Saturday, January 17, 2009


As the Bush administration fades into the sunset, so too should the use of the word pair "terrorism/terrorist".

These overworked words mean everything and they mean nothing.

They mean everything when your leaders desire to remake the Middle East in their image at the point of a six hundred billion dollar military juggernaught but lack a marketing campaign. The administration advertising writers were truly gifted by the 911 attacks and came up with "The War on Terrorism". The beauty of this slogan was that it allowed the administration to wage wage war anywhere, anytime they wished in its name. The targets of their warfare were reduced to either being terrorists or aiding terrorists. They could kidnap anyone around the world at will and have them tortured in torture-friendly lands simply by labeling them "suspected terrorists". They could set up the Gulag at Guantanamo to hold them endlessly without a shred of legal protection, which, if granted, would determine many were utterly "terror free". Some were simply sold to the American invaders by Afghan and Iraqi tribal chiefs under our "cash for terrorists" program.

The words mean nothing because they do not shed an iota of understanding to the complex world we inhabit. They mean nothing because they stifle real debate about the sanity and legality of our military ventures. They mean nothing because they could just as easily be applied to American administrations throughout history. The first terrorists? Weren't the Founding Fathers nothing but a bunch of terrorists in the eyes of British owners of the American colonies? Wasn't the American army that invaded Mexico in 1846 viewed as a terrorist horde by the folks who had Texas and a handful of other western states stolen from them? Oh, I forgot. That wasn't terrorism; merely Manifest Destiny. Those 300,000 Filipinos slaughtered after our conquest of Spain in 1898 weren't killed by terrorists. They were killed by the righteous American army in the name of liberation. That only takes us to end of the 19th century!

Terrorist and terrorism are words I have yet to hear the President Elect utter. That does not mean he will ignore real threats to America. It means he understands nuance.

Much as I am tempted, I must practice what I preach. I wouldn't even characterize the last day of the current administration as "The End of Terrorism".

Also published in Daily Herald, February 1, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009


December 31, 2008

Congressman Peter Roskam
150 S. Bloomingdale Road, Suite 200
Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Dear Congressman Roskam,

With just a few hours left in your initial term as IL Sixth District Congressman it is appropriate to sum up your freshman efforts.

With profound sadness I must report that your wholehearted support of our criminal war in Iraq and reckless, unregulated financial and tax policies have helped lead America to the brink of ruin. That is no small accomplishment for a rookie Congressman.

For the record, Congressman, your initial term represents a deluge of red blood and red ink for which you not only did nothing to stop, you gave your full measure of support. Do you have any concept of the loss? One thousand, two hundred, sixteen US soldier’s dead during your term, not to protect your freedom or my freedom, but to prosecute the administration’s made up fairy tale war. Thousands more either physically wounded or mentally broken, not to improve America’s standing in the world, but to continue its decline. Two hundred forty billion dollars squandered on this mischief, Congressman, at the rate of ten billions per month. The prospect of three trillions of dollars squandered before the Devil presents his final bill.

And what was your signal accomplishment while all this murder and mayhem you enabled was occurring, sir? You developed a genius for posturing about being the savior of the downtrodden taxpayer. There you were on the nightly news berating the heads of the Big 3 automakers about the need to work for one dollar per year instead of the millions earned as their companys’ slid into bankruptcy. There you were telling them they were “tone deaf” for flying their gas guzzling corporate jets to the beating you and your fellow Congressional posturers were prepared to administer to them. Do you know what is “tone deaf” Congressman? It is spending three hundred million dollars daily for a self destructive war while our homeland disintegrates from financial mismanagement brought on largely by your economic philosophy of un-regulated markets and endless tax cuts for the rich.

If you weren’t embarking on a second term I would be directing my remarks to you successor. But as you prepare to take the Congressional oath again, it is appropriate to remind you of a patriotic requirement incumbent upon you and every member of Congress:

1. Cut off funding for the Iraq war and bring every last soldier home. They have killed enough and they have suffered enough.
2. Call for a truly impartial investigation of how we were brought to launch this mindless venture.
3. Bring the perpetrators of this misfeasance and malfeasance to account.

Upon your election two years ago I ended my initial communication to you thusly:

You are brilliant and have potential. Use your talent and opportunity wisely to end this madness
and save lives. You may last as long as your predecessor.

With the skill you have honed posturing for misguided patriotism, and fraudulent fiscal management, you have utterly avoided dealing with the war and domestic economic collapse, but you have utterly succeeded in securing a lifetime position as our Congressman. Since hopes springs eternal, and eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, we will continue this discussion in spite of your reticence to respond.

Respectfully yours,

Walt Zlotow
IL 6th District Resident