathema to the Saudis, who practice a peculiarly fundamentalist and
intolerant brand of Sunni Islam. And their new interventionist king, who also cannot
abide the Iran deal, was not going to stand idly by.
So here we are, fourteen years after 9/11, in a flood of refugees to Europe and
elsewhere; a fraught, frightened world of terror and fear of terror.
And here at home in minority communities also fear; where police fear and are
feared. Minor incidents escalate to confrontation and tragedy is often the result.
Then there is true horror. This week the dismembered body of a two-to-three-year
old African-American toddler turned up in a lagoon. Police divers are bringing up
body parts. A facial reconstruction and DNA analysis, they hope, will help in
identification. Since no such child was reported missing, the obvious question: what
sort of demented, desperate parent or guardian would do such a thing? The same
question could be asked in Germany (the current destination paradise for refugees)
where some years ago a man was advertising for and finding willing dinner
companions who came to be eaten.
Welcome to the 21st century where leaders and politicians can never solve problems
(as current stock market gyrations and the fuss over the Iran deal demonstrate)
because the source of the problems are their own sponsors/donors. It remains
amazing that the Iran agreement cannot muster the required majority in the Senate,
thus can not be called a treaty, and has to rely on the power of the presidential veto
and an over one-third minority.