L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 54, August 31, 1999
"We didn't start the fire ..."
Darn These Inconvenient Revelations
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
So now the FBI, whose agents and poobahs have sworn for years --
under oath, in front of Congress -- that none of them fired any
incendiary devices into the Branch Davidian Church in Waco on that
fiery day in April of 1993, seems ready to admit (faced with hard
evidence in the possession of George W. Bush's Texas Rangers) that
they did, well, you know, lob in a round or two.
It should hardly matter. Knocking down the walls and staircases of a
wooden building to which one has illegally shut off the electricity
-- being well aware you have left the residents (including women and
children, none wanted for any crime) to heat and light the place with
kerosene, using tanks (sorry, "armored personnel carriers") to spray
flammable CS nerve gas (banned under the Geneva convention) into a
building whose residents have found cause to pile bales of flammable
hay against the walls to block federal machine-gun bullets, and then
purposely keeping fire engines miles away, would constitute grossly
negligent homicide in most jurisdictions, anyway.
But just out of curiosity: When do you think we'll now see a goodly
number of arrogant, lying FBI agents, up to and including their boss,
Janet Reno (who has already "accepted full responsibility"),
indicted, tried, and jailed for perjury before Congress?
If you named a date, could I interest you in a turn-key franchise,
selling ice-fishing rigs in Hades?
In the meantime, concerned observers may want to consider the very
Clintonesque political use of the word "inoculation."
When it became obvious to his 1992 campaign staff that candidate
Clinton was likely to suffer a nearly endless parade of "bimbos"
coming forth to declare they have suffered the unwanted sexual
attentions of Little Rock's Rooster-in-Chief, what strategy did they
The candidate went on television, biting his lip and blinking away a
tear as he admitted he had once "caused pain in mah marriage." The
first little-lady-to-be bit her own tongue and sat next to him,
dressed in Jackie Kennedy pink, implicitly promising to "stand by her
man" ... at least until an appropriate northeastern Senate seat
And it worked. Thereafter, whenever the next "trailer tramp" shuffled
forward to proclaim Bill Clinton had exposed something that needed
kissing, or committed forcible rape during a real estate tour, his
loyal network toadies would snarl with exasperation on the talking
head shows: "The Clintons dealt with all this during the campaign.
Don't we have any fresh news to discuss?"
Today, it's Mike McNulty, co-producer of the Academy Award-nominated
documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" who promises to come out
with a sequel this fall, titled "Waco: A New Revelation." Mr. McNulty
has been asserting all summer he has evidence there were officers of
the Army's Delta Force at Waco the day the Branch Davidian children
were incinerated, and hard evidence that someone -- whether FBI or
U.S. Army -- fired incendiary rounds as well as machine guns into
that building that day.
Meantime, against all expectations, a federal judge is allowing the
civil suit of the Branch Davidian survivors against their government
attackers to move forward in federal court in Texas, virtually
guaranteeing there will be an ongoing series of new revelations about
the brutish behavior of the ATF and FBI in Texas in 1993.
So, what better way to "inoculate" the Clinton administration than to
hold some cursory investigation now, pin the blame on a couple of
low-ranking dweebs (assuming they can't figure out a way to blame
Vince Foster or Ron Brown), and then redeploy Eleanor Clift and
company to shriek: "This was all dealt with back in September of '99.
It's ancient history! Don't we have some news to discuss that's less
than seven years old?"
# # #
It all started in February 1998, the Denver Post reports, when
teacher Barb Vogel read her 50 fifth-graders at the Highline
Community School in Aurora, Colo., a newspaper story about
contemporary slavery in the Sudan.
Sitting in their carpeted classroom "family" area, the children
listened raptly as Ms. Vogel spoke about boys and girls snatched away
from their mothers and fathers.
Some of the 10-year-old began sobbing as they heard about slave
raiders "marching captive children across deserts, forcing them into
almost inconceivable drudgery, mutilation and rape," recalled Bruce
Finley of the Post last week.
But then the children heard that some folks were trying to redeem
slaves with money. The children decided to help. Encouraged by their
teacher, the children set up lemonade stands, babysat, and sold old
toys to raise money.
Their effort -- and the attention it drew -- raised more than $50,000
for Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International, a humanitarian
group the students heard was buying captive Africans their freedom.
Each time Christian Solidarity staffer John Eibner secretly flew into
the Sudan to buy and free slaves, he notified the students and sent
them photos. Each time news of a buyback reached Colorado, the young
students eagerly cut out another paper figure and pasted it on their
classroom's "freedom wall" -- eventually taking credit for helping to
free more than 1,000 slaves and pushing Christian Solidarity's total
to 11,147 buybacks.
The end result? The ironclad laws of the market eventually came into
play, of course. With demand for slaves increasing due to the influx
of such vast sums of capital (the average annual income in the Sudan
is only $500), slave raids increased to fill the new demand.
"Leaders of major human-rights organizations contend slave trading
not only is increasing but that the increases almost certainly are
related to sudden availability of Western money for buybacks," Mr.
Finley of the Post reported Monday.
"If you can pay for more slaves, undoubtedly more slaves will be
provided for you to pay for," agrees Stephen Lewis, deputy executive
director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The buyback approach "is not eradicating slavery, it is enhancing
it," agrees Manase Lomole Waya, director of Humanitarian Assistance
for South Sudan, speaking from his base in Nairobi, Kenya.
The growing debate about the merits of buybacks has left teacher
Vogel "deeply perplexed," the Post reports.
"Did the children and I ever think there would be this controversy?
No. We saw human beings suffering. We wanted to help. It's so simple
But for now, the children plan to continue their buyback campaign --
regardless of the real-world results -- because it makes them feel
good about themselves.
The world of the "compassionate" liberals so often turns out thus,
"so simple" until they're confronted with the unintended, real-world
results of their childlike interventions into complex systems they
don't bother to fully understand.
Here's another idea: perhaps the Highline Community School would like
to replace Ms. Vogel with a teacher willing to do something other
than turn the community's children into slave-traders -- perhaps even
something as radical as studying the real world effects of people's
individual buying and selling decisions. That well-established
science, Ms. Vogel, is called "economics."
Vin Suprynowicz, assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas
Review-Journal, is author of the book, "Send in the Waco Killers:
Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998," available at $21.95 plus
$3 shipping through Mountain Media, P.O. Box 271122, Las Vegas, Nev.
89127; by dialing 1-800-244-2224; or via web site
In "Lautenberg urges expanding new-gun registration nationwide"
(Philadelphia Inquirer, Metro section, 8/27), the senator is quoted
as saying, "The Constitution doesn't say you have the right to buy a
gun without a license or without a permit ..."
However, what constitutional scholar Lautenberg seemingly fails to
realize is that what matters is that the US Constitution:
- does not say that you do not have the right to do so;
- does say that "The enumeration in the Constitution of
certain rights shall not be construed to deny or
disparage others retained by the people." (Amendment IX); and
- does say that "The powers not delegated to the United
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to
the people." (Amendment X)
But it should surprise no one that Lautenberg does not know (or
perhaps care about) the Constitution, or that he would dishonor his
solemn oath of office through actions that work against that sacred
He has done so before.
Remember the "Lautenberg Amendment" that prohibited gun ownership to
persons convicted of misdemeanor "domestic violence"?
Remember that it applied to anyone ever convicted of such a
charge, past present or future?
Remember Article I, Section 9 of that same United States
Clearly Lautenberg does not.
Quoting Frank Lautenberg on the Constitution is an affront bordering
on the obscene.
-- TLE (a Letter to the Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer)
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