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
June 29, 2012
Mr. President: As the Syrian conflict rages, the question to ask about our role in
aiding the rebels is, what do we expect from the end result? Heavy weapons are now
being supplied to the rebels allegedly paid for by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and
facilitated by Turkey and the CIA. The consequence is likely to be a devastated and
unstable Syria, where, if the rebels succeed, Islamic fundamentalists will wield
substantial power -- not unlike Libya. An interesting payoff when the present regime
is determinedly secular -- again not unlike Libya.
The reasons are also universally transparent, for the fundamentalists are the most
determined and persistent of the armed groups. Afghanistan made that clear several
decades ago, and even now as we try desperately to return home.
But the tail wagging this dog is laser-focused on Hizbullah and Hamas -- the latter
having won perhaps the only free and fair election in the Arab world, and the former
continuing to consolidate its power in Lebanon. Of course, their real patron is wealthy
and powerful Iran, not Syria. So, is Iran next? If true, those special interests can be
said to be willing to destroy our economy, given its precarious state; for wars are
always unpredictable in lives, cost and real outcome. Who would have thought
Saigon would become Ho Chi MInh city, and we would be wanting to trade with a
communist Vietnam? Or, who would have thought the beneficiary of our war with Iraq
would be Iran, enjoying the advantages of a fraternal regime there? Or, that the
costs of the Iraq war would not be $60 billion but more like a trillion and counting as
we continue to pay veterans' benefits.
By the way, in all the analyses one sees, almost no blame is afforded the instigators
of the Syrian (and other such conflicts) for the loss of human life, loss of homes,
livelihoods, social structure, and abject misery, besides the breakdown of everyday
life, and the enormous devastation of infrastructure the locals will pay for eventually.
And, in the current world capital of military adventurism, life goes on ...
P.S. The news this week has the Chinese withdrawing from the South China Sea; just
one caveat -- the Chinese are a patient people. They have also started calling for a
new world trading currency, undermining the dollar's role. If it comes to pass, the U.S.
administration in power will be sitting atop a new Argentina, and I, on a retirement
income, will be working in a supermarket for food scraps instead of writing this letter.