By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
A Weak Week
As the Politicians Turn
Oddly disconnected from the real world of politics, the presidential campaign pokes along on its own narrow bandwidth. Last week we saw Boring Gore taking a leaf out of Clinton's book and getting a shot in the arm with new masturbation instructorwannabe TV babeauthor Naomi Wolf. There was Vietnam POW and hero John McCain looking really trashy, shooting a TV ad among the graves at Arlington Cemetery. Failing a pop quizwhich Bill Bradley refused to takeShrub Bush admitted he might not be a genius but still had plenty of common sense and could run the nation real good. Boola boola.
There was dapper little Gary Bauer, whom you might hate because he's a Christer, but whom all Washington loves because he had a girl alone in his office for hours. (Gary's wife says he wasn't doing anything bad and to leave him alone.) And there was Steve Forbes doing what he does best, being a rich weenie. Go tiger!
Meanwhile, the world was being reconfigured in time for the millennium. Vladimir Putin, the former Soviet spy and now prime minister, who, it turns out, ran the horrendous East German Stasi secret police from a post in Dresden, is busily crushing Chechnya and starting the process of reclaiming Russia's sphere of influence in the territories of the former Soviet Unionan initiative that has elevated Putin at home, and promises to reestablish tensions with new NATO members like Hungary along frontiers of the old Soviet bloc.
Judge Penfield Jackson's Microsoft findings of factquite distinct from legal findingsmight turn out to be an economic blueprint for the next century, as Slashdot.org observes, but more likely they'll be a blip on the economic screen, rearranging the chairs in cyberspace. Instead of the Microsoft Titanic, may be there will Baby Belllike missile cruisers. One thing is certain: The Microsoft case itself does not reflect any real interest by the Clinton administration in a stiffer prosecution of antitrust policy. The government had to be persuaded to bring the case to begin withpartly by the writings of people like federal judge Stanley Sporkin and consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Far from constituting a road map, the Micro soft case is an exception. The true path-setting act of the Clinton administration's antitrust policy is the president's approval of the grandiose banking act recently passed by Congress, which allows banks and investment companies to merge with insurance companies and other financial institutions to form the greatest concentration of economic power in this century.
Mike McNulty's new, expanded version of his original documentary (Waco: The Rules of Engagement), entitled Waco: A New Revelation and previewed last week in Washington, offers a fresh, intriguing look at Waco, making a convincing case that military personnel actually participated in the final assault. In a riveting two hours of documentary footage, taken largely from the government's own archives, the filmmakers make a strong case that the governmentfar from practicing defensive measures to protect unarmed women and childrenmounted an attack using military operators to squash the Davidians. Footage of helicopter machine guns spitting fire into the compound, and sniper pits with empty shell casings in the dirt below gun ports, belie any government claims of defensive fire.
The filmmaker raises the possibility that FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi, the man who killed Randy Weaver's wife, Vicky, in 1992 (and was accused of negligence in the killing, but later exonerated), was with the Blue sniper squad at Waco. This ought to be grist for former senator John Danforth's inquiry. The documentary presents experts who suggest the government may have placed a special charge atop a bunker to kill the women and children gathered for protection within. The filmmakers additionally suggest the fires set in the compound drove women and kids to an exit where they were gunned down like sitting ducks by Feds.
The most powerful sequence shows a tank rolling up to the compound and suddenly disgorging two figures from its underbelly. The figures deploy to the right of the tank and you see quick muzzle flashes as they apparently shoot into the compound. It was producer Mike McNulty who first brought to light the presence of the Delta Force unit at the Waco compound. The film argues military operators were in the attacking tanks, and the attack described above certainly has the earmarks of a military assault with professional soldierscertainly not the half-assed, crazy shooting of the ATF agents with which the film begins.
If the military actually ran ground operations at Waco, they did so on command of the Joint Chiefs, who, in turn, were working on orders fromor at least in concert withthe White House. At the screening, the filmmakers passed out declassified Pentagon papers from the Joint Chiefs ordering military units to Waco to "provide the FBI with the requested equipment and two technical operators. The equipment will be used for defensive purposes only (to protect the lives of law enforcement personnel)." The first person who ought to be questioned about this is the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell.