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 20, 2012

Mr. President:  As bombs exploded this week across the spectrum of American
interventions in the Mideast, and more photos of questionable behavior by our
soldiers were outed by media, one wondered exactly what the trillion plus bill for these
wars has brought us -- certainly not the abiding love of these populations we have
supposedly freed from despotic rule.  Reading comments on sites such as the
Huffington Post, a certain visceral hatred of Muslims among some is apparent, and
the fact that such comments are allowed is itself significant.  Muslims comprise a
billion and a half people or almost a quarter of the world's population -- including your
half-sister from Indonesia and all your father's family.

Since no one can fight a quarter of the world, surely something needs to be done
about this new emerging bigotry and religious hatred before it gets out of hand.  It is
exactly this kind of atmosphere engendered in the blogosphere that induces
impressionable young soldiers to behave in ways they themselves would otherwise
find reprehensible.  There are millions of hard-working Muslims in this country, often
in the healthcare field, and one wonders if the bigots would refuse treatment in a
hospital emergency unit because the physician happens to be a Muslim.  They are
about as connected to terrorism, as mainstream Christians are to McVeigh, the
Oklahoma City bomber.  The question is, shouldn't a President with your background
be saying something about this despicable and dangerous build up of religious
bigotry?  Or is this another 'third-rail' issue in this election year and must never be
touched.  By the way, try getting on an airplane these days with a name like yours,
and you'll soon see what I mean.

This week, yet again, insurgents piled up corpses across Iraq.  The Taliban launched
their long-expected Spring offensive with a raid on the most sensitive and
well-guarded section of Kabul.  The fight lasted 24 hours.  That long to root them out,
and this was hailed a victory by NATO.  The fact that it cannot prevent attacks on the
embassy area of Kabul speaks volumes for the debased rhetoric emanating from its
spokesmen.  In the meantime, the foul photos prompted Mr. Karzai to demand our
forces leave earlier than the planned 2014.  Quite frankly, he is probably doing the
U.S. a favor -- not unlike Mr. Maliki when he kicked us out of Iraq.

The shower of criticism that rained down on North Korea following the abortive launch
of its satellite-carrying missile was entirely absent when India tested a long range
missile capable of carrying a one-and-a-half ton nuclear payload; or from Israel's
purchase of a nuclear missile sub from Germany.  Hypocrisy reigns supreme as the
world lurches toward some kind of nuclear catastrophe -- through error, misjudgment
or misunderstanding.  Why not ban all nuclear weapons now, and make the world a
safer place?  They should, in the human mind, occupy a place as revolting as
cannibalism; given their destructive potential, they are, of course, much worse.