Monday, June 28, 1999
President William Jefferson Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Dear President Clinton,
Sorry about that last letter,
I was pissed. You should have heard Paul read it on the air, he sounded
like the HAL 9000 computer. But you know I'm your loyal constituent
through and through, and that's why I know you are interested in my
feelings. Anyhow, you remember the vision I had? For America? My vision?
Remember? Remember the marines walking
across the burning bridge carrying purple coneflowers? Well, I
guess maybe you don't read every letter you get. Okay, I'll try to
Bill, it is all a blank slate - there is only newspoetry
and it is blank - no words, no words, no stories, only a war that
didn't end. The war ended but it didn't, in the weird way of wars
that the media manages to keep unpredictable and paradoxical and confusing
and mysteriously simple to lose interest in. There was a peace settlement,
renewed bombing, Russian troops marching marching. The war ended but
didn't just like it started but didn't and then congress was to vote
on whether it should begin sixty days after it had begun but didn't.
And then we restored peace and autonomy to the ethnic Albanians of
Kosovo but didn't. And we eased the suffering there but didn't. We
dropped incendiaries on an unstable region, a dangerous ethnic gasoline
And high school shootings shocked the entire nation
into stronger gun control legislation but didn't. Bill, you responded
to the Littleton crisis by calling for stricter penalties for movie
theater employees who fail to card minors attempting admittance into
R-Rated movies. To curb the violence with guns, make sure those kids
see nice PG movies like Star Wars. As your loyal supporter, I am not
entirely convinced by your theory, but thanks for trying.
Anyhow, Bill, I was writing you to ask if you've heard
the one about the ammo-piercing weaponry being sold as army surplus
to civilians? Oh, wow. "Fifty-caliber armor-piercing ammunition
has little, if any, legitimate sporting or recreational use,"
the report concluded. Man that's tactful. Unless you want to go kill
a deer and then have to search for an hour to find a scrap of fur
to take home as a trophy. "Not all had armor-piercing and incendiary
capabilities, but more than 100,000 rounds sold on the civilian market
last year did." write Chicago Tribune staff writers William Gaines
and Bob Secter. ".50-caliber gun buyers need only prove they
are 18." Buying beer is more difficult for teenagers than buying
a weapon that can "go through six inches of steel up to a 45-degree
angle at 1000 yards" as an Alaskan gun delaer boasted. So for
sure they can penetrate a classroom door or an algebra teacher's window.
The manual reads "...you can pulverize enemy positions and induce
casualties without necessarily seeing an enemy soldier." This
is a good thing for the American civilians who own them, since none
of them will ever see an enemy soldier, but may want to shoot something
So you see, nuclear secrets are leaked to China and
India, and recycled .50-caliber weapons, M-1's, and other military
weapons are on our streets. We have just finished an expensive ($2.6
billion for the first 71 days of bombing), violent (casualties: 5,000
Serbian soldiers and 1,200 civilians), and failed (on March 24 you
said that our mission was to "deter" a Serbian offensive
against Kosovars) war.
So, Bill, as I've emphasized in my previous correspondence,
you ought to take advantage of the fact that you are on the verge
of retirement to push through some risky policy decisions to make
America safer. Let's start by suing the arms contractors who make
these things and putting those fuckers out of business. Then let's
stop attacking other countries like Iraq and Yugoslavia, where our
attempts to punish rulers for their treatment of their citizens have
hurt only those citizens, while strengthening those rulers' power.
Let's disarm our soldiers, stop risking their lives, and put them
to work restoring peace to war-torn parts of American cities. Let's
advocate a strict policy of no first strike, and cops never shoot
first. Let's stop introducing weapons into the world.
Think about it okay?
Associated Poets / Anarco / Spineless Books
P.S. Now Bill, go ahead and get a tear in your eye buddy,
because I'm about to start talking about the kids. Kids. That word
should be like an unexploded bomb in the Adriatic fishingnet of your
heart, that word should be like an unexploded cluster bomb that detonates
in the hands of an Albanian child who finds it in a field. Think of
the kids, and not the ones in black trenchcoats. I'm not talking about
"tough love" here buddy. Have I touched you?