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
Oct 21, 2011
Mr. President: The spokesman for the Libya NTC announcing Gaddafi's
killing yesterday said it was a day of celebration ... 40 years of oppression
and slavery had ended ... Libyans were free again. The caption at the
bottom of the screen identified him as Gaddafi's former Energy Minister. The
current leader of the NTC is Gaddafi's former Justice Minister. And all the
killing and destruction.
Sirte looks bombed into the stone age. Three hundred and thirty bodies
discovered there shot at close range, arms tied behind their backs. The NTC
forces claim it was Gaddafi loyalists, leaving open the question why they
would kill their own. Gaddafi himself is dead while questions remain about
his last moments. A video has surfaced. It shows him walking with his
captors. The U.N. Human Rights Commission has called for an investigation
as it now looks like the summary execution of a wounded man. But in our
new age, summary executions are commonplace.
Trillions wasted on wars where our presence has fueled extremists. We are
finally withdrawing from Iraq; the country destroyed, 5 million displaced,
almost a million deaths directly and indirectly attributed to the war according
to most academic studies. We have left a democracy: the Shia vote for Shia,
the Sunni for Sunni and the Kurds are more or less on their own -- just
emboldened to attack the Turkish border where simmering embers of the
Kurdish liberation movement are catching alight again. This week 24 Turks
were killed in an attack.
In Iraq, we are unable to maintain a small presence as we would have
preferred: the major stumbling block, Moqtada al-Sadr. He is closely allied
with Iran -- as is the Prime Minister and is a significant entity in the ruling
coalition. Just about every analyst now concludes Iran has been the real
victor in Iraq.
And our soldiers are still dying there evident to anyone who looks at the
roster of war dead displayed on the PBS News Hour whenever the Pentagon
releases the names. It is painful to look at young lives cut down in their
prime, not to mention the much larger numbers of young men returning
wounded physically, and often mentally scarred.
Secretary of State Clinton went to Pakistan talking loud, and laying down the
law. Was it for the benefit of the home audience? She wanted definite
military action against the Haqqani network. She returned muttering meekly
about getting the Haqqanis to the negotiating table. As long as U.S. troops
stay in Afghanistan, Pakistan will have the winning hand -- it maintains the
main supply channel.
Trying to play the India card and sending Karzai to Delhi only forces the
Pakistanis to retain all strategic options, including the Haqqanis. A far more
sensible role for the U.S. is to become a trustworthy friend to both India and
Pakistan in the hope of eventually brokering a settlement, which would
cease the constant face-off between two nuclear-armed states harboring a
fifth of the world's population.