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
October 10, 2014

Mr. President:  Since the Iraq area captured by ISIS is expanses of desert dotted by
towns, ISIS is embedded in the captured towns.  Bombing ISIS means bombing towns;
bombing towns means bombing civilians.  Yet our media are silent on civilian
casualties, and policy makers (the neocons and the liberal interventionists) seem
notoriously immune to the sufferings of people.

The devastation that is Libya, the exodus of refugees, the continuing civil war, the
bombing of Islamists held areas by unknown (?) warplanes just recently (more civilian
deaths), the destruction of infrastructure, the complete breakdown of governance are
all a far cry from the democracy touted there.

In Iraq, millions of refugees; in Syria, ditto.  It does not take much thinking to sort out
the source of the problem, and the most viable opposition -- no matter how noxious --
suddenly appears attractive.  No surprise then that a Vice Media documentary
showed civilians in recent ISIS captured areas preferring ISIS to the rule of the regime
installed in Baghdad.

In Ukraine after the $5 billion spent (Victoria Nuland's figure) to destabilize a
democratically elected government, the eastern half of the country is in a stalemated
civil war.  Again, thousands upon thousands of refugees fleeing to Russia.  Question:  
If the government in Kiev is benign, why are the refugees fleeing away from it?  It will
be a long time and billions of dollars before Ukraine can repair its tattered fabric.  And
for all this Russia seems to have come out of the latest deal with what it wanted
before the crisis -- a delay in the implementation of the EU agreement to the end of
2015, for Russia, EU and Ukraine to find a mutually satisfactory compromise.  It has
also taken back the Crimea and safe harbor for its Black Sea fleet.

This mayhem on three continents in a half-dozen years, with the hands of a Nobel
Peace Laureate on the tiller of this ship of state.  All of which swells in the mind when
it is announced Malala Yusufzai has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.  A teenager
shot in the head and left for dead on a school bus by the Taleban -- a direct legacy of
US involvement in Afghanistan beginning three decades ago.  Again the Saudis as an
instrument, again the religious extremism (as in Syria, as in Iraq, as in Libya), and of
course the area is left to deal with the consequences.  That she should be hosted in
the White House is an irony only the bard could surpass