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Lest We Forget Lessons From The 1993 Waco Tragedy
Townhall.com ^ | February 27, 2013 | Bob Barr

Posted on 02/27/2013 2:53:53 PM PST by Kaslin

Twenty years ago, on February 28th 1993, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched an assault on the Branch Davidian religious compound just outside Waco, Texas. The resulting siege ended more than seven weeks later, on April 19, but not before claiming the lives of 80 men, women and children -- many burned to death in the final inferno that destroyed the compound.

Even today, videos of the burning buildings remain vivid reminders of an assault gone horribly wrong, from start to finish; and, lessons from what has become known as the “Waco Tragedy” should be borne in mind by all Americans lest a similar tragedy occur in the future.

Although I was not yet a formal candidate for the United States House of Representatives in February 1993, two years later in early 1995, I was a member of the House Judiciary subcommittee that led a series of lengthy hearings into the Waco tragedy. In the immediate aftermath of the 1993 Waco siege, then-President Bill Clinton, through Attorney General Janet Reno, accepted “responsibility” for the results of the raid on the Branch Davidian compound. Unfortunately, the difficulty we in the Congress encountered in obtaining answers from Administration witnesses to our many questions regarding its execution of the operation showed the true hollowness of this acceptance of “responsibility.”

Evidence clearly established that Branch Davidian leader David Koresh (who died in the final conflagration) was a charismatic figure who took advantage of the many devoted followers at the Waco compound for his personal gratification. However, of primary concern to many of us in the Congress was the justification for, and actual conduct of, the government’s assault and lengthy siege of the religious compound.

The government claimed it possessed pre-raid evidence that Koresh and his followers were stockpiling illegal, automatic firearms, and was manufacturing illicit drugs within the compound’s several buildings. Ultimately, no evidence was ever revealed establishing that any automatic firearms were located, or being produced, at the Waco compound although this provided the legal basis for the ATF investigation and initial raid.

Similarly, despite government assertions that Koresh and his followers were manufacturing illicit drugs within the compound, no evidence was ever found to support such allegations. As was revealed during the 1995 congressional hearings, assertions that the Branch Davidians were engaged in the manufacture of methamphetamine and possibly other controlled substances provided justification for the FBI to request and obtain assistance from the U.S. military; assistance that would have been prohibited under the Posse Comitatus law without such evidence.

The manner in which the government used the flimsiest of evidence to justify, and then broaden, the assault on the Davidian compound, and the overall manner in which a massive assault was carried out against a religious group -- albeit not a mainstream one -- led many Americans to lose faith in, or at least question, their confidence in federal government power. This always should be of concern to citizens and government officials alike. Actions tending to undermine that relationship should be addressed openly and vigorously by both groups, but especially by the government, which depends on the confidence of the People for its proper functioning, and ultimately for the success of its programs.

The lack of concern for the human cost of the Waco Siege reflected in the refusal by the Clinton Administration ultimately to account for the conduct of the operation, however, is perhaps the darkest and most tragic aftermath of the siege. The government used armored tank-like vehicles to break down walls of the building in which dozens of men, women, children and infants were known to be huddling, then injected massive quantities of tear gas (known to be highly flammable) into that structure. Witnessing the not-unexpected resulting deadly fire seared in the minds of many good, law-abiding Americans the true human cost of unfettered and unaccountable government power.

On this 20th anniversary of the Waco Siege, and in memory of all who died in the tragedy, including four ATF agents, we all should pause and pray that never again might we witness power run so tragically amuck.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: atf; batfe; clintonadmin; drugs; tragedy; waco

1 posted on 02/27/2013 2:54:02 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

The Clinton Regime, aided and abetted by the MSM, was always able to bury their mistakes. - The Obama Regime, a continuation of the “Clinton Dynasty” as far as their mutual aims are concerned (world “governance”), is also able, aided and abetted by the MSM, to bury their mistakes.


2 posted on 02/27/2013 3:02:29 PM PST by Twinkie (JOHN 3:16)
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To: Kaslin

Waco was a test to see if the Feds could slaughter a bunch of American men, women and children and get away with it.


3 posted on 02/27/2013 3:05:25 PM PST by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux)
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To: Kaslin

And today they are debating gun control. The irony of this is chilling.


4 posted on 02/27/2013 3:06:49 PM PST by Sybeck1 (What has the GOP done today to gain your support in 2014?)
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To: Kaslin

It the Davidians had been sufficiently armed and had fought back against the jack boots two things would have been differnt. First, more of them would have lived and second, the resulting trials would have been impossible for the media to whitewash for Clinton. Heck they even might have escaped serious jail sentences as the Clinton machine would have been desparate to avoid all the necessary depositions a trial would bring.


5 posted on 02/27/2013 3:10:25 PM PST by RightOnTheBorder
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To: Kaslin

It was only the government protecting itself against those eeeevvvvviiiillll religious fanatics with guns.

< I hope you see my sarcasm here /sarc >


6 posted on 02/27/2013 3:12:09 PM PST by I want the USA back
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To: Kaslin

7 posted on 02/27/2013 3:31:10 PM PST by Sybeck1 (What has the GOP done today to gain your support in 2014?)
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To: RightOnTheBorder
It the Davidians had been sufficiently armed and had fought back against the jack boots two things would have been different.

If the Branch Davidians had the weapons that Reno claimed they had ya think they would have used them.

8 posted on 02/27/2013 3:39:22 PM PST by Slyfox (Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness -G Wash.)
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A couple of months ago, a young person I know asked me if I’d heard of Waco and Ruby Ridge. He’d found out about them on his own, fooling around on YouTube.

It was nice to have a conversation about these events - nicer to know they won’t go unremembered by the new generation - and to help a young person understand what the government is willing to do against its own citizens.


9 posted on 02/27/2013 3:50:05 PM PST by radiohead
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To: Kaslin

Hate to break the news to you....Bob Barr

Waco is forgotten by all except those who understand the Federal government outright slaughtered those men, women and children...

It will happen again..


10 posted on 02/27/2013 3:52:56 PM PST by Popman
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To: Popman; radiohead

See the post above yours


11 posted on 02/27/2013 4:08:04 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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12 posted on 02/27/2013 4:10:37 PM PST by musicman (Until I see the REAL Long Form Vault BC, he's just "PRES__ENT" Obama = Without "ID")
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To: Sybeck1

Who’s that in the picture?


13 posted on 02/27/2013 4:13:29 PM PST by gettinolder (Pursue the enemy relentlessly to the limit of every man's endurance.)
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To: gettinolder

http://www.carolmoore.net/waco/waco-fire-photo.html

Unnamed FBI agent


14 posted on 02/27/2013 5:26:06 PM PST by Sybeck1 (What has the GOP done today to gain your support in 2014?)
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To: Kaslin

Bump.

Been having an email exchange with one of the younger people who survived the raid. He and his father were arrested outside the compound just after the raid started. His father was charged with murder and the charges were eventually dismissed becuase of the fact that he wasn’t present when the murders took place and the arresting officers ended up testifying to that fact.

It didn’t stop the government from ruining the man.

The younger man tells me that while he wasn’t so fond of Koresh that he never saw any of the supposed abuse that was purported to be going on. He thinks that the abuse stories were just part of a narrative that tried to justify what had happened.


15 posted on 03/21/2013 4:19:46 PM PDT by MeganC (The left have so twisted public perceptions that the truth now appears pornographic.- SpaceBar)
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