In January 2002, Joshua Beckman, an editor of Radical Society, asked several people to respond to this quote from Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz

We've just seen in Afghanistan one way of getting a state out of the business of supporting terrorism. The better way is for states to decide voluntarily that this is not a good business to be in, and to look at what's happened to the Taliban and say wait a minute, I don't want that to happen to me.

We in the Department of Defense, frankly, are not looking for extra work. We would much prefer that all those countries that have been supporting terrorism in the past would reconsider what they're doing and end state support for terrorism because it is I think clearly an evil that's gone from being just one of those bad things that happens in the world to being something that's truly intolerable.

My response was published in the April 2002 issue:

Politics might still be a way of articulating values rather than obliterating thought, but we rarely see any evidence of this from the official spokespersons of the state. Even those most inclined to reject the language of State department briefings are more than likely to focus on the supposed content, as if there were one. It would be insufferably pedantic to constantly critique the language of state business, except in the comic mode of the presumed incontinence in the verbatim utterance of the two Bushes. These are attributed to defect rather than policy, and any talk of what we used to call in the sixties "smoke screens" now seems decidedly retro. Recent research on smoke screens has come up with a scientifically accurate "spf" rating - surreptitious policy factor. The quote at hand registered 64, though they say anything over 32 is effective enough. My brief text scores 133 and counting. I am not, that is, advocating greater clarity or transparency, which are the most common tools of deceit in the game. In this particular case, the smoke may be hiding a policy that is not as bad as expressed. But maybe the danger would be that if the policy was articulated in terms of its values, then we would feel more compelled to follow its implications and applications. This might have an inhibitory effect on the unilateral actions we launch abroad. Moreover, holding people accountable for their words might also be the best defense against what I guess we can now call the Wolfowitz doctrine, which differentiates intolerable evil from the evils we choose to tolerate. I use the term "we" loosely.

We in the Department of Poetry, frankly, are not looking for extra work. We would much prefer that all those speaking for the people would reconsider what they're saying. Truly we do.