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 23, 2012

Mr. President:  Happy Thanksgiving!  There is always much to be grateful for -- family,
food, shelter, safety, taken for granted by most in this country, so precious and
uncertain for too large a portion of humanity.

The election is over; you are naturally grateful, and so is the electorate ... simply
because they no longer have those negative TV political ads forced on them.  That
they work is without doubt (and on everybody) as I too found out researching a few
candidates.  Unfortunately, they misinform, raising half-truths to an art form.  They are
also a sinkhole swallowing campaign dollars in the billions this time.  One simple way
around this is to cap the number of minutes a campaign can advertize.  It would
relieve the burden of raising funds, a burden now so time-consuming it is impinging
on the ability of elected officials to do their job.  Here is a shocking statistic:  President
Reagan during his 1984 re-election bid held four fundraisers; you, Sir, held 221,
criss-crossing the country.  How much time can one actually devote to the job while
jetting to two, three and more fundraising events every week atop of campaign rallies,
TV appearances, strategy meetings and any other demands of electioneering?  It is
yet another argument for a single six-year term for the president.

The ceasefire in Gaza is at hand.  Having broken the tacit truce by killing the Hamas
defense chief, Ahmed Jabari -- a man who was upholding the truce despite the
disparate resistance elements -- Netanyahu then claimed the right of self-defense
when rockets rained down in response.  But Egypt does not have a compliant
Mubarak in charge. The new realities are evident, and the world just did not have the
stomach for a repeat of 2008.  So at least 160 Gazans died, half and more women
and children including the 11 month old son of a BBC journalist.  On the other side,
five Israelis were killed.  And there was a wake-up call for all -- rockets reached Tel
Aviv and Jerusalem.  What might happen next time?

Hamas won the last Palestinian election.  Its popularity is soaring.  If there is to be any
peace, we have to respect the wishes of the Palestinian people.  Also the UN General
Assembly passed a strong resolution censuring Israel for its misuse of resources on
occupied lands; those voting against were the U.S.,  acolytes Micronesia and Marshall
Islands, Israel and Canada.  How come we are so out on a limb even the Europeans
refuse to go along with us?  Who do you sincerely believe is right?

Bombings continued apace in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; all places where we
have expended billions, all in turmoil, all where we have employed the heavy hand of
the military.  China, in contrast, uses economic soft power; it is loved in Pakistan; it is
busy securing oil contracts in Iraq, and is making successful inroads in Africa.  
Pakistan too is attempting to spread its economic wings.  It is holding a summit of
eight developing nations to boost trade and investment.  The group consists of
Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh, a billion