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 19, 2014

Mr. President:  Truth be told, the moment I heard 'degrade, disrupt and destroy' (d,d
and d) I knew we were in trouble.  The special forces -- forgive me, I forgot -- the
advisers, now number 2000 a 100 percent plus escalation in a matter of weeks.  We
are told it will take three years to d, d and d ISIS.  How was this time frame
calculated?  How can anyone believe it, given the cost and time projections of the Iraq
war.  Let me hazard a guess, I mean projection:  There will be from five to ten
thousand troops -- I mean advisers -- in Iraq within two years, and this d,d and d effort
will take four times the three years being brandished.  The prediction is based on
available past data: the Iraq and Afghan wars.

And, of course, in Afghanistan the extremists are far from d, d, and d...ed.  Instead,
Ayman al-Zawahiri the new al-Qaeda chief is planning to step up recruitment in India.  
Just one more reason why peace between India and Pakistan needs to be on the
front burner, for it will take a concerted, sustained effort to fight the menace.

It almost seems Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, shows up in Washington
for fresh instructions every few weeks.  But what can anyone do?  Military exercises
will not get back eastern Ukraine, nor will economic sanctions -- already hurting a
verge-of-recession Europe that has a debilitating sovereign debt problem.  As winter
approaches and the Bear's paw on the gas valve begins to twitch, Europeans will
begin to lose patience with the US.

Russia is a vast country, with enormous resources and enough military capacity to
stand up for itself.  Only a warped neocon would want to take them on when they
actually wanted to be friends.  But why so much neocon influence in a Democratic

George Kennan in his latter days warned against eastward expansion of NATO.  It
broke our pledge to Russia; it made little sense when the Russians had dismantled
the Warsaw Pact.  And what does NATO do apart from providing Europeans the
means to spend as little as possible on their own defense.

Yes, it gives us a thinly-veiled cover for our military adventures -- far from successful,
by the way, and adding new crazed enemies by the day.  Yes, it can blow Libya to
smithereens ... the bits and pieces turning into Islamic extremists as far away as
Nigeria and contesting Libya's capital as of now.  Yes, it can blow up Iraq and
Afghanistan.  But Iraq, once a progressive, secular country is riddled with sectarian
strife and extremists, while the Taliban are making their presence felt in Afghanistan
still through the killing of occupation soldiers as of last week.

Meanwhile, the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement met in Dushanbe,
Tajikistan on September 11, 2014 for a two-day summit.  Led by China and Russia,
they will constitute over two billion of the world's population when India and Pakistan
join next year.  China will be Russia's new banker as Russian gas helps China tackle
its awful coal-use pollution problem; their trade will bypass the petro-dollar.  So much
for sanctions when European industry and London banking will be the losers, not to
mention the future of the dollar as reserve currency.

All of this while the US is burdened with unsustainable military spending bankrupting
schools and social services, and neocon policies are manufacturing new enemies
across the world for an agenda harmful to long-term American interests.   No surprise
then, the US is in decline.