Skip to comments.Clark Post During Waco Gets New Attention
Posted on 11/28/2003 4:06:52 PM PST by drypowder
Clark Post During Waco Gets New Attention
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Nov 28, 5:03 PM (ET)
By PETE YOST
(AP) Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark, then NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, is... Full Image
WASHINGTON (AP) - An Army division commanded by Wesley Clark supplied some of the military equipment for the government's 51-day standoff with a religious sect in Waco, Texas, and Clark's deputy, now the Army Chief of Staff, took part in a crucial Justice Department meeting five days before the siege ended in disaster, according to military records.
Clark's involvement in support of the Waco operation a decade ago was indirect and fleeting, according to his former commanding officer. But the assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies by military officers around Clark and soldiers under his command has prompted a flurry of questions to his presidential campaign.
Internet chat rooms and several news stories speculate that Clark played a role in the tactical planning for the operation that ended with the deaths of about 80 followers of the Branch Davidian religious sect and its leader, David Koresh.
Clark's campaign flatly denies any planning role by Clark in Waco. And an investigation by a Justice Department special counsel, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., bears out that assertion. Danforth found no improper actions by anyone in the U.S. military regarding Waco and concluded that the fiery end to the siege resulted from the Davidians setting fires inside the building compound where they were holed up.
Federal law restricts the role of the military in civilian law enforcement operations and "we weren't involved in the planning or execution of the Waco operation in any way, shape, form or fashion," says retired Army Lt. Gen. Horace Grady "Pete" Taylor, who ran the Fort Hood military base 60 miles from the site of the Waco siege.
Waco "was a civilian operation that the military provided some support to" and "any decisions about where the support came from were my decisions, not General Clark's," Taylor said this week.
"Clark's totally innocent in this regardless of what anybody thinks about him," says Taylor, Clark's former commander. "He played no direct role in this activity nor did any of us."
Regarding Taylor's comments, Clark campaign spokeswoman Mary Jacoby said "this is exactly what we've said all along; Gen. Clark had no involvement."
But critics such as documentary filmmaker Michael McNulty say there are many unanswered questions about the deaths at Waco, including the nature of the military equipment that came out of Clark's division and whether it was used.
Taylor said the FBI sent requests for assistance to the Department of Defense, which forwarded them to the Department of the Army and "ultimately some of these requests came down to me," said Taylor.
Much of the military equipment for Waco came from the Texas National Guard, including 10 Bradley fighting vehicles. It is unclear from the public record precisely what military gear Clark's 1st Cavalry Division supplied to civilian law enforcement agents at Waco. One government list of "reimbursable costs" for the 1st Cavalry Division specifies sand bags, fuel for generators and two M1A1 Abrams tanks.
However, the list specifies that the tanks were "not used" and stipulates that no reimbursement for them was to be sought from the FBI. The list also specifies reimbursable costs of nearly $3,500 for 250 rounds of high explosive grenade launcher ammunition. However, the list doesn't specify whether Clark's division or some other Army unit supplied the ammo.
Regardless of who supplied the military items, Danforth's investigation concluded that no one from the government fired a gunshot - despite being fired upon - at the Branch Davidian complex on the final day of the siege.
Clark's assistant division commander at the time, Peter J. Schoomaker, met with Attorney General Janet Reno and other officials from the Justice Department and FBI five days before the siege ended with the fatal fire.
Taylor says that "anything Schoomaker did, he wasn't doing for Clark." Internal Army documents support Taylor's position.
The Justice Department and the FBI requested Schoomaker and William Boykin "by name to meet with the attorney general," states one internal Army document created before the meeting. "These soldiers have extensive special operations experience and have worked with the FBI on previous occasions. Schoomaker "told my watch NCO ... that the FBI plans to pick him up at Fort Hood and fly him first to Waco to assess the situation, and then on to Washington D.C.," states the internal Army document. Schoomaker, currently the Army Chief of Staff, has a background in Army Special Forces. Boykin, who has similar experience, is the Army general whose controversial church speeches cast the war on terrorism in religious terms, prompting recent calls from some in Congress for him to step down.
At the meeting with Reno, Schoomaker and Boykin refused an invitation to assess the plan to inject tear gas into the buildings, a move designed to force the Davidians to flee the compound, an internal Army document states.
"We can't grade your paper," one of the two Special Forces officers was quoted as telling the Justice Department and the FBI. The comment referred to the legal restrictions prohibiting direct participation in civilian law enforcement operations.
McNulty, whose documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" won an Emmy in 1998, provided The AP with several internal Army documents referring to the meeting and obtained from the military under the Freedom of Information Act.
At least one CEV did penetrate the rear of the building and enter the building to some degree. It did break through the outside wall though one could not say it "ran" through the wall. It slowly entered the buillding then backed out. I too heard the track story but don't recall seeing it on video.
Did you buy a copy of "Waco: Rules fo Engagement"?
All anyone with a brain has to do is watch "Waco: Rules of Engagement"... ...and right before their very eyes they can see the concusion grenades going off at the time the fire started.
I have said from the very moment Clark opened his hole hanging around the campaign front... 'Ya, the guy who authorized military force domesticly is going to run for president...'
But you know what? This country is so messed up, maybe it would be a good thing to vote these slugs in anyway. That way, the revolution can start sooner rather than later.
And that's the problem. McNulty editted some material out-of-sequence as well as some other stuff that renders this 'piece' unreliable as far as facts go ...
Only to those who think endlessly splitting hairs over nearly irrelevant details will serve in place of a positive defense of what congress branded as the worst-planned, most costly and egregeous law enforcement action of the 20th century. They fired flash-bangs on a battleground with gas filled, children filled buildings, and connected subducting tunnels, and then lied to congress about it. That alone should have been sufficient to hang all involved by their nards for murdering those children.
Waco stands with Sand Creek as a permanent black mark on the USArmy flag, and all those involved, as well as Sanford, and the federal judge who thought letting the accused's attorneys submit their handpicked re-creation of the event as "evidence" are coverup artists who've gotten away with it. This was a shameful action followed by a shabby and transparent coverup of federal malfeasance from the getgo. Try submitting a murder re-creation by the accused murderer in court, and see what you get from the judge.
And I remain amazed at how stalwart, and instantaneously reactive a defender of this action you are. Try putting down the weasil script you operate off of, and give some straight answers for once, without the usual hand-waving attempts at diffusing the conversation with misleading irrelevancies--it might be refreshing.
By any reasonable lay understanding of what one can plainly see in the pictures, Were there or were there not tanks at waco? Do they strike you as maybe the Waco PD's natural allotment of tanks, for everyday prowling of the streets of Waco? Does the DEA have a battle squadron of tanks? For what purpose, do you speculate--burning up the children of obstinately armed US citizens?
- that's YOUR business and I think it puts you in the intellectual minority as well ...
In fact, at least one CEV did penetrate the rear of the building and enter the building. My only interest was pointing that out.
I merely commented that I too had heard the "body in the tracks" as a way of saying the other poster did not invent the story. I should have left the comment out I didn't realize this was a contest I thought it was a discussion.
'Mark from Michigan' on shortwave?
Alex Jones and his Infowars and PrisonPlanet websites?
Which McNulty films?
All of them?
IF you don't reference your comments BACK to what I was addressing initially - ALL this continued discussion is for naught ...
What evidence that I've commented on didn't come from CNN, or CSPAN? You think it's some kind of big conspiritorial secret that the government defended itself in court by re-creating the events at WACO using the services of a fat military contractor? I'll repeat myself, for the benefit of the intentionally hearing-impaired--what would a real judge in a real court do with such "evidence"?
There is an old saying that states, "A picture tells a thousand words. And the "Out of sequence" pictures I saw in the movie, told me a few thousand words. A handful of words right off the top of my head are...'Posse Commitatus Act was written into law for a reason, stricly forbidding army action domesticly. And what happened in Waco, was a disregard for this law. You warp it anyway you want, but gunships and tanks is a disregard for what this country is supposed to be about.
IOW, just because the guy you mention forgets to dot a few I's and cross a few T's, does not mean army tanks and choppers did not kill American citizens on American soil.
That's always been a puzzle for me. Why did they break through the gym wall in the rear of the building? I believe that some say it was to provide an extra escape route. I don't know.
If this don't do it, then naught.
Were there, or were there not, flammable gas, flashbangs, and what can, by any reasonable interpretation, be called "tanks" employed against buildings full of children at Waco? It is not necessary to review the McNulty films to answer this question, now is it?