Friday, January 08, 2010

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR BARACK OBAMA

Sam Smith

You said we are in a war against Al Qaeda. When did Congress declare it?

Most estimates of Al Qaeda's size are in the thousands, or roughly the size of one American army brigade. Can you cite a previous time when so much of the American military did so badly against such a small force for so long?

Michael Doran, who served as Bush's NSC Middle East director, wrote after 9/11: "The script was obvious: America, cast as the villain, was supposed to use its military might like a cartoon character trying to kill a fly with a shotgun." . . . In a Foreign Affairs article in 1975, David Fromkin wrote: "Terrorism is violence used in order to create fear; but it is aimed at creating fear in order that the fear, in turn, will lead somebody else - not the terrorist - to embark on some quite different program of action that will accomplish whatever it is that the terrorist really desires." To what extent do you think America is doing just what the terrorists want?

Since 2000, according to your State Department, Al Qaeda has killed an average of 480 people globally each year or roughly the same number as are murdered annually in New York City. How do you think our military would do against a larger and more deadly enemy?

In the wake of the attempted bombing of the plane headed for Detroit, you have announced plans for greatly increased virtual strip and search of passengers. How many more attempted bombings will be necessary before you order the torture of air passengers to determine their danger?

Given that you and your predecessor have been unable to deter - by military force and intelligence agencies - several thousand guerillas from their activities, and given that this effort has effectively destroyed constitutional government in our country, might it not be time to experiment with a different course, such as ending our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, establishing civil relations with the Muslim world, and strongly opposing Israeli apartheid?

You and your predecessor have been responsible for more unnecessary American deaths since 2001 than has Al Qaeda. Is it not time, perhaps, to try something different?

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Your editor has been a musician for many decades. He started the first band his Quaker school ever had and played drums with bands up until 1980 when he switched to stride piano. He had his own band until the mid-1990s and has played with the New Sunshine Jazz Band, Hill City Jazz Band, Not So Modern Jazz Band and the Phoenix Jazz Band.

NOTES ON THE MUSIC

Here are a few tracks:

SAM SMITH'S DECOLAND BAND

'SHINE' 

JELLY ROLL

PHOENIX JAZZ BAND

APEX BLUES   Sam playing with the Phoenix Jazz Band at the Central Ohio Jazz festival in 1990. Joining the band is George James on sax. James, then 84, had been a member of the Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller orchestras and hadappeared on some 60 records. More notes on James

WISER MAN  Sam piano & vocal

OH MAMA  Sam piano & vocal