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
December 19, 2014
Mr. President: Arguably, the best advice given a president was Colin Powell's 'Pottery
Barn Rule'. Unfortunately, the man disgraced himself at the UN with the silly graphics
of mobile WMDs and other similar assertions, all of which were proven to be false. A
greater tragedy for our country was Bush II ignoring his advice.
Not only Iraq which had absolutely no connection with the 9/11 attack, and, in fact,
had a secular government despised by al-Qaeda, but also Afghanistan, which had no
knowledge of al-Qaeda's plans, was dismembered.
And neighboring Pakistan is paying a heavy price for assisting the US. This week saw
a barbaric attack on a school by six gunmen wearing suicide vests causing them to
explode when shot at thereby killing everyone around them. The toll of 140 dead
were mostly school children (132). One can not fail to note the almost complete
absence of such terror attacks before the US unleashed its war on terror upon
Afghanistan and the border areas with adjacent Pakistan. They are now a weekly
By any sane measure of victory, both wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) have been lost.
Very simply because the enemy is not only holding its ground but seems triumphant.
Before the war, al-Qaeda was a small band sheltering in Afghanistan, courtesy of the
Taleban in recognition of their help fighting the Soviets. Now as wars, proxy wars,
bombings and drone strikes have spread to a dozen or more countries. Al-Qaeda
and its affiliates have mushroomed across the middle east and Africa.
This week the al-Nusra front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, inflicted severe losses on
government forces. Their military hardware seems to come from the US via the
moderate Syrian rebels who they fought and defeated on several occasions when
once they were together against the government. Meanwhile, the war against a
similarly armed IS continues in the form of bombing raids, where million dollar missiles
are used to demolish beat-up trucks to the profit of the defense industry and the
detriment of the taxpayer.
Perhaps it is time for this tired giant to lie down, press a cold compress on his fevered
brow and take stock of an irrefutable logic of this war on terror: more war in more
places means more al-Qaeda, and thus less war will mean less. Ordinary civilians
pay the highest price often with their lives. There are now nine million Syrian
refugees, many inadequately sheltered where the old, the infirm and the very young
can succumb to the winter. Poor nutrition, lack of adequate heating and medical care
are the main obvious reasons. What was their crime?
Bush might be forgiven for not seeking thorough answers to the question, of what
happens after the government is toppled. But having seen Iraq, what is this
president's excuse? Why Libya with the ensuing chaos as far away as Nigeria, and
Syria with now the IS nightmare?
This week also saw the beginnings of an end to our antideluvian policy towards
Cuba. We are the only one in the world pursuing a trade blockade.
We are also often the only one in the world following a middle east policy in tandem
with Israel's right wing government ... thanks to our elected representatives trembling
at the financial and thus electoral clout of AIPAC. The policy causes consternation
among Israel's Peace bloc who view it as detrimental to peace.