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We are going to investigate the Waco tragedy once again, based on new
evidence that lies were told in defense of the government’s armed
assault on a religious compound. Unless there is some change in
direction, this investigation will be as fruitless as the first one.
We are being set up to believe that if the FBI did not start the
fire, the demonized David Koresh did, so everything that happened was
his fault. This is more than a wrong assumption. This is a lie posturing
as an assumption. The truth is that the safety of the children should
have been the top priority guiding the hands of the U.S. government and
its agents. It was not, and that is the everlasting shame of Waco.
Of all the events of the past decade that led to cynicism of the
government and alienation from it, none had the impact of the Waco
tragedy. Nearly 80 American citizens died horrible deaths, including
two pregnant women and 25 children, 17 of whom were under 10 years of
age. They burned to death in a lantern-lit, wooden structure that had
been violently rammed by armored tanks and assaulted by chemical
weapons. The attack was authorized by President Clinton and ordered by
Attorney General Reno.
It was a tragedy that would have toppled most civilized governments,
or at least resulted in the resignation of a few top-level scapegoats —
but not in an America where justice is routinely mangled, the
Constitution is ignored, and corruption thrives in high places.
The behavior of the mainstream media was revealing. In every other
instance, if 25 children died horrible and arguably unnecessary deaths,
the reporters and cameras would have been all over the story. News
editors, particularly TV news editors, would had sent teams of ace
reporters and cameramen down to the scene, with the usual instruction
not to come back until they had captured on film the faces, words and
tears of bereaved family members. Every lurid detail and aspect of the
carnage would have been tediously exploited.
But that didn’t happen. We didn’t view the funerals, hear the gospel
music or listen to the praise heaped on the dead by those who knew and
loved them. There was no national mourning. President Clinton did not
show up to deliver the eulogy. He didn’t plant a dogwood tree on the
White House grounds in memory of them as he did for the precious
children who died in the Oklahoma City bombing. This time, honoring the
victims served no political agenda.
It is as though it would have been politically incorrect to have
covered the story with attention-getting intensity. To make too much of
it might have aroused sympathy for the victims, or even worse, aroused
questions about why “getting” the “evil” Koresh outweighed the
endangerment of the children.
This was not like Columbine or Oklahoma City. This was not like the
deaths of John Kennedy Jr. or Princess Diana. This time, we were not
taken to our knees by a burden of grief too heavy to bear. This time,
you see, we were dealing with religious “nuts” and “fanatics.”
Before the fire, huge tanks had rumbled up and rammed gaping holes in
the walls of the buildings. Heavy volumes of gas were pumped into the
structures, saturating the air, burning the skin, blinding the eyes. The
plaintive wails of frightened, coughing children filled the air. They
were held close, and told to be brave.
Outside, loudspeakers blared, “This is not an assault! This is not an
assault!” — a message so ludicrous that those inside must have doubted
their own senses.
There were, no doubt, screams of fear and pain from the children and
babies, cries of horror, shouted prayers and supplications … thick
black smoke … the rising heat of fierce, wind-driven flames … panic
… confusion … child-calls for “mama!” … chaos … the end of the
When Attorney General Reno accepted full responsibility for all of
this, she became a hero to the Washington establishment. Rather than an
indictment for criminal negligence, reckless child endangerment and
violation of the civil rights of innocent children, she was
congratulated for her courage in saying “the buck stops here.” She still
insists she has “done nothing wrong.”
Perhaps it is possible to ask a question about Waco without being
labeled a dangerous, anti-government crazy. Officers Stacey Koon and
Laurence Powell were sent to prison for violating the civil rights of
ex-felon Rodney King by using excessive force while arresting him. Was
not the whole Waco operation, including the gassing of infants and
children, an excessive use of force in making an arrest?
Who protects the civil rights of the innocent when it is the
government itself who violates them? Why isn’t Janet Reno in jail?