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
July 25, 2014

Mr. President:  A lie told often enough becomes truth.  So it is said.  Thus over
two-thirds of Americans had been convinced of Saddam Hussein's WMDs, and his
al-Qaeda connections despite his secular government headed by a Christian Prime
Minister.  Where are the Iraqi Christians now?  Lies that cost thousands of lives,
millions displaced and billions wasted.

Then there was the accusation that Assad used chemical weapons -- since then
proven false.  Why on earth would he do so when conventional weapons and his air
force were more effective and without the risk of world opprobrium, or even of the
wind changing direction.  That one was a close shave with the Russians arranging a
face-saving deal.

Now we have the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.  Without offering clear
proof the US has accused the Ukrainian rebels of bringing it down and the Russians
of supplying the missiles.  Why?  The Russians point out a US spy satellite was over
the area, so why not release the photos.  They ask why the Ukrainian aircraft
controller diverted the Malaysian plane 500 km south from its regular flight path into a
conflict zone.  They have also released images of an unidentifiable, therefore military
jet, appearing close to the airliner.  As the rebels do not have any planes, one can
only surmise it belonged to Ukrainian forces.

We have been told of desecrated bodies, inadequate access to the crash site and
other charges.  But the crash site is in a war zone and, as reported by Reuters, Peter
van Vliet, the Dutchman, whose team received the bodies said the rebel recovery
crews had done a superb job of collecting and preserving the remains in very difficult
circumstances.  Meanwhile the nightmare continues for the ethnic Russian
communities in the east with thousands fleeing the bombing and shelling of their
homes, seeking refuge in Russia.  Question:  If the Ukrainian government is so
benign, why are these people not fleeing westwards within Ukraine?

The black boxes from MH17 were handed to Malaysian authorities to pass on to the
ICAO but they, for reasons best known to themselves, delivered them to British
authorities.  Given the pejorative declarations from Mr. Cameron and the pressures
on civil servants to serve the 'national interest', will we ever know the truth?  Decoding
the instrument recorder can take time, although if the plane was downed by a missile,
it is  unlikely to reveal much.  Thus if anything is to be learned, it will come from the
cockpit voice recorder.  It does not require decoding, so why are they keeping the
families waiting?

In the interim, the propaganda barrages continue.  Not just over the plane tragedy but
also over an ongoing disaster in the Gaza strip.  Navi Pillay the UN Human Rights
Commissioner has publicly likened Netanyahu's bombing to a war crime.  Children are
being killed at the rate of one per hour; most of the wounded (as the dead) are under
five said a serving volunteer anesthesiologist from "Doctors Without Borders."  The
tunnels Netanyahu is complaining about were made necessary by the illegal blockade
of Gaza turning it into a giant prison.  As the bodies pile up including the tangled
mass of children in the bombing of a school yesterday, what is the answer?  The only
viable answer is peace.  Not never-ending peace talks while Israel continues de facto
annexations through settlements, but actual peace.  Otherwise, Israel will find itself
eventually in the same situation as South Africa was -- all the inhuman killing a
pointless tragedy.