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
November 20, 2015
Mr. President: Today terrorists seized around 150 hostages at the Radisson Blu
hotel in Bamako a town in the southwest of Mali. In the ensuing gunfight against
security forces 27 people were killed. These radical groups have mushroomed in
Africa following the destabilization of Libya, itself partly under the control of radicals
sponsored by us to bring down the Gadaffi government. Many of these extremists
from Libya are now fighting the secular Asad regime under the ISIL banner.
ISIL has been under pressure through round-the-clock air attacks by Russia, France
and the US, and it seems able to respond. The Russians now agree the Russian
tourist charter plane that crashed in the Sinai was brought down by a bomb.
This week the news has been full of the ISIL-claimed attacks in Paris last Friday. The
number of almost simultaneous atrocities, the numbers killed (129) and wounded
(352), in a usually safe city have left people horrified and in a state of shock.
So how did ISIL come about? Among the Democratic presidential candidates Bernie
Sanders blames the Iraq war and the power vacuum it created; Hillary Clinton, having
voted for the war, would rather concentrate on the aftermath. She wants a no-fly
zone in Syria. But the air force is the Asad governments major advantage, so will the
Russians suddenly drop Asad after putting in a major effort to help him, or does Mrs.
Clinton plan to fight the Russian air force in enforcing it?
The leading Republican candidates do not mind sounding like proto-Nazis. Donald
Trump would want all Muslims to have special IDs not unlike Jews in the Third Reich.
The neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who believes scientists are wrong on evolution and
archaeologists completely mistaken about the purpose of the pyramids despite their
funereal contents, likens the Syrian refugees to "rabid dogs." This after a
heart-rending recent New Yorker magazine story of a Syrian law student just shy of
his degree undertaking a harrowing trip to safety and asylum in Sweden. Nothing like
getting down to the lowest common denominator for votes, and all despite the shame
of Japanese-American internment in the Second World War.
Mr. Carson's latest fiasco has his campaign publishing a US map misplacing five New
England states: Vermont gets a long coastline along with New York and
Massachusetts gets to hug Canada. The polls and the new primary system is bringing
forward inexperienced, maladroit, incompetent nincompoops; no doubt the
consequence of a public fed up of being misgoverned by big-donor politics.
Of course anyone wishing to be long remembered by a grateful populace has to do
just one thing: reform campaign finance so the public i.e. the ordinary voter begins to
matter. The McCain-Feingold attempt, though not entirely successful, helped Mr.
McCain become the Republican presidential nominee a few years later.