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
Dec 23, 2011

The day after the last U.S. troops left Iraq, the Shia Prime Minister, Nouri
al-Maliki, issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni Vice President Tariq
al-Hasemi, accusing him of terrorism, accompanied by his bodyguard's public
confession on state TV.  Mr. Hasemi has sought protection with the Kurds in
Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous independent state in northern Iraq.  
The Kurds have refused to hand him over.  Not so long ago, they also signed
an oil deal with Exxon independently, which is being contested by Mr.
Maliki's central government.
Mr. Hashemi's party has been outlawed and its twenty seats in the legislature
nullified.  How does a government in a democracy remove elected

Yesterday, Baghdad experienced the worst series of coordinated bombings
one can remember, a total of fourteen.  Within a week of the U.S. Secretary of
Defense proclaiming Iraq a stable, unified democracy, the system left behind
there has made a mockery of his claims.

On the home front, Congress and the Executive have had difficulty in the
proposed annual extension of the payroll tax cut -- a concept everybody
agrees upon.  The news today announces a three-month relief.  Not that
there are any substantial long term benefits to fiscal band-aids in a
trade-deficit ridden economy.  The real beneficiaries are the countries
producing and supplying the manufactured goods we consume.

The Afghan winter quietens the war there -- a respite for the U.S. soldiers
there and even the so-called Afghan army, which has almost no Pashtun
recruits -- the latter, comprising the largest ethnic group, prefer to fight on
the other side.  No doubt, we will be affirming a unified, stable democracy in
Afghanistan as we leave.

But for now it is the holiday season -- the problems can wait a week.  Some
prefer a white Christmas, some a brown one in Hawaii, Mexico or the
Caribbean. Whatever your choice, Mr. President, everyone wishes you the
joys of the holiday season, and may peace reign in the New Year.