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
September 6, 2013

Mr. President:  Observers of the G20 summit have noted you looked haggard, worn
out, and about a decade older than your age.  The pressures of the job (perhaps the
warping of conscience) takes its toll.  Add the burden of the Nobel Peace Prize and
the unspoken derision, the opprobrium of the world, an inability to face down real
power, and it all becomes a pitiful legacy.  One is reminded of President Johnson who
despite his huge successes on the domestic front was felled down by Vietnam.  A
successful foreign policy must unite the American people is a common adage; the
surprise is how often our leaders ignore it to their cost.

While the heads of nine G20 countries eventually supported a Syrian intervention,
their people are opposed in almost all cases by wide margins, as over here.  
Moreover, their populations together total up to about our own.  On average, a
quarter or so (although only 11 percent in the UK) are in favor of war.  Thus you carry
the support of about 170 million people in the world; billions oppose you, yet you
claim the 'international community' demands action.

Secretary of State John Kerry's remark that the Saudis are willing to pay for the
Tomahawk missiles (one and a half million a pop) has set off a storm of protest
among commentators.  Former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan asks in a column
in World Net Daily (WND.com), if we have become the new Hessians for a desert
kingdom.  He also claims casino mogul and Israel supporter Sheldon Adelson, who
shelled out $70 million in the last election, is demanding and getting a war.  Mr.
Sheldon is joined by others including AIPAC, and Abraham Foxman and his ADF.  
While Mr. Buchanan may be strong on hyperbole, he is also seldom wrong on facts
given his connections.  One wonders however if AIPAC is truly using all its muscle
given the difficulties in securing votes in the House.

Through all of this almost no one seems to care (other than paying lip service) for the
plight of the Syrians whose country is being mangled and ripped apart in a Sunni-Shia
rift not of their choosing.  Over two million refugees, a hundred thousand dead and
the numbers keep climbing.  The UN estimates at least $50 billion to put it all back
together if the blood letting stops now.

Do we have to join in to prolong the slaughter?  Because the other side is also simply
going to up the ante.

Meanwhile,  the economy continues to sputter.  The August BLS figures show
unemployment down slightly to 7.3 percent -- not due to the unemployed finding jobs
but because more discouraged workers have stopped looking for work and are thus
not counted in the labor pool.  In fact, the participation rate at 63.2 percent has fallen
to the lowest level in almost four decades.

Ignoring worker training, letting infrastructure collapse, listening to discredited
Harvard economists' free market theories, plus unnecessary wars wasting money and
adding to untold misery ... hardly ways to resuscitate an economy, or as exemplary
behavior for the most powerful country in the world.