Monday, June 28, 1999
President William Jefferson Clinton
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C.

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 be concise.

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 spill.

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 " 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 anyway.

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?

William Gillespie
Freelance Novelist
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?

Newspoetry at Spineless Books