Dear Mr. President

Ending the Global Gag Rule
January 24, 2009, 4:42 pm
Filed under: abortion, children, ethics, health, news, Obama, peace, politics, religion, U.S.A., United Nations, women's rights

Dear President Obama,

      All I wanted to do today was to thank you hugely and immensely for your executive order ending the ban on funds to international population support groups that mention abortion.  Bless your heart.  Finally.  My mother’s good friend Janet Roberts can now rejoice as well – she founded “34 millions friends” to try to fill that awful hole the Bush administration left in caring for women.

    I think that’s what people don’t realize.  Funding organizations like UNFPA that help women get legal and safe abortions is not about  funding abortions.  It’s about helping women around the globe have access to health care.  It means saving mothers’ lives and saving babies’ lives.  That’s what it all comes down to.   It’s pro-life, that’s what it is.

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

Six more days
January 14, 2009, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Bush, children, ethics, Israel, news, Palestine, peace, U.S.A. | Tags: , , , , ,
Dear Mr. President,
     What can you do in six days?  God created the earth, don’t forget.  Surely you could do some good.  Couldn’t you exert what little influence you have towards peace in Gaza?  Ask the Israelis to stop bombing until after the Inauguration, for example, thus allowing humanitarian aid  for those injured children?  
     At the very least, you could take a good, hard look at what you yourself have demolished in the world.  You could realize that your doctrine of illegal, aggressive war is what is motivating Israel right now.  You could accept some responsibility.  God looked upon every day of creation and saw that it was good.  You could look every day and see that what you have done has been bad.  
     Sincerely, VNV

A Child in St. Johns
Dear Mr. President,
     Did you know there were countries that allowed children as young as 8 years of age to be incarcerated and tried as adults?  And did you know that one of those countries was ours?
     I am, of course, talking about that 8-year-old in St. Johns, Arizona, who is accused of having shot and killed his father and another man with a .22 rifle.  He apparently must have shot, reloaded, and shot again several times in order to accomplish this.
     I watched the video tapes of his supposed confession.  Did you?  Did you see what I saw:  a little boy, his legs dangling from a huge arm chair, questioned without the presence of parent, guardian, or lawyer, for several hours?  Did you hear what I heard?   Did you hear him describe coming home to see men jumping into a white vehicle and roaring off, then finding one man lying on the ground, then running into the house shouting “Dad!  Dad”, and finding his father upstairs with blood everywhere?  Did you hear him say he tried to see if his father was alive, then he sat down next to him and cried? 
   Of course, this was at the beginning of the session.  By the end, he was saying “I think I took the gun then?  I think I shot him because he was suffering?”  I have added the question-marks that I heard in that child’s voice.
    Now I hear tell that the family of the one murdered man is expressing anger that more concern is being shown for the age of this suspect boy than for the victims.  Well, yes.  Rightly so.  8-year-olds need our concern.  This is a child who, except for a 48-hour furlough, has been allowed only brief visits, usually behind glass, from his mother.  This is a child who, as far as we know, is just sitting there in a cell all by himself doing nothing.  He has been sitting there for a month.
     Somewhere in the world neither justice nor mercy is being shown.  Could it be in our own backyard?
     Have you concerned yourself with this issue, Mr. President?
Sincerely, VNV

Red, white and blue Christmas
December 6, 2008, 6:19 am
Filed under: Bush, children, ethics, news, peace, politics, religion, U.S.A., war | Tags: , , ,
Dear Mr. President,
    I was going to write to you about the unemployment rate and about the plight of homeowners who have lost their jobs and consequently are losing their houses.
    But then I saw your theme for this Christmas:  a red, white and blue Christmas.  And there was Saint Nick, on his sleigh, dressed in an American flag.  No. Really.  Sir.  Are you going to “flag”  the swaddling clothes too? 
     At least put Santa Claus back in simple red and white, okay?  He’s supposed to bring toys to good little children all around the world, for pity’s sake!   Do you want children thinking their gifts are from Uncle Sam?   It would be different if our gifts to the world’s children were something better than those bomblets from the cluster bombs!
 Sincerely, VNV

Cluster bombs and bomblets
December 3, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Bush, children, death, ethics, Israel, news, peace, politics, Russia, U.S.A., war | Tags: , , , , , ,
Dear Mr. President,
     Words cannot express my extreme disgust at our country’s refusal to join almost the entire rest of the world in banning cluster bombs.  Why????  What good are they???    Have they won us one single war anywhere? 
    No.  They have maimed and killed countless children, but that’s about all they are good for.  I cannot believe that we need to kill off children in order to make the world safe for democracy. 
    And don’t give me that tired argument that the Russians and the Chinese aren’t signing on, either.   Does that make it better, to know that we are in agreement with two of the most repressive non-democracies in the world?  As for Israel, didn’t they just recently use cluster bombs in Lebanon and then say they didn’t?  Why did they deny it?  Because the use of cluster bombs is shameful, that’s why.   
    So do one good thing during your Presidency.  Ban the bomblets!
Sincerely, VNV