Weekly Letter to President Obama
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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
April 5, 2013

Mr. President:  I wonder who picked Wichita State to be in the final four.  Due to family
connections, there is a celebratory mood in our household.  Wichita State is also the
alma mater of the two Pizza Hut founders, and they have promised free pizza to the
16,000 member student body if the Shockers win the championship.

There is another bit of news related to Wichita, Kansas -- much less pleasant I am
afraid.  It is Ethan McCord's hometown, and he was only four or five blocks away with
his platoon when that infamous helicopter opened up on civilians in Iraq (tomorrow is
the third anniversary) either through misinformation or neglect -- or whatever other
demons that warp human minds in times of war if Nick Turse's book on Vietnam War
atrocities is any guide.  Well, Ethan ran on the double to the scene and witnessed
blood and gore (a head blown apart, arms and legs) the likes of which he had never
seen.  A muffled cry  from the van made him open the door and he saw a little girl
staring unblinkingly.  She had a stomach wound.  He carried her to shelter where
glass splinters were removed from her eyes and she could blink again.  Returning to
the van, he found a small boy also wounded, who he also carried to safety.

Both survived; yet the images never faded from Ethan's mind.  He attempted to have
the incident investigated -- but was rebuffed by superiors.  He has not been able to
forget.  He attempted suicide -- eight of his comrades were successful sadly -- and
the military discharged him without benefits.

Wars have many victims ... on all sides -- something to remember as the refugees
reach a million in Syria and the dead keep multiplying -- 60,000 a month at last
count.  Religious fanatics among insurgents with their warped interpretation of religion
are busy bombing universities because they educate women.  For all their terrible
faults, the Gaddafi and Saddam regimes had improved women's rights and lives
dramatically; since their demise, there has been a precipitous fall.

All of which brings us to the war drums in the case of Iran.  Can someone explain to
me what Iran has done.  Has it broken any laws?  Has it violated the Non-Proliferation
treaty?  And exactly what do we mean by the "international community?"  Three-fifths
of the countries of the world (about 120) belong to the non-aligned movement, and
they support Iran's right to enrich uranium as permitted under the terms of the NPT.  
And exactly what would happen if Iran did acquire one of two nuclear bombs?  It can't
attack Israel; no one wants to commit suicide.  Whatever may be said of the
Ayatollahs, they are far from stupid -- most of them have doctorates in philosophy,
and all of them are highly educated.

The best way for this country to avoid 9/11 is to mind its own business and stop killing
people all over the world.  It might even help rejuvenate our economy by transferring
spending from the military sink hole to infrastructure.