Saturday, December 24, 2011


December 22, 2011
Congressman Peter Roskam
150 S. Bloomingdale Road, Suite 200
Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Dear Congressman Roskam,

It is a sad irony that just as we're ending one senseless, murderous war, you are joining with others in the government and the media to promote a new war, this time against Iran.

I refer to your recent roundtable discussion in Manhattan discussing the US-Israeli relationship with Congressman Nita Lowey (D-NY). During it you two worked to put a bi-partisan face on the championing of economic sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran; sanctions which promote, not America's, but Israel's national interests in toppling the Iranian government.

But nowhere in your discussion did you consider that cooler heads than yours have described collapsing the Iran's Central Bank the "nuclear option" because it could push an already teetering global economy over the edge while inflicting massive human suffering in Iran. While you and most of the GOP presidential field promote this idea, the real adults residing in the Obama Administration have pushed back arguing "such sanctions could disrupt oil markets and further damage US and world and world economies".

You would do well to consult with University of Chicago political scientist and founder of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, Robert Pape, who argued the following against such sanctions at a recent congressional briefing:

"Imagine, if....the Iranians to create a banking crisis in the US that made it impossible to cash our checks...I don't think it would make
us do what the Iranians wanted."

Professor Pape has extensively studied modern-day sanctions and found that they failed to achieve their objectives over 95% of the time since World War 1, and they are THREE TIMES more likely to end in a shooting war than in success. Are you aware that the Central Bank of Iran regulates Iranian currency, just as our Federal Reserve regulates the US dollar. Since central banks are accorded sovereign immunity, it can be argued that sanctioning the Central Bank of Iran violates international law and some Iranian officials have already stated that such sanctions on their Central Bank would be considered an act of war.

You have been an ardent supporter on toppling the Iranian government since 2007, your first year as my Congressman. According to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, that year the US Congress agreed with President Bush's request to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran. Those operations were designed to destabilize Iran's religious leadership; in other words "regime change", hopefully short of a shooting war. As a result, I led a group of twelve 6th District residents to meet with your staff in your district office to urge your support for Rep. Neil Abercrombie's (D-HI) House Joint Resolution 64 declaring America has no authority to attack Iran. We delivered 315 signatures of 6th District residents supporting HR 64 and requested you respond to our request. Instead, you ignored us. Your Chief of Staff at the time, Steven Moore, even told me we were wasting your time. He did finally agree to get us a response which arrived 35 days after our December 13, 2007, meeting.

And here you are four years later still beating the drums for regime change (and risking war) in Iran, in spite of the horrific consequences our obsession for regime change has brought America and the world. Its time you and your colleagues in the War Party and the Israel Lobby listened to Rep. Ron Paul, (R-TX), the sole voice of reason among the GOP Presidential contenders regarding Iran. He is spot on when he argues that he would not go to war with Iran for Israel's sake, because Israel, with its large nuclear arsenal and sophisticated military, is quite capable of deterring attack, and certain to prevail should it be attacked. Paul also favors talking with Iran instead of constantly threatening them. You are too young to remember but this 66 year old recalls well the very real threat of thousands of Soviet nukes pointed our way, and how we weathered that threat by sane dialogue including the famous red "hot line" phone hookup to prevent an accidental or suicidal spark from incinerating the planet. With more folks like you in government back then, that peaceful outcome would have been far less certain.

You should scrutinize your next Congressional paycheck. It is not issued by the War Party, the Military-Industrial Complex or the Government of Israel. The name at the top says The United States of America. Remember, Congressman: UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU...not to foment war....but to wage peace.

During this holiday season I remain,

Respectfully yours,
Walt Zlotow
Sixth District resident

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Maybe former Chicago Bear wide receiver and newly suspected drug distribution kingpin Sam Hurd's biggest mistake was coming to Chicago. After all, this is the home of the most infamous illegal substance kingpin of all time, Al Capone, who prowled Chicago streets and headlines for nearly eleven years in the 1920's and 30's, spreading happiness around in the form of Prohibition booze. Capone enjoyed fabulous wealth, power and adulation as a rags to illegal riches hero till the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Great Depression, and some incriminating accounting ledgers landed him in the Federal pokey on Alcatraz.

Unlike Capone, who arrived in Chicago as a poor, low level thug in 1920, Hurd arrived here in 2011, a revered multimillionaire from his five years as a Dallas Cowboy and his newly minted 5.5 million dollar contract from the Halas family. Apparently, wealth and fame and status as a Chicago Bear was not satisfying enough. It never is to many, all too human, humans, who want more and more and more. Also unlike Capone, Hurd's alleged illegal career lasted only `bout eleven weeks instead of eleven years.

Unless Hurd's high powered mouthpiece can toss a Hail Mary, Hurd faces up to forty years in a 21st century version of Alcatraz. And we know now from Rod Blagojevich's Federal sentencing, he will have to complete 85% of it before his release. If he gets the max, Hurd could be a broken old man of 60 before he can attend his next Bear game.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Rod and Sam shared a cell. They would have a seeming eternity to discuss their version of Blago's brilliant campaign theme used against Judy Barr Topinka: "What were we thinking"?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


With the ceremonial ending to the Iraq war this week after eight years, eight months and change, pundits have begun asking if the war was worth it. Well, lets look at both sides.

Contrarians would offer that it caused:

4,500 American military and hundreds of contractor deaths

Over a hundred thousand, maimed, injured and mentally broken American casualties

A trillion dollars spent, many billions of which simply vanished by the container load

An estimated two more trillion required to pay for hundreds of thousands of veterans' long term benefits

A domestic infrastructure and economy crumbling from neglect and lack of funds

Millions of dead, injured and displaced Iraqis

An epidemic of Iraqi birth defects thanks to gobs of depleted uranium weaponry residue

An Iraqi ally for our newest bogyman in the Middle East: Iran
America's reputation for peace and fairness around the world at its lowest point ever

War supporters would point out the following:

Defense contractors like Halliburton and private security firms like Blackwater got fabulously wealthy

America still has the biggest, badest military on the planet

We've established the principle that American leaders who start illegal wars will never be held accountable

It's a close call, but after careful consideration, the answer is.....NO.