Dear Mr. President

So far, so good…but questions
January 28, 2009, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Bush, economy, environment, finance, news, Obama, politics, U.S.A. | Tags: , , ,

Dear Mr. President,

     Why don’t you put your press briefings onto the Whitehouse website?  I can only find them on the website of the Press Corps.  And why don’t you ever answer your mail?  George W. always did, don’t forget!

   Otherwise, you’re doing  fine things out there in Washington!!!  Great interview with Al Arabia.    Good stuff on the economy and the environment. Nice tries with non-partisonship.  Or at least, tries.  Maybe “nice” is the wrong word.  So keep up the good work!

Sincerely, VNV


Environmentally sound
January 26, 2009, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Bush, environment, news, Obama, politics, U.S.A. | Tags: , ,

Dear President Obama,

How refreshing your environmental policies are turning out to be! Like a glass of clean, clear water. It seems as if the whole world is sighing with relief, taking good deep breaths full of hope.

Oh dear I am waxing effusive. But I can’t help it. It’s been such a depressing time, particularly for us Americans abroad. It’s been awful having a President who blocked every environmentally sound idea.  

 Thank you for bringing change!  Now if you can get us signed up with the rest of the world…   Sincerely, VNV

The Last Day: The Sorrows
January 19, 2009, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Bush, children, crime, death, election, ethics, Iraq, justice, news, Obama, peace, politics, U.S.A., war | Tags: , , , ,
Dear Mr. President,
     Today is your last full day as President of the United States, and this will be my last letter to you.   Consequently, I wanted to be conciliatory.  I wanted to find something good you had done and praise you. 
    Unfortunately there isn’t much to praise, but a great deal to mourn.   . 
     And yet you seem honestly to believe  you have done a fine job..  You seem to believe you have stuck to your beliefs, and that may be true.  You seem to believe that you have acted honestly, and that, too may be true.  But Mr. President, history is replete with tyrants who believed in what they were doing.  It is this very belief that has blinded you to the evil you have committed. 
       You have done those things which you ought not to have done; you have left undone those things which you ought to have done.  This is the human condition.  We are all of us sinners.  It’s just that your great power has made your sins the greater.  
 A picture is worth a thousand words.



No one died when Clinton lied

No one died when Clinton lied

 I do not wish you great unhappiness, Sir, but look at these faces.  Think of what you have done that you should have left undone.  The evil you have done will live after you.   These children of our land and the thousands of other children will not.

    So I end our correspondence as sadly as I began it, over two years and over 600 letters ago, wishing it were otherwise.   And yet, perhaps there is one bit of praise I can utter, all going well tomorrow:  That nothing in your tenure in office became you like the leaving of it.
Sincerely, VNV

Two Days: The Prisons, The Torture, The Trials
Dear Mr. President,
     It was under your watch that, for the first time in history, America openly tortured prisoners of war.  Yes.  That’s what we did.  It was torture.  We tortured.  No matter how often you say “We do not torture,” we have tortured.  
     From the very beginning of our “war on terror” we have done this.  We have incarcerated hundreds of people, calling them enemy combatants.  We have imprisoned them at Guantanamo.  We have imprisoned them at Abu Ghraib.  We have allowed them to be “exported” – “outsourced”, so to speak, to countries that are even less squeamish about torture than we are. 
     We have imprisoned hundreds of people  without the possibility of a writ of habeas corpus.   We have denied these people access to legal representation.  We have held them without charge, many of them for years and years.  We have imprisoned and tortured youngsters aged 14, including one lad who now, after 6 years, should soon be finally released. 
     You are saying that we cannot release those prisoners still left in Guantánamo because a) no one will take them and b) they may upon release turn against our country (as who could blame them?). 
    Mr. President, we can’t keep people in prison because they might commit crimes upon being released.  We don’t get to do that.  We only get to keep people in prison if they are found guilty of having committed crimes.  Only if there is evidence of their having committed crimes are we allowed to punish them.  If people are accused of having committed crimes, then they must be brought to trial and the evidence of their guilt must be shown.  This is what is called justice.  this is what is known as “innocent until proven guilty”, a great Anglo-Saxon tenent.
     You have broken with this idea of justice.  You have set yourself beyond the law.  Even in those cases in which there have been trials, such as the case of Saddam Husssein, there has been no justice.  His trial was a farce; his hanging was a lynching.  And what has happened to those other members of his government who have just sort of disappeared?  How is Tarak Aziz doing, for example?
     And what is happening to the thousands of other prisoners in our prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Are they “enjoying due process”?  What about those in the prisons of the “fledgling democracies” themselves?
     Mr. President, you have made a mockery of the law.  You have condoned illegal imprisonment and torture.  You have demolished our Constitution.
     You have made cruel punishment usual.  You have denied a writ of habeas corpus.   In America we live by the law, but you have set yourself beyond the law.
    You have, in fact, made yourself an outlaw, deserving of arrest and trial and, the evidence being pretty evident, punishment.   It is my hope that, once your “reign” is over, you will be brought to justice.
     Sincerely, VNV

Three Days left: The Wars
Dear Mr. President,
     I believe you are the first President of our country to start two wars and finish neither of them.  I hope you are the last President to do so. 
     The war in Afghanistan was at least sanctioned by the United Nations.  It was at least a multinational effort.  It was, if not justifiable, since no war of aggression is justifiable, at least understandable.  The world could make the connection between Al Qaeda in America and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  There seemed to be evidence that the Taliban, those freedom fighters we once championed, were harboring the very terrorists who attacked us.  It did seem hard on the civilians, more of whom did die just in our original attack than died in the Two Towers, but the cause appeared just, the results at first good.
     But that wasn’t enough for you, was it?  We could have stayed in Afghanistan.  We could have used our resources to rebuild that country, not just to fortify its capitol.  But no.  You had to attack Iraq, on the totally specious pretext that Iraq was a threat to us.  You engaged in pre-emptive war.  You illegally attacked a country that had not attacked us. Even if Iraq had had weapons of mass destruction, our attack would have been illegal, immoral, and evil.  Shock and Awe.  You shocked a lot of people, and it surely was awful.  But that’s about it.  You lied.  Your government lied. 
     And, as a result, by very conservative estimates, 98,000 Iraqi civilians have died.  Of course that’s nothing compared to how many, say, Vietnamese civilians we killed.   And we have always been very sorry.  Tell that to the mothers without children and the children without mothers. 
     All this is the result of your machinations.   You maneuvered Congress into this.  I don’t absolve Congress of blame, but your lies were the basis for their shameful decisions. 
     Now you are about to leave office.  In your Farewell Address, this is what you said about your two wars and their results:
“Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school. Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States.”
     Balderdash!   Iraq is a mess.  The heroic efforts of those soldiers General Petreaus sent in on the surge have improved matters somewhat, but they haven’t made Iraq a democracy and a friend.  The puppet government in Iraq has about as much stability as our economy.  
      And as for Afghanistan, women are still being stoned in the streets.  All you have to do is leave Kabul to find this out.  If, as I suggested back then, you had taken 150,000 American soldiers and set them to work rebuilding Afghanistan instead of demolishing Iraq, we might at least have helped establish one viable democracy in the Middle East. 
     Your legacy, Mr. President, is death and more death.  In your objectives you have failed abjectly.  I wish it were not so.  I wish I could harbor at least a vague glimmer of hope for those tried peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq.  And I wish I could hope for the safety of our young men and women so rashly stationed in those countries.  But I fear my hopes, as well as their lives, will be dashed.
Sincerely, VNV

Four Days: The “Patriot Act” and the Abuse of Language
Dear Mr. President,
   The “Patriot Act”??  The very name is appalling.  What  does it mean?  An Act of Patriotism?
An Act for Patriots?  A Patriotic Act?  And then the questions:  Is it
“patriotic” to suspend habeas corpus for suspected terrorists?  Is it
patriotic to invade the privacy of people accused of no crime?  Are searches
and seizures patriotic?  Is profiling patriotic?  Is creating a thicket of
Kafka-like bureaucracy around every section of financial reporting whilst
ignoring any sensible regulation patriotic?
     Of course not.  Calling something a “Patriot Act” does not make it patriotic.  Nor does it change its unconstitutionality.  It is merely typical for the use of language in your administration.  “The Patriotic Act,”  the “Clean Air Act”,”Homeland Security”:  All tendentious misnomers. 
    Who but you would call an Act allowing for more air pollution on the part of industry the “Clean Air” act?
Who else would call wounded soldiers “warriors”?  “Warriors” we had under
the Vikings maybe.  We didn’t call soldiers in World War II “warriors”.
The people who did that had another name.  They were Fascists, Nazis.  The
Nazis spoke of Krieger – warriors.  The Nazis spoke of “Homeland”in the sense of “Blut und Boden”.  We used to call it “national”.  National Security.  Not “Homeland Security”.
     So today I fault not only your unconstitutional Acts, I fault your
lying language.  Your “New Speak”.  Your plain and simple propaganda.
Goebbels had nothing on you, Sir.  Now there was a man after your own heart.
A man who made tough decisions and stood by them.  And past-master in
language manipulation:   “Wollt Ihr den totallen Krieg?” he asked, and
thousands shouted “Ja”.
     It comes down to your use of “Good” and “Evil”.  I quote your Farewell
Address:   “I have often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has
made some uncomfortable.  But good and evil are present in this world, and
between the two there can be no compromise.  Murdering the innocent to
advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere.”
    Now that is true.  And that makes you, by your own definition, clearly evil.

Sincerely, VNV

Five Days: The tax cuts
January 15, 2009, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Bush, economy, ethics, Federal Budget, finance, news, politics, U.S.A., war | Tags: , , , , ,
Dear Mr. President,
     For the next days I’ll list some of your more destructive creations (an oxymoron much like “compassionate conservatism” or “intelligent 43rd President”).   Today I want to talk about your irresponsible tax cuts. 
     How stupid can a President get?  In your closing press conference, you spoke of “having inherited a recession, and we’re in a recession again now”.  Nonsense.  You inherited a surplus.  You could have used it to bolster social security.  You could have used it for roads and schools.  But no.  You squandered it in a “bread and circuses” attempt to curry our favor, spreading the wealth, as it were, so thin as to make no difference to the rich, no help to the poor. 
    Your tax cuts were no different.  You cut out what you called the “death tax” – that was no “death tax”; it was a tax on very large estates, estates mostly of people who could afford to pay those taxes.  Then you cut capital gains.  Who profited?  The rich.  Who suffered?  The poor. 
    And then you began using up all that money you no longer had.   What can you have been thinking of?    Everything you have done since taking office has put us deeper in debt.  You have mortaged our future, and you can no longer keep up the payments.  Only an utter fool would try to fight two wars on borrowed cash with no hope of repayment.  You have sold our country to its creditors. 
    You speak of having made “tough decisions.”  Tough they may possibly have been; WRONG they assuredly were.
Sincerely, VNV