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
November 2, 2012

Mr. President:  In the wake of the catastrophic destruction left by Sandy and the
increasing severity of storms, climate change surely merits some attention.  Anyone
with doubts should visit the sinking Maldives where rising sea levels are reclaiming the
land.  A plan to protect the New York City area with a seawall will cost between $5 and
$10 billion; the damage from this storm is estimated at $80 billion.

A terrible massacre of uniformed Syrian troops is reported today --  a blurry video of
the bloody scene shown on news channels is difficult to watch despite the general
desensitization to mayhem.  Human rights organizations and the UN have called it a
war crime because the troops had clearly surrendered and were out of combat.  Of
course, the question springing instantly to mind is why we are associated with and
instrumental in arming such groups.  Their appalling behavior in Libya including the
disgusting killing of Gaddafi, the racist treatment of expat black Africans working in
Libya, and their turn and sudden attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi killing the
ambassador and three others should have been warning enough.

That the U.S. is now seeking a change in Syrian rebel leadership is clear evidence of
involvement.  In the meantime, Mr. Abbasi Madani an Algerian fundamentalist leader
remains ensconced in Qatar, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Qaeda in
Libya continue to fight with the Free Syrian Army.  An interesting question is the
proportion of foreign fighters to Libyan because towns have reported foreigners
rolling into their town and attacking Syrian forces eliciting a response.

The blow back effects in Libya have had repercussions not only on us, as in the
consulate attack, but have severed northern Mali from the rest of the country -- a
country, by the way, that was a democratic exemplar in Africa.  How can we be sure
the Syrian violence will not reverberate in touchy Lebanon and in Kurdish areas?  
Attacks in Turkey's Kurdish regions are already on the rise.  If anything is predictable,
it is the unpredictability of war ... and its consequences.  Nevertheless, we blunder on,
causing thousands of casualties, millions of displaced people, untold damage to
property and infrastructure, and many more millions whose feelings for America have
changed to hate.  Not the best recipe for a peacefully coexisting world.