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
Nov 11, 2011

Mr. President:  It has been a week of telling incidents.  The Syrian Opposition
leaders coming for negotiation were pelted with eggs by an angry crowd of
protesters and turned away at the entrance to the Arab League headquarters
in Cairo.  Only the head of their delegation, Hasan Abed-el-Azim, managed to
sneak in; so much for popular Arab support for the Syrian opposition.  Their
spokesmen are now busy limiting damage by putting all kinds of spin on the
incident, but the footage remains for all to see and judge for themselves.

The other incident occurred at the G-20 Summit.  It was one more
open-microphone embarrassment.  As reported by France 24, the
conversation about Netunyahu went something like this:

   President Sarkozy:  "I can't see him anymore, he's a liar."
   President Obama:  "You may be sick of him , but me, I have   to deal with
him everyday."

The Israeli PM is at present busy saber-rattling against Iran.  It is perhaps the
only case where of the "seven most important ministers (the "security
septet") [there are] three in favor, four against," writes Uri Avnery, the
well-known Israeli commentator and former politician, in Gush Shalom.  He
goes on to say, "The respected long-serving chief of the Mossad, Meir
Dagan, has publicly waned against the attack, describing it as the 'most
stupid idea' he has ever heard".

Over two-thirds of Israelis want peace and security in exchange for land.  
The way there is not through kow-towing to bullying.  Nobody wants a war
where rockets from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran would rain down, and the
Strait of Hormuz is likely to be blocked.  It would stop oil exports from the
Middle East causing catastrophic financial chaos in a precarious

It is worth noting that before the war, Libya had the highest Human
Development Index in all of Africa -- no mean achievement for a poor,
nomadic illiterate people of a half-century ago.  Now it is a shambles; even
the sophisticated water system bringing water to Tripoli from the aquifers in
the far south has been bombed.  How that saves civilian lives is beyond this
observer.  According to Wikipedia, 30,000 people have lost their lives, 50,000
were wounded -- 20,000 seriously.  Groups with a past record of sending
volunteers to fight against us in Iraq are taking center stage in Tripoli.  
Shocking atrocities by the rebels now in power have been observed and

By the way, was this war even legal?  Britain and France have stressed the
crucial support provided by the U.S.  Yet, this administration does not
consider it a war requiring Congressional authorization because no U.S.
troops were put on the ground.  Interesting thought:  You can press a
button, blow up half the world to smithereens, and it would not require the
constitutionally required Congressional approval for war.  Perhaps the
voters should have a care in assessing some of the wing-nuts on display
seeking the Presidency in 2012.