Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Part 1

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Gore Vidal.

It is a law of physics (still on the books when last I looked) that in nature there is no action without reaction. The same appears to be true in human nature- that is, history. In the last six years, two dates are apt to be remembered for longer than usual in the United States of Amnesia: April 19, 1995, when a much-decorated infantry soldier called Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 innocent men, women, and children. Why? McVeigh told us at eloquent length, but our rulers and their media preferred to depict him as a s.a.d.i.s.tic, crazed monster-not a good person like the rest of us-who had done it just for kicks. On September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden and his Islamic terrorist organization struck at Manhattan and the Pentagon. The Pentagon Junta in charge of our affairs programmed their president to tell us that bin Laden was an “evildoer” who envied us our goodness and wealth and freedom.

None of these explanations made much sense, but our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention, in McVeigh’s case, our own. All we are left with are blurred covers of Time and Newsweek where monstrous figures from Hieronymus Bosch stare out at us, h.e.l.lfire in their eyes, while the New York Times and its chorus of imitators spin complicated stories about mad Osama and cowardly McVeigh, thus convincing most Americans that only a couple of freaks would ever dare strike at a nation that sees itself as close to perfection as any human society can come. That our ruling junta might have seriously provoked McVeigh (a heartland American hero of the Gulf War) and Osama, a would-be Muslim Defender of the Faith, was never dealt with.

Things just happen out there in the American media, and we consumers don’t need to be told the why of anything. Certainly those of us who are in the why-business have a difficult time getting through the corporate-sponsored American media, as I discovered when I tried to explain McVeigh in Vanity Fair, or when, since September 11, my attempts to get published have met with failure.

Another silenced September voice was that of Arno J. Mayer, professor emeritus of history at Princeton, whose piece ent.i.tled “Untimely Reflections” was turned down everywhere in the United States, including by The Nation, where I have been a contributing editor for many years (and where my untimely reflections on September 11 were also turned down). Mayer published his piece in the French newspaper Le Monde. He wrote, in part: Until now, in modern times, acts of individual terror have been the weapon of the weak and the poor, while acts of state and economic terror have been the weapons of the strong. In both types of terror it is, of course, important to distinguish between target and victim. This distinction is crystal clear in the fatal hit on the World Trade Center: the target is a prominent symbol and hub of globalizing corporate financial and economic power; the victim the hapless and partly subaltern workforce. Such distinction does not apply to the strike on the Pentagon: it houses the supreme military command-the ultima ratio regmun-of capitalist globalization even if it entails, in the Pentagon’s own language, “collateral” damage to human life.

In any case, since 1947 America has been the chief and pioneering perpetrator of “preemptive” state terror, exclusively in the Third World and therefore widely dissembled. Besides the unexceptional subversion and overthrow of governments in compet.i.tion with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Washington has resorted to political, surrogate death squads, and unseemly freedom fighters (e.g., bin Laden). It masterminded the killing of Lumumba and Allende; and it unsuccessfully tried to put to death Castro, Khadafi, and Saddam Hussein; and vetoed all efforts to rein in not only Israel’s violation of international agreements and U.S. resolutions but also its practice of preemptive state terror.

I should point out that Le Monde is a moderately conservative highbrow publication and, for decades, a supporter of Israel. Arno Mayer himself spent “school days” in a German concentration camp.

My own September 11 piece was subsequently published in Italian, in a book like this one. To everyone’s astonishment it was an instant best-seller, and then translated in a dozen other languages. With both bin Laden and McVeigh, I thought it useful to describe the various provocations on our side that drove them to such terrible acts.

September 11, 2001 (A tuesday).

According to the Koran, it was on a Tuesday that Allah created darkness. Last September 11 when suicide pilots were crashing commercial airliners into crowded American buildings, I did not have to look to the calendar to see what day it was: Dark Tuesday was casting its long shadow across Manhattan and along the Potomac River. I was also not surprised that despite the seven or so trillion dollars that we have spent since 1950 on what is euphemistically called “Defense,” there would have been no advance warning from the FBI or CIA or Defense Intelligence Agency.

While the Bus.h.i.tes have been eagerly preparing for the last war but two-missiles from North Korea, clearly marked with flags, would rain down on Portland, Oregon, only to be intercepted by our missile-shield balloons-the foxy Osama bin Laden knew that all he needed for his holy war on the infidel were fliers willing to kill themselves along with those random pa.s.sengers who happened to be aboard hijacked airliners.

The telephone keeps ringing. In summer I live south of Naples, Italy. Italian newspapers, TV, radio want comment. So do I. I have written lately about Pearl Harbor. Now I get the same question over and over: Isn’t this exactly like Sunday morning, December 7, 1941? No, it’s not, I say. As far as we now know, we had no warning of Tuesday’s attack. Of course, our government has many, many secrets that our enemies always seem to know about in advance but our people are not told of until years later, if at all. President Roosevelt provoked the j.a.panese to attack us at Pearl Harbor. I describe the various steps he took in a book, The Golden Age. We now know what was on his mind: coming to England’s aid against j.a.pan’s ally, Hitler, a virtuous plot that ended triumphantly for the human race. But what was-is-on bin Laden’s mind?

For several decades there has been an unrelenting demonization of the Muslim world in the American media. Since I am a loyal American, I am not supposed to tell you why this has taken place, but then it is not usual for us to examine why anything happens; we simply accuse others of motiveless malignity. “We are good,” G.W. proclaims, “They are evil,” which wraps that one up in a neat package. Later, Bush himself put, as it were, the bow on the package in an address to a joint session of Congress where he shared with them-as well as with the rest of us somewhere over the Beltway-his profound knowledge of Islam’s wiles and ways: “They hate what they see right here in this Chamber.” I suspect a million Americans nodded sadly in front of their TV sets. “Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and a.s.semble and disagree with each other.” At this plangent moment what American’s gorge did not rise like a Florida chad to the bait? Should the forty-four-year-old Saudi Arabian, bin Laden, prove to be the prime mover, we still know surprisingly little about him. The six-foot seven-inch Osama enters history in 1979 as a guerrilla warrior working alongside the CIA to defend Afghanistan against the invading Soviets. Was he anticommunist? Irrelevant question. He wants no infidels of any sort in the Islamic world. Described as fabulously wealthy, Osama is worth “only” a few million dollars, according to a relative. It was his father who created a fabulous fortune with a construction company that specialized in building palaces for the Saudi royal family. That company is now worth several billion dollars, presumably shared by Osama’s fifty-four brothers and sisters. Although he speaks perfect English, he was educated entirely at Jiddah. He has never traveled outside the Arabian Peninsula. Several siblings lived in the Boston area and have given large sums to Harvard. We are told that much of his family appears to have disowned him and many of his a.s.sets in the Saudi kingdom have been frozen.

Where does Osama’s money now come from? He is a superb fund-raiser for Allah but only within the Arab world; contrary to legend, he has taken no CIA money. He warned the Saudi king that Saddam Hussein was going to invade Kuwait. Osama a.s.sumed that after his own victories as a guerrilla against the Russians, he and his organization would be used by the Saudis to stop the Iraqis. To Osama’s horror, King Fahd sent for the Americans: thus were infidels established on the sacred soil of Mohammed. “This was,” he said, “the most shocking moment of my life.” “Infidel,” in his sense, does not mean anything of great moral consequence-like cheating s.e.xually on your partner; rather it means lack of faith in Allah-the one G.o.d-and in his prophet Mohammed.

Osama persuaded four thousand Saudis to go to Afghanistan for military training by his group. In 1991, Osama moved on to Sudan. In 1994, when the Saudis withdrew his citizenship, Osama was already a legendary figure in the Islamic world and so, like Shakespeare’s Coriola.n.u.s, he could tell the royal Saudis, “I banish you. There is a world elsewhere.” Unfortunately, that world is us.

In a twelve-page “declaration of war,” Osama presented himself as the potential liberator of the Muslim world from the great Satan of modem corruption, the United States.

Osama’s organization blew up two of our emba.s.sies in Africa, and put a hole in the side of an American warship off Yemen, Clinton lobbed a missile at a Sudanese aspirin factory, and so on to the events of Black Tuesday. G. W. Bush was then transformed before our eyes into the cheerleader that he had been in prep school. First he promised us not only “a new war” but a “secret war” and, best of all, according to the twinkle in his eye, “a very long war.” Meanwhile, “this administration will not talk about any plans we may or may not have … We’re going to find these evildoers and we’re going to hold them accountable,” along with the other devils who have given Osama shelter.

As of the first month of 2002, the Pentagon Junta pretends that the devastation of Afghanistan by our highflying air force has been a great victory (no one mentions that the Afghans were not an American enemy-it was tike destroying Palermo in order to eliminate the Mafia). In any case, we may never know what, if anything, was won or lost (other than much of the Bill of Rights).

A member of the Pentagon Junta, Rumsfeld, a skilled stand-up comic, daily made fun of a large group of “journalists” on prime-time TV. At great, and often amusing, length, Rummy tells us nothing about our losses and their losses. He did seem to believe that the sentimental Osama was holed up in a cave on the Pakistan border instead of settled in a palace in Indonesia or Malaysia, two densely populated countries where he is admired and we are not. In any case, never before in our long history of undeclared unconst.i.tutional wars have we, the American people, been treated with such impish disdain-so many irrelevant spear carriers to be highly taxed (those of us who are not rich) and occasionally invited to partic.i.p.ate in the odd rigged poll.

When Osama was four years old I arrived in Cairo for a conversation with Na.s.ser, to appear in Look magazine. I was received by Mohammed Hekal, Na.s.ser’s chief adviser. Na.s.ser himself was not to be seen. He was at the Barricade, his retreat on the Nile; he had just survived an attempt. Hekal spoke perfect English; he was sardonic, worldly. “We are studying the Koran for hints on birth control.” A sigh.

“Not helpful?”

“Not very. But we keep looking for a text.” We talked off and on for a week. Na.s.ser wanted to modernize Egypt. But there was a reactionary, religious element. . . Another sigh. Then a surprise.” We’ve found something very odd, the young village boys-the bright ones that we are educating to be engineers, chemists and so on, are turning religious on us.”

“Right wing?”

“Very.” Hekal was a spiritual son of our eighteenth-century enlightenment. I thought of Hekal on Dark Tuesday when one of his modernized Arab generation had, in the name of Islam, struck at what had been, forty years earlier, Na.s.ser’s model for a modern state. Yet Osama seemed, from all accounts, no more than a practicing, as opposed to zealous, Muslim. Ironically, he was trained as an engineer. Understandably, he dislikes the United States as symbol and as fact. But when our clients, the Saudi royal family, allowed American troops to occupy the Prophet’s holy land, Osama named the fundamental enemy “the Crusader Zionist Alliance.” Thus, in a phrase, he defined himself and reminded his critics that he is a Wahabi Muslim, a Puritan activist not unlike our Falwell/ Robertson zanies, only serious. He would go to war against the United States, “the head of the serpent.” Even more ambitiously, he would rid all the Muslim states of their western-supported regimes, starting with that of his native land. The word “Crusader” was the giveaway. In the eyes of many Muslims, the Christian west, currently in alliance with Zionism, has for a thousand years tried to dominate the lands of the Umma-the true believers. That is why Osama is seen by so many simple folk as the true heir to Saladin, the great warrior king who defeated Richard of England and the western crusaders.

Who was Saladin? Dates 1138-1193. He was an Armenian Kurd. In the century before his birth, western Christians had established a kingdom at Jerusalem, to the horror of the Islamic Faithful. Much as the United States used the Gulf War as pretext for our current occupation of Saudi Arabia, Saladin raised armies to drive out the Crusaders. He conquered Egypt, annexed Syria, and finally smashed the Kingdom of Jerusalem in a religious war that pitted Mohammedan against Christian. He united and “purified” the Muslim world and though Richard Lion-heart was the better general, in the end he gave up and went home. As one historian put it, Saladin “typified the Mohammedan utter self-surrender to a sacred cause.” But he left no government behind him, no political system because, as he himself said, “My troops will do nothing save when I ride at their head …” Now his spirit has returned with a vengeance.

The Bush administration, though eerily inept in all but its task, which is to exempt the rich from taxes, has casually torn up most of the treaties to which civilized nations subscribe- like the Kyoto Accords or the nuclear missile agreement with Russia. The Bus.h.i.tes go about their relentless plundering of the Treasury- and now, thanks to Osama, Social Security (a supposedly untouchable trust fund), which, like Lucky Strike green, has gone to a war currently costing us S3 billion a month. They have also allowed the FBI and CIA either to run amok or not budge at all, leaving us, the very first “indispensable” and-at popular request-last global empire, rather like the Wizard of Oz doing his odd pretend-magic tricks while hoping not to be found out. Meanwhile, G.W. booms, “Either you are with us or you are with the Terrorists.” That’s known as asking for it.

To be fair, one cannot entirely blame the current Oval One for our incoherence. Though his predecessors have generally had rather higher IQs than his, they, too, a.s.siduously served the 1 percent that owns the country while allowing everyone else to drift. Particularly culpable was Bill Clinton. Although the most able chief executive since FDR, Clinton, in his frantic pursuit of election victories, set in place the trigger for a police state that his successor is now happily squeezing.

Police state? What’s that all about? In April 1996, one year after the Oklahoma City bombing, President Clinton signed into law the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a so- called conference bill in which many grubby hands played a part, including the bill’s cosponsor, Senate Majority leader Dole. Although Clinton, in order to win elections, did many unwise and opportunistic things, he seldom, tike Charles II, ever said an unwise one. But faced with opposition to ant.i.terrorism legislation that not only gives the attorney general the power to use the armed services against the civilian population, neatly nullifying the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, it also, selectively, suspends habeas corpus, the heart of Anglo-American liberty. Clinton attacked his critics as “unpatriotic.” Then, wrapped in the flag, he spoke from the throne: “There is nothing patriotic about our pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.” This is breathtaking since it includes, at one time or another, most of us. Put another way, was a German in 1939 who said that he detested the n.a.z.i dictatorship unpatriotic?

There have been ominous signs that our fragile liberties have been dramatically at risk since the 1970s when the white-shirt-blue-suit-discreet-tie FBI reinvented itself from a corps of “generalists,” trained in law and accounting, into a confrontational “Special Weapons and Tactics” (aka SWAT) Green Beret-style army of warriors who like to dress up in camouflage or black ninja clothing and, depending on the caper, ski masks. In the early *80s an FBI super-SWAT team, the Hostage 270 Rescue Team, was formed. As so often happens in United States-speak, this group specialized not in freeing hostages or saving lives but in murderous attacks on groups that offended them like the Branch Davidians- evangelical Christians who were living peaceably in their own compound at Waco, Texas, until an FBI SWAT team, illegally using army tanks, killed eighty-two of them, including twenty-five children. This was 1993.

Post Tuesday, SWAT teams can now be used to go after suspect Arab Americans or, indeed, anyone who might be guilty of terrorism, a word without legal definition (how can you fight terrorism by suspending habeas corpus since those who want their corpuses released from prison are already locked up?). But in the post-Oklahoma City trauma, Clinton said that those who did not support his draconian legislation were terrorist coconspirators who wanted to turn “America into a safe house for terrorists.” If the cool Clinton could so froth, what are we to expect from the overheated post-Tuesday Bush?

Incidentally, those who were shocked by Bush the Younger’s shout that we are now “at war” with Osama should have quickly put on their collective thinking caps. Since a nation can only be at war with another nation-state, why did our smoldering if not yet burning bush come up with such a war cry? Think hard. This will count against your final grade. Give up? Well, most insurance companies have a rider that they need not pay for damage done by “an act of war.” Although the men and women around Bush know nothing of war and less of our Const.i.tution, they understand fund-raising. For this wartime exclusion, Hartford Life would soon be breaking open its piggy bank to finance Republicans for years to come. But the mean-spirited Washington Post pointed out that under U.S. case law, only a sovereign nation, not a bunch of radicals, can commit an “act of war.” Good try, G.W. This now means that we the people, with our tax money, will be allowed to bail out the insurance companies, a rare privilege not afforded to just any old generation.

Although the American people have no direct means of influencing their government, their “opinions” are occasionally sampled through polls. According to a November 1995 CNN-Time poll, 55 percent of the people believe “the federal government has become so powerful that it poses a threat to the rights of ordinary citizens.” Three days after Dark Tuesday, 74 percent said they thought, “It would be necessary for Americans to give up some of their personal freedoms.” Eighty-six percent favored guards and metal detectors at public buildings and events. Thus, as the police state settles comfortably in place, one can imagine Cheney and Rumsfeld studying these figures, transfixed with joy. “It’s what they always wanted, d.i.c.k.”

“And to think we never knew, Don.”

“Thanks to those liberals, d.i.c.k.”

“We’ll get those b.a.s.t.a.r.ds now, Don.”

It seems forgotten by our amnesiac media that we once energetically supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s war against Iran and so Saddam thought, not unnaturally, that we wouldn’t mind his taking over Kuwait’s filling stations. Overnight our employee became Satan-and so remains, as we torment his people in the hope that they will rise up and overthrow him-as the Cubans were supposed, in their U.S.-imposed poverty, to have dismissed Castro for his ongoing refusal to allow the Kennedy brothers to murder him in their so-called Operation Mongoose. Our imperial disdain for the lesser breeds did not go unnoticed by the latest educated generation of Saudi Arabians, and by their evolving leader, Osama bin Laden, whose moment came in 2001 when a weak American president took office in questionable circ.u.mstances.

The New York Times is the dispenser of opinion received from corporate America. It generally stands tall, or tries to. Even so, as of September 13 the NYT’s editorial columns were all slightly off-key.

Under the heading “Demands of Leadership” the NYT was upbeat, sort of. It’s going to be okay if you work hard and keep your eye on the ball, Mr. President. Apparently Bush is “facing multiple challenges, but his most important job is a simple matter of leadership.” Thank G.o.d. Not only is that all it takes, but it’s simple, too! For a moment… The NYT then slips into the way things look as opposed to the way they ought to look. “The Administration spent much of yesterday trying to overcome the impression that Mr. Bush showed weakness when he did not return to Washington after the terrorists struck.” But from what I could tell no one cared, while some of us felt marginally safer, that the national silly-billy was trapped in his Nebraska bunker. Patiently, the NYT spells it out for Bush and for us, too. “In the days ahead, Mr. Bush may be asking the nation to support military actions that many citizens, particularly those with relations in the service, will find alarming. He must show that he knows what he is doing.” Well, that’s a bull’s-eye. If only FDR had got letters like that from Arthur Krock at the old NYT.

Finally, Anthony Lewis thinks it wise to eschew Bus.h.i.te unilateralism in favor of cooperation with other nations in order to contain Tuesday’s darkness by understanding its origin {my emphasis) while ceasing our provocations of cultures opposed to us and our arrangements. Lewis, unusually for a New York Times writer, favors peace now. So do I. But then we are old and have been to the wars and value our fast-diminishing freedoms unlike those jingoes now beating their tom-toms in Times Square in favor of all-out war for other Americans to fight.

As usual, the political columnist who has made the most sense of all this is William Pfaff in the international Herald Tribune (September 17, 2001). Unlike the provincial war lovers at the New York Times, he is appalled by the spectacle of an American president who declined to serve his country in Vietnam, howling for war against not a nation or even a religion but one man and his accomplices, a category that will ever widen.

Pfaff: The riposte of a civilized nation: one that believes in good, in human society and does oppose evil, has to be narrowly focused and, above all, intelligent.

Missiles are blunt weapons. Those terrorists are smart enough to make others bear the price for what they have done, and to exploit the results.

A maddened U.S. response that hurts still others is what they want: It will fuel the hatred that already fires the self-righteousness about their criminal acts against the innocent.

What the United States needs is cold reconsideration of how it has arrived at this pa.s.s. It needs, even more, to foresee disasters that might lie in the future.

War is the no-win all-lose option. The time has come to put the good Kofi Annan to use. As glorious as total revenge will be for our war lovers, a truce between Saladin and the Crusader- Zionists is in the interest of the entire human race. Long before the dread monotheists got their hands on history’s neck, we had been taught how to handle feuds by none other than the G.o.d Apollo as dramatized by Aeschylus in Eumenides (a polite Greek term for the Furies who keep us daily company on CNN). Orestes, for the sin of matricide, cannot rid himself of the Furies who hound him wherever he goes. He appeals to the G.o.d Apollo who tells him to go to the UN-also known as the citizens’ a.s.sembly at Athens- which he does and is acquitted on the ground that blood feuds must be ended or they will smolder forever, generation after generation, and great towers shall turn to flame and incinerate us all until “the thirsty dust shall never more suck up the darkly steaming blood . . . and vengeance crying death for death! But man with man and state with state shall vow the pledge of common hate and common friendship, that for man has oft made blessing out of ban, be ours until all time.” Let Annan mediate between East and West before there is nothing left of either of us to salvage.

The awesome physical damage Osama and company did to us on Dark Tuesday is as nothing compared to the knockout blow to our vanishing liberties-the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 combined with the recent requests to Congress for additional special powers to wiretap without judicial order; to deport lawful permanent residents, visitors, and undoc.u.mented immigrants without due process; and so on. As I write, U.S. “Concentration Camp X-Ray” is filling up at marine base Quantanamo Bay, Cuba. No one knows whether or not these unhappy residents are prisoners of war or just plain evildoers. In any case, they were kidnapped in Afghanistan by U.S. forces and now appear to be subject to kangaroo courts when let out of their cages.

This is from a pre-Osama text: “Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of a.s.sembly and a.s.sociations; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.” The tone is familiar. Clinton? Bush? Ashcroft? No. It is from Hitler’s 1933 speech calling for “an Enabling Act” for “the protection of the People and the State” after the catastrophic Reichstag fire that the had secretly lit.

Only one congresswornan, Barbara Lee of California, voted against the additional powers granted the president. Meanwhile, a New York Times-CBS poll noted that only 6 percent now opposed military action while a substantial majority favored war “even if many thousands of innocent civilians are killed.” Simultaneously, Bush’s approval rating has soared, but then, traditionally, in war, the president is totemic like the flag. When Kennedy got his highest rating after the debacle of the Bay of Pigs, he observed, characteristically, “It would seem that the worse you f.u.c.k up in this job the more popular you get.” Bush, father and son, may yet make it to Mount Rushmore though it might be cheaper to redo Barbara Bush’s look-alike, George Washington, by adding two strings of Teclas to his limestone neck-in memoriam, as it were.

Finally, the physical damage Osama and friends can do us-terrible as it has been thus far-is as nothing as to what he is doing to our liberties. Once alienated, an “unalienable right” is apt to be forever lost, in which case we are no longer even remotely the last best hope of earth but merely a seedy imperial state whose citizens are kept in line by SWAT teams and whose way of death, not life, is universally imitated.

Since V-] Day 1945 (“Victory over j.a.pan” and the end of World War II), we have been engaged in what the historian Charles A. Beard called “perpetual war for perpetual peace.” I have occasionally referred to our “enemy of the month club”: each month we are confronted by a new horrendous enemy at whom we must strike before he destroys us. I have been accused of exaggeration, so here’s the Scoreboard from Kosovo (1999) back to Berlin Airlift (1948-49). You will note that the compilers, Federation of American Scientists, record a number of our wars as “ongoing,” even though many of us have forgotten about them. We are given, under “Name,” many fanciful Defense Department t.i.tles like Urgent Fury, which was Reagan’s attack on the island of Grenada, a month-long caper that General Haig disloyally said could have been handled more efficiently by the Provincetown police department. (Question marks are from compilers.) CURRENT OPERATIONS.

Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved Joint Guardian Kosovo 11 Jun 1999-TDB 200?

Allied Force/ Kosovo 23 Mar 1999-10 Jun 1999 n.o.ble Anvil Determined Force Kosovo 08 Oct 1998-23 Mar 1999 Cobalt Flash Kosovo Shining Hope Kosovo Sustain Hope/ Kosovo Allied Harbour Provide Refuge Kosovo 05 Apr 1999-Fall 1999 Open Arms Kosovo Eagle Eye Kosovo 16 Oct 1998-24 Mar 1999 Determined Falcon Kosovo & Albania 15 Jun 1998-16 Jun 1998 Determined Effort Bosnia-Herzegovina Jul 1995-Dec 1995 Joint Endeavor Bosnia-Herzegovina Dec 1995-Dec 1996 Joint Guard Bosnia-Herzegovina Dec 1996-20 Jun 1998 Joint Forge Bosnia-Herzegovina 20 Junel998-Present 6,900 Deliberate Force Bosnian Serbs 29 Aug 1995-21 Sep 1995 Quick Lift Croatia 03 Jul 1995-1 lAug 1995 Nomad Vigil Albania 01 Jul 1995-05 Nov 1996 Nomad Endeavor Taszar, Hungary Mar 1996-Present Able Sentry Serbia-Macedonia 05 Jul 1994-Present Deny Flight Bosnia-Herzegovina 12 Apr 1993-20 Dec 1995 2,000 Decisive Endeavor/ Bosnia-Herzegovina Jan 1996-Dec 1996 ??

Decisive Edge Decisive Guard/ Bosnia-Herzegovina Dec 1996-20 Jun 1998 ??

Deliberate Guard Deliberate Forge Bosnia-Herzegovina 20 Jun 1998-Present Sky Monitor Bosnia-Herzegovina 16 Oct 1992-Present Maritime Monitor Adriatic Sea 16 Jul 1992-22 Nov 1992 ??

Maritime Guard Adriatic Sea 22 Nov 1992-15 Jun 1993 ??

Sharp Guard Adriatic Sea 15 Jun 1993-Dec 1995 11,700 Decisive Enhancement Adriatic Sea Dec 1995-19 Jun 1996 77 Determined Guard Adriatic Sea Dec 1996-Present ??

Provide Promise Bosnia 03 Jul 1992-Mar 1996 1,000 SOUTHWEST ASIA.

Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved [none] (air strike) Iraq 26 Jun 1993-13 Jan 1993 [none] Iraq 13 Jan 1993-1 7 Jan 1993 (cruise missile strike) [none] Iraq 17 Jan 1993-26 Jun 1993 (cruise missile strike) DESERT STRIKE Iraq 03 Sep 1996-04 Sep 1996 DESERT THUNDER Iraq Feb 1998-16 Dec 1998 DESERT FOX Iraq 16 Dec 1998-20 Dec 1998 Shining Presence Iraq Dec 1998-Dec 1998 Phoenix Scorpion IV Iraq Dec 1998-Dec 1998 Phoenix Scorpion III Iraq Nov 1998-Nov 1998 Phoenix Scorpion II Iraq Feb 1998-Feb 1998 Phoenix Scorpion I Iraq Nov 1997-Nov 1997 Desert Focus Saudi Arabia Jul 1996-Present Vigilant Warrior Kuwait Oct 1994-Nov 1994 Vigilant Sentinel Kuwait Aug 1995-15 Feb 1997 Intrinsic Action Kuwait 01 Dec 1995-01 Oct 1999 Desert Spring Kuwait 01 Oct 1999-Present Iris Gold SW Asia ?? 1993-Present Pacific Haven/ Iraq > Guam 15 Sep 1996-16 Dec 1996 Quick Transit Provide Comfort Kurdistan 05 Apr 1991-Dec 1994 42,500 Provide Comfort II Kurdistan 24 Jul 1991-31 Dec 1996 ??

Northern Watch Kurdistan 31 Dec 1996-Present 1100 Southern Watch Southwest Asia/Iraq 1991-Present 14,000 Desert Falcon Saudi Arabia 1991-Present OTHER OPERATIONS.

Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved Korea Korea Ongoing New Horizons Central America Ongoing Sierra Leone NEO Sierra Leone May 00 MONUC [UN PKO] DR Congo Feb 2000-Ongoing Resolute Response Africa Aug 1998-Present Gatekeeper California 1995-Present Hold-the-Line Texas 1995-Present Safeguard Arizona 1995-Present Golden Pheasant Honduras Mar 1988-Present Alliance U.S. southern border 1986-Present Provide Hope I Former Soviet Union 10 Feb 1992-26 Feb 1992 Provide Hope II Former Soviet Union 15 Apr 1992-29 Jul 1992 Provide Hope III Former Soviet Union 1993?-1993?

Provide Hope IV Former Soviet Union 10 Jan 1994-19 Dec 1994 Provide Hope V Former Soviet Union 06 Nov 1998-10 May 1999 COUNTERDRUG OPERATIONS.

Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved Coronet Nighthawk Central/South America 1991 -Present Coronet Oak Central/South America Oct 1977-17 Feb 1999 Selva Verde Colombia 1995-Present Badge Kentucky 1990-Present?

Ghost Dancer Oregon 1990-Present?

Greensweep California Jul 1990-Aug 1990 Grizzly California 1990-Present?

Wipeout Hawaii 1990-Present Ghost Zone Bolivia Mar 1990-1993?

Constant Vigil Bolivia 199?-??

Support Justice South America 1991-1994 Steady State South America 1994~Apr 1996 Green Clover South America 199?-199?

Laser Strike South America Apr 1996-Present Agate Path CONUS 1989-???


Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved Silent Promise Mozambique/South Africa Feb 2000-? Apr 2000 Fundamental Response Venezuela 20 Dec 1999-Early 2000 Stabilize Timor 11 Sep 1999-Nov 1999 Avid Response Turkey 18 Aug 1999-Sep 1999 Strong Support Central America Oct 1998-10 Feb 1999 5,700 [Fuerte Apoyo]

Infinite Reach Sudan/ Afghanistan 20 Aug 1998-20 Aug 1998 Shepherd Venture Guinea-Bissau 10 Jun 1998-17 Jun 1998 130 [none] Asmara, Eritrea NEO 05 Jun 1998-06 Jun 1998 130 n.o.ble Response Kenya 21 Jan 1998-25 Mar 1998 Bevel Edge Cambodia Jul 1997-Jul 1997 n.o.ble Obelisk Sierra Leone May 1997-Jun 1997 Guardian Retrieval Congo (formerly Zaire) Mar 1997-Jun 1997 Silver Wake Albania 14 Mar 1997-26 Mar 1997 Guardian a.s.sistance Zaire/Rwanda/Uganda 15 Nov 1996-27 Dec 1996 a.s.surance/Phoenix Tusk Zaire/Rwanda/Uganda 15 Nov 1996-27 Dec 1996 Quick Response Central African Republic May 1996-Aug 1996 a.s.sured Response Liberia Apr 1996-Aug 1996 Zorro II Mexico Dec 1995-02 May 1996 Third Taiwan Taiwan Strait 21 Jul 1995-23 Mar 1996 Straits Crisis COMPLETED OPERATIONS.

Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved Safe Border Peru/Ecuador 1995-30 Jun 1999 United Shield Somalia 03 Jan 1995-25 Mar 1995 4,000 Uphold/ Haiti 19 Sep 1994-31 Mar 1995 21,000 Restore Democracy Quiet Resolve/ Rwanda 22 Jul 1994-30 Sep 1994 2,592 Support Hope Safe Haven/ Cuba > Panama 06 Sep 1994-01 Mar 1995 Safe Pa.s.sage Sea Signal/JTF-160 Haiti>Guantanamo, Cuba 18 May 1994-Feb 1996 Distant Runner Rwanda NEO 09 Apr 1994-15 Apr 1994 Korean Nuclear Crisis North Korea 10 Feb 1993-Jun 1994 [none] Liberian NEO 22 Oct 1992-25 Oct 1992 Provide Relief Somalia 14 Aug 1992-08 Dec 1992 ??

Restore Hope Somalia 04 Dec 1992-04 May 1993 26,000 Continue Hope Somalia 04 May 1993-Dec 1993 ??

Provide Transition Angola 03 Aug 1992-09 Oct 1992 Garden Plot Los Angeles, CA May 92 4,500 Silver Anvil Sierra Leone NEO 02 May 1992-05 May 1992 GTMO Haiti>Guantanamo, Cuba 23 Nov-91 Safe Harbor Haiti>Guantanamo, Cuba 1992 Quick Lift Zaire 24 Sep 1991-07 Oct 1991 Victor Squared Haiti NEO Sep 91 Fiery Vigil Philippines NEO Jun 91 Productive Effort/ Bangladesh May 1991-Jun 1991 Sea Angel Eastern Exit Somalia 02 Jan 1991-11 Jan 1991 DESERT STORM Southwest Asia 555,000 Desert Shield Southwest Asia 02 Aug 1990-1 7 Jan 1991 Imminent Thunder Southwest Asia Nov 1990-Nov 1990 Proven Force Southwest Asia 17 Jan 1991-28 Feb 1991 DESERT SWORD/ Southwest Asia 24 Feb 1991-28 Feb 1991 DESERT SABRE.

Desert Calm Southwest Asia 01 Mar 1991-01 Jan 1992 Desert Farewell Southwest Asia 01 Jan 1992-1992?

Steel Box/Golden Python Johnston Island 26 Jul 1990-18 Nov 1990 Sharp Edge Liberia May 1990-08 Jan 1991 COLD WAR ERA.

Name Locale Dates U.S. Forces Involved Cla.s.sic Resolve Philippines Nov 1989-Dec 1989 Hawkeye U.S. Virgin Islands 20 Sep 1989-17 Nov 1989 Nimrod Dancer Panama May 1989-20 Dec 1989 JUST CAUSE Panama 20 Dec 1989-31 Jan 1990 Promote Liberty Panama 31 Jan 1990-??

ERNEST WILL Persian Gulf 24 Jul 1987-02 Aug 1990 PRAYING MANTIS Persian Gulf 17 Apr 1988-19 Apr 1988 Blast Furnace Bolivia Jul 1986-Nov 1986 EL DORADO CANYON Libya 12 Apr 1986-17 Apr 1986 Attain Doc.u.ment Libya 26 Jan 1986-29 Mar 1986 Achille Lauro Mediterranean 07 Oct 1985-11 Oct 1985 Intense Look Red Sea/Gulf of Suez Jul 1984-Jul 1984 URGENT FURY Grenada 23 Oct 1983-21 Nov 1983 Arid Farmer Chad/Sudan Aug 1983-Aug 1983 Early Call Egypt/Sudan 18 Mar 1983-Aug 1983 U.S. Multinational Lebanon 25 Aug 1982-01 Dec 1987 Force [USMNF]

Bright Star Egypt 06 Oct 1981-Nov 1981 Gulf of Sidra Libya / Mediterranean 18 Aug 1981-18 Aug 1981 RMT Colorado Aug 1981-Sep 1981 (Rocky Mountain Transfer) Central America El Salvador/Nicaragua 01 Jan 1981-01 Feb 1992 Creek Sentry Poland Dec 1980-1981 SETCON II Colorado May 1980-Jun 1980 EAGLE CLAW/Desert One Iran 25 Apr-80 ROK Park Korea 26 Oct 1979-28 Jun 1980 Succession Crisis Elf One Saudi Arabia Mar 1979-15 Apr 1989 Yemen Iran/Yemen/Indian Ocean 06 Dec 1978-06 Jan 1979 Red Bean Zaire May 1978-Jun 1978 Ogaden Crisis Somalia/Ethiopia Feb 1978-23 Mar 1978 SETCON I Colorado 1978-1978 Paul Bunyan/ Korea 18 Aug 1976-21 Aug 1976 Tree Incident Mayaguez Operation Cambodia 15 May-75 New Life Vietnam NEO Apr-75 Frequent Wind Evacuation of Saigon 29 Apr 1975-30 Apr 1975 Eagle Pull Cambodia 11 Apr 1975-13 Apr 1975 Nickel Gra.s.s Mideast 06 Oct 19 73-1 7 Nov 1973 Garden Plot USA Domestic 30 Apr 1972-04 May 1972 Red Hat Johnston Island Jan 1971-Sep 1971 Ivory Coast/Kingpin Son Tay, Vietnam 20 Nov 1970-21 Nov 1970 Graphic Hand US Domestic 1970-1970 Red Fox Korea theater 23 Jan 1968-05 Feb 1969 [Pueblo incident]

Six Day War Mideast 13 May 1967-10 Jun 1967 CHASE various 1967-1970 Powerpack Dominican Republic 28 Apr 1965-21 Sep 1966 Red Dragon Congo 23 Nov 1964-27 Nov 1964 [NONE] Chinese nuclear 15 Oct 1963-Oct 1964 facilities Cuban Missile Crisis Cuba, Worldwide 24 Oct 1962-01 Jun 1963 Vietnam War Vietnam 15 Mar 1962-28 Jan 1973 Operation Ranch Hand Vietnam Jan 1962-1971 Opr’n Rolling Thunder Vietnam 24 Feb 1965-Oct 1968 Opr’n Arc Light Southeast Asia 18 Jun 1965-Apr 1970 Opr’n Freedom Train North Vietnam 06 Apr 1972-10 May 1972 Opr’n Pocket Money North Vietnam 09 May 1972-23 Oct 1972 Opr’n Linebacker I North Vietnam 10 May 1972-23 Oct 1972 Opr’n Linebacker II North Vietnam 18 Dec 1972-29 Dec 1972 Opr’n Endsweep North Vietnam 27 Jan 1972-27 Jul 1973 Opr’n Ivory Coast/ North Vietnam 21 Nov 1970-21 Nov 1970 Kingpin Opr’n Tailwind Laos 1970-1970 Berlin Berlin 14 Aug 1961-01 Jun 1963 Laos Laos 19 Apr 1961-07 Oct 1962 Congo Congo 14 Jul 1960-01 Sep 1962 Taiwan Straits Taiwan Straits 23 Aug 1958-01 Jan 1959 Taiwan Straits Quemroy & Matsu islands 23 Aug 1958-01 Jun 1963 Blue Bat Lebanon 15 Jul 1958-20 Oct 1958 Suez Crisis Egypt 26Jul 1956-15 Nov 1956 Taiwan Straits Taiwan Straits 11 Aug 1954-01 May 1955 Korean War Korea 27 Jun 1950-27 July 1953 Berlin Airlift Berlin 26 Jun 1948-30 Sep 1949.

In these several hundred wars against Communism, terrorism, drugs, or sometimes nothing much, between Pearl Harbor and Tuesday, September 11, 2001, we tended to strike the first blow. But then we’re the good guys, right? Right.

How I Became Interested in Timothy McVeigh and Vice Versa.

Shredding the Bill of Rights.

The Meaning of Timothy Mcveigh.

How I Became Interested in Timothy McVeigh and Vice Versa.

Once we meditate upon the unremitting violence of the United States against the rest of the world, while relying upon pretexts that, for sheer flimsiness, might have even given Hitler pause when justifying some of his most baroque lies, one begins to understand why Osama struck at us from abroad in the name of 1 billion Muslims whom we have encouraged, through our own preemptive acts of war as well as relentless demonization of them through media, to regard us in-how shall I put it?- less than an amiable light.

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Part 3

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28 May 2001.

The New Theocrats.

June 18, 1997, proved to be yet another day that will live in infamy in the history of The Wall Street Journal, or t.w.m.i.p., “the world’s most important publication,” as it bills itself- blissfully unaware of just how unknown this cheery neofascist paper is to the majority of Americans, not to mention those many billions who dwell in darkness where the sulfurous flashes of Wall Street’s little paper are no more than marsh gas from the distant marches of the loony empire. June 18 was the day that t.w.m.i.p. took an ad in the New York Times, the paper that prints only the news that will fit its not-dissimilar mind-set. The ad reprinted a t.w.m.i.p. editorial t.i.tled “Modern Morality,” a subject I should have thought alien to the core pa.s.sions of either paper. But then for Americans morality has nothing at all to do with ethics or right action or who is stealing what money-and liberties-from whom. Morality is s.e.x. s.e.x. s.e.x.

The edit’s lead is piping hot. “In the same week that an Army general with 147 Vietnam combat missions” (remember the Really Good War, for lots of Dow Jones listings?) “ended his career over an adulterous affair 13 years ago” (t.w.m.i.p. is on strong ground here; neither the general nor the lady nor any other warrior should be punished for adulteries not conducted while on watch during enemy attack) “the news broke”-I love that phrase in a journal of powerful opinion and so little numberless news-“that a New Jersey girl gave birth to a baby in the bathroom at her high school prom, put it in the trash and went out to ask the deejay to play a song by Metallica-for her boyfriend. The baby is dead.”

Misled by the word “girl, ” visualized a panicky p.u.b.escent tot. But days later, when one Melissa Drexler was indicted for murder, she was correctly identified by the Times as a “woman, 18.” In a recently published photograph of her alongside her paramour at the prom, the couple look to be in their early thirties. But it suited t.w.m.i.p. to misrepresent Ms. Drexler as yet another innocent child corrupted by laissez-faire American liberal “values,” so unlike laissez-faire capitalism, the great good.

All this is “moral chaos,” keens the writer. I should say that all this is just plain old-fashioned American stupidity where a religion-besotted majority is cynically egged on by a ruling establishment whose most rabid voice is The Wall Street Journal.

“We have no good advice on how the country might extricate itself anytime soon from a swamp of s.e.xual confusion-” You can say that again and, of course, you will. So, rather than give bad advice, cease and desist from taking out ads to blame something called The Liberals. In a country evenly divided between political reactionaries and religious maniacs, I see hardly a liberal like a tree-or even a burning bush-walking. But the writer does make it clear that the proscribed general was treated unfairly while the “girl” with baby is a statistic to be exploited by right-wing journalists, themselves often not too far removed from the odious Metallica-listening orders who drop babies in Johns, a bad situation that might have been prevented by the use, let us say, of a rubber when “girl” and “boy” had s.e.x.

But, no. We are a.s.sured that the moral chaos is the result of s.e.xual education and “littering,” as the ad puts it, “the swamp” with “condoms that for about the past five years have been dispensed by adults running our high schools… or by machines located in, by coincidence, the bathroom.” Presumably, the confessional would be a better venue, if allowed. So, on the one hand, it is bad, as we all agree, for a woman to give birth and then abandon a baby; but then too, it’s wrong, for some metaphysical reason, to help prevent such a birth from taking place. There is no sense of cause/effect when these geese start honking. Of course, t.w.m.i.p. has its own agendum: outside marriage, no s.e.x of any kind for the lower and a policing of everyone, including generals and truly valuable people, thanks to the same liberals who now “forbid nothing and punish anything.” This is s.p.a.ceship-back-of-the-comet reasoning.

The sensible code observed by all the world (except for certain fundamentalist monotheistic Jews, Christians, and Muslims) is that “consensual” relations in s.e.xual matters are no concern of the state. The United States has always been backward in these matters, partly because of its Puritan origins and partly because of the social arrangements arrived at during several millennia of family-intensive agrarian life, rudely challenged a mere century ago by the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the cities and, lately, by the postindustrial work-world of services in which “safe” prost.i.tution should have been, by now, a bright jewel.

Although the “screed” (a favorite right-wing word) in the Times ad is mostly rant and not to be taken seriously, the spirit behind all this blather is interestingly hypocritical. T.w.m.i.p. is not interested in morality. In fact, any company that can increase quarterly profits through the poisoning of a river is to be treasured. But the piece does reflect a certain unease that the people at large, most visibly through s.e.x, may be trying to free themselves from their masters, who grow ever more stern and exigent in their prohibitions-one strike and you’re out is their dirty little secret. In mid-screed; the paper almost comes to the point: “Very simply [sic], what we’re suggesting here is that the code of s.e.xual behavior formerly set down by established religion In the U.S. more or less kept society healthy, unlike the current manifest catastrophe.” There it is. Where is Norman Lear, creator of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, now that we need him? Visualize on the screen gray clapboard, slate-colored sky, omni-ous (as Darryl Zanuck used to say) music. Then a woman’s plaintive voice calling “Hester Prynne, Hester Prynne!” as the screen fills with a pulsing scarlet “A.”

So arriere-garde that it is often avant-garde, t.w.m.i.p. is actually on to something. Although I shouldn’t think anyone on its premises has heard of the eighteenth-century Neapolitan scholar Vico, our readers will recall that Vico, working from Plato, established various organic phases in human society. First, Chaos. Then Theocracy. Then Aristocracy. Then Democracy-but as republics tend to become imperial and tyrannous, they collapse and we’re back to Chaos and to its child Theocracy, and a new cycle. Currently, the United States is a mildly chaotic imperial republic headed for the exit, no bad thing unless there is a serious outbreak of Chaos, in which case a new age of religion will be upon us. Anyone who ever cared for our old Republic, no matter how flawed it always was with religious exuberance, cannot not prefer Chaos to the harsh rule of Theocrats. Today, one sees them at their savage worst in Israel and in certain Islamic countries, like Afghanistan, etc. Fortunately, thus far their social regimentation is still no match for the universal l.u.s.t for consumer goods, that brave new world at the edge of democracy. As for Americans, we can still hold the fort against our very own praying mantises-for the most part, fundamentalist Christians abetted by a fierce, decadent capitalism in thrall to totalitarianism as proclaimed so saucily in the New York Times of June 18,1997.

The battle line is now being drawn. Even as the unfortunate “girl” in New Jersey was instructing the deejay, the Christian right was organizing itself to go after permissiveness in entertainment. On June 18 the Southern Baptists at their annual convention denounced the Disney company and its TV network, ABC, for showing a lesbian as a human being, reveling in Pulp Fiction violence, flouting Christian family values. I have not seen the entire bill of particulars (a list of more than one hundred “properties” to be boycotted was handed out), but it all sounds like a pretrial deposition from Salem’s glory days. Although I have criticized the Disney cartel for its media domination, I must now side with the challenged octopus.

This is the moment for Disney to throw the full weight of its wealth at the Baptists, who need a lesson in const.i.tutional law they will not soon forget. They should be brought to court on the usual chilling-of-First-Amendment grounds as well as for restraint of trade. Further, and now let us for once get to the root of the matter. The tax exemptions for the revenues of all the churches from the Baptists to the equally absurd-and equally mischievous-Scientologists must be removed.

The original gentlemen’s agreement between Church and State was that We the People (the State) will in no way help or hinder any religion while, absently, observing that as religion is “a good thing,” the little church on Elm Street won’t have to pay a property tax. No one envisaged that the most valuable real estate at the heart of most of our old cities would be tax-exempt, as churches and temples and orgone boxes increased their holdings and portfolios. The quo for this huge quid was that religion would stay out of politics and not impose its superst.i.tions on Us the People. The agreement broke down years ago. The scandalous career of the Reverend Presidential Candidate Pat Robertson is a paradigm.

As Congress will never act, this must be a gra.s.s-roots movement to amend the Const.i.tution, even though nothing in the original First Amendment says a word about tax exemptions or any other special rights to churches, temples, orgone boxes. This is a useful war for Disney to fight, though I realize that the only thing more cowardly than a movie studio or TV network is a conglomerate forced to act in the open. But if you don’t, Lord Mouse, it will be your rodentian a.s.s 15.7 million Baptists will get, not to mention the of all the rest of us.

The Nation.

21 July 1997.

A letter to be delivered.

I am writing this note a dozen days before the inauguration of the loser of the year 2000 presidential election. We are now faced with a j.a.panese seventeenth-century-style arrangement: a powerless Mikado ruled by a shogun vice president and his Pentagon warrior counselors. Do they dream, as did the shoguns of yore, of the conquest of China? We shall know more soon, I should think, than late. Sayonara.

11 January 2001.

[*] Congratulations, Mr. President-Elect. Like everyone else, I’m eagerly looking forward to your inaugural address. As you must know by now, we could never get enough of your speeches during the recent election in which the best man won, as he always does in what Spiro Agnew so famously called “the greatest nation in the country.”

[* This was written for Vanity Fair before the November 7, 2000, presidential election.]

Apropos your first speech to us as president. I hope you don’t mind if I make a few suggestions, much as I used to do in the sixties when I gave my regular States of the Union roundups on David Susskind’s TV show of blessed memory. Right off, it strikes me that this new beginning may be a good place to admit that for the last fifty years we have been waging what the historian Charles A. Beard so neatly termed “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”

It is my impression, Mr. President-Elect, that most Americans want our economy converted from war to peace. Naturally, we still want to stand tall. We also don’t want any of our tax money wasted on health care because that would be Communism, which we all abhor. But we would like some of our tax dollars spent on education. Remember what you said in your terminal debate with your opponent, now so much charred and crumbling toast? “Education is the key to the new millennium.” (Actually, looking at my notes, all four of you said that.) In any case, it is time we abandon our generally unappreciated role as world policeman, currently wasting Colombia, source of satanic drugs, while keeping Cuba, Iraq, and, until recently, Serbia “in correction,” as policepersons call house arrest. This compulsive interference in the affairs of other states is expensive and pointless. Better we repair our own country with “internal improvements,” as Henry Clay used to say. But in order to do this your first big job will be to curb the Pentagon warlords and their fellow conspirators in Congress and the boardrooms of corporate America. Ever since the Soviet Union so unsportingly disbanded in order to pursue protocapitalism and double-entry bookkeeping, our warlords have been anxiously searching for new enemies in order to justify an ever increasing military budget. Obviously, there is Terrorism to be fought. There is also the war on Drugs, to be fought but never won. Even so, in the failed attempt, the coming destruction of Colombia, a once liberal democratic nation, promises to be great fun for warlords and media, if not the residents of a once happy nation. Lately, a new clear and present danger has been unveiled; Rogue States, or “states of concern.” Currently, North Korea, Iraq, and Iran have been so fingered, while the world’s 1 billion Muslims have been demonized as crazed fanatics, dedicated to destroying all that is good on earth, which is us.

Since we have literally targeted our enemies, the Pentagon a.s.sumes that, sooner or later. Rogues will take out our cities, presumably from s.p.a.ceships. So to protect ourselves, the Ronald Reagan Memorial Nuclear s.p.a.ce Shield must be set in place at an initial cost of $60 billion even though, as of July, tests of the system, no matter how faked by the Pentagon, continued to fail The fact that, according to
polls, a majority of your const.i.tuents believe that we already have such a shield makes it possible for you to say you’re updating it and then do nothing. After all, from 1949 to J 1999 the United States spent $7.1 trillion on “national ;
defense.” As a result, the national debt is $5.6 trillion, of which $3.6 trillion is owed to the public, and $2 trillion to the Social Security-Medicare Trust Funds, all due to military spending and to the servicing of the debt thus incurred.

Mr. President-Elect, since Treasury figures are traditionally juggled, it would be nice if you were to see to it that the actual income and outgo of federal money are honestly reported. Last year the government told us, falsely, that its
income was just over $1.8 trillion while it spent just under j $1.8 trillion; hence, the famous, phantom surplus when If there was, of course, our usual homely deficit of around $90 billion. Year after year, the government’s official income is inflated by counting as revenue the income of the people’s Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. These funds are not federal revenue. This year Social Security has a healthy surplus of $150 billion. No wonder corporate America and its employees in Congress are eager to privatize this healthy fund, thus far endangered only by them.

Although actual military spending was indeed lower last year than usual, half the budget still went to pay for wars to come as well as to blowing up the odd aspirin factory in the Sudan. Cash outlays for the military were $344 billion while interest on the military-caused national debt was $282 billion: sorry to bore you with these statistics, but they are at the heart of our-what was Jimmy Carter’s unfortunate word?-malaise (that’s French for broke). The Clinton administration’s cheery promise of a $1.8 trillion budget surplus over the next decade was, of course, a bold if comforting fiction, based on surreal estimates of future federal income-not to mention expenditures that, if anything like last September’s congressional spending spree, will drown us in red ink.

Sir, if you are going to be of any use at all to the nation and to the globe that it holds hostage, you will have to tame the American military. Discipline the out-of-control service chiefs. Last September, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General H. H. Shelton, declared that more, not less, dollars were needed. Specifically, the Marines want an extra $1.5 billion per year, the army wants over $30 billion, the navy $20 billion, the air force $30 billion, all in the absence of an enemy (we spend twenty-two times more than our seven potential enemies-Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria-combined). You must not grant these ruinous increases.

In August 1961, I visited President Kennedy at Hyannis Port. The Berlin Wall was going up, and he was about to begin a huge military buildup-reluctantly, or so he said, as he puffed on a cigar liberated by a friend from Castro’s Cuba. It should be noted that Jack hated liberals more than he did conservatives. “No one can ever be liberal enough for the New York Post,” he said. “Well, the Post should be happy now. Berlin’s going to cost us at least three and a half billion dollars. So, with this military buildup, we’re going to have a seven-billion-dollar deficit for the year. That’s a lot of pump priming.” He scowled. “G.o.d, I hate the way they throw money around over there at the Pentagon.”

“It’s not they,” I said. “It’s you. It’s your administration.” Briskly, he told me the facts of life, and I repeat them now as advice from the thirty-fifth to the-what are you, Mr. President? Forty- third president? “The only way for a president to control the Pentagon would be if he spent the entire four years of his first term doing nothing else but investigating that mess, which means he really could do nothing else…”

“Like getting reelected?”

He grinned. “Something like that.”

So I now propose, Mr. President-Elect, while there is still time, that you zero in on the links between corporate America and the military and rationalize as best you can the various procurement policies, particularly the Ronald Reagan Memorial Nuclear Shield. You should also leak to the American people certain Pentagon secrets. In 1995, we still had our missiles trained on 2,500 foreign targets. Today, to celebrate peace in the world, our missiles are trained on 3,000 foreign targets-of which 2,260 are in Russia; the rest are directed at China and the Rogue States. Although President Clinton has spoken eloquently of the need for a reduction in such dangerous nuclear targeting, the Pentagon does as it pleases, making the world unsafe for everyone. But then USA Today recently reported that the military enjoys the highest popularity rating (64 percent) of any group in the country-the Congress and Big Business are among the lowest. Of course, the services do spend $265 million annually on advertising.

Jack Kennedy very much enjoyed Fletcher Knebel’s thriller Seven Days in May, later a film. The story: a jingo based on the real-life Admiral Arthur Radford plans a military coup to take over the White House. Jack found the book riveting. “Only,” he chuckled, rather grimly, “it’s a lot more likely that this president will one day raise his own army and occupy their d.a.m.ned building.” No, I don’t agree with Oliver Stone that the generals killed him. But there is, somewhere out there, a watchdog that seems never to bark in the night. Yet the dog that doesn’t bark is the one that should be guarding the house from burglars, in this case the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower so generously warned us against. Although there are many media stories about costly overruns in the defense industries as well as the slow beginning of what may yet turn into an actual debate over the nuclear shield that Reagan envisaged for us after seeing Alfred Hitchc.o.c.k’s Torn Curtain, a movie nowhere near as good as Seven Days in May, there is, as yet, no debate over the role of the military in the nation’s life and its ongoing threat to us all, thanks to the hubris of senior officers grown accustomed to dispensing vast amounts of the people’s money for missiles that can’t hit targets and bombers that can’t fly in the rain. Congress, which should ride herd, does not because too many of its members are financed by those same companies that absorb our tax money, nor is it particularly helpful that senior officers, after placing orders with the defense industries, so often go to work as salesmen for the very same companies they once bought from.

Of all recent presidents, Clinton was expected to behave the most sensibly in economic matters. He understood how the economy works. But because he had used various dodges to stay out of the Vietnam War, he came to office ill at ease with the military. When Clinton tried to live up to his pledge to gay voters that the private life of any military person was no one’s business but his own, the warlords howled that morale would be destroyed. Clinton backed down. When Clinton went aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt to take the salute, sailors pranced around with mop ends on their heads, doing f.a.g imitations while hooting at the president, who just stood there. These successful insults to civilian authority have made the military ever more truculent and insolent. And now they must be brought to heel.

This summer, the warlords of the Pentagon presented the secretary of defense with their Program Objective Memorandum. Usually, this is a polite wish list of things that they would like to see under the Christmas tree. By September, the wish list sounded like a harsh ultimatum. As one dissenting officer put it, “Instead of a budget based on a top-line budget number, the chiefs are demanding a budget based on military strategy.” Although their joint military strategies, as tested in war over the last fifty years, are usually disastrous, military strategy in this context means simply extorting from the government $30 billion a year over and above the 51 percent of the budget that now already goes for war. Mr. President-Elect, I would advise you to move your office from the West Wing of the White House to the Pentagon, across the river. Even though every day that you spend there could prove to be your Ides of March, you will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried to do something for us, the hitherto unrepresented people.

Fifty years ago, Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold, and tepid. Exact date of replacement? February 27, 1947. Place: White House Cabinet Room. Cast: Truman, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, a handful of congressional leaders. Republican senator Arthur Vandenberg told Truman that he could have his militarized economy only if he first “scared the h.e.l.l out of the American people” that the Russians were coming. Truman obliged. The perpetual war began. Representative government of, by, and for the people is now a faded memory. Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congresses and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who have bought the government also own the media. Now, with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard at the Pentagon, we are entering a new and dangerous phase. Although we regularly stigmatize other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally wherever we choose. We give orders to the United Nations but do not pay our dues. We complain of terrorism, yet our empire is now the greatest terrorist of all. We bomb, invade, subvert other states. Although We the People of the United States are the sole source of legitimate authority in this land, we are no longer represented in Congress a.s.sembled. Our Congress has been hijacked by corporate America and its enforcer, the imperial military machine. We the unrepresented People of the United States are as much victims of this militarized government as the Panamanians, Iraqis, or Somalians. We have allowed our inst.i.tutions to be taken over in the name of a globalized American empire that is totally alien in concept to anything our founders had in mind. I suspect that it is far too late in the day for us to restore the republic that we lost a half-century ago.

Even so, Mr. President-Elect, there is an off chance that you might actually make some difference if you start now to rein in the warlords. Reduce military spending, which will make you popular because you can then legitimately reduce our taxes instead of doing what you have been financed to do, freeing corporate America of its small tax burden. The 1950 taxes on corporate profits accounted for 25 percent of federal revenue; in 1999 only 10.1 percent. Finally, as sure as you were not elected by We the People but by the vast sums of unaccountable corporate money, the day of judgment is approaching. Use your first term to break the Pentagon. Forget about a second term. After all, if you succeed on the other side of the Potomac, you will be a hero to We the People. Should you fail or, worse, do nothing, you may be the last president, by which time history will have ceased to notice the United States and all our proud rhetoric will have been reduced to an ever diminishing echo. Also, brood upon an odd remark made by your canny, if ill-fated, predecessor Clinton. When Gingrich and his Contract on (rather than with) America took control of Congress, Clinton said, “The president is not irrelevant.” This was a startling admission that he could become so. Well, sir, be relevant. Preserve, protect, and defend what is left of our ancient liberties, not to mention our heavily mortgaged fortune.[*]

Vanity Fair.

December 2000.

[* And so Mr. President, elected by the Supreme Court (5-4), has now, in addition to a vice president who was a former secretary of defense, appointed another former defense secretary to his old post as well as a general to be secretary of state; thus the pa.s.s was sold. We are now in, the president tells us, “a long war”-presumably to the end.]

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Part 2

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Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace is a Webnovel created by Gore Vidal.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

Even so, the more one learns about the FBI, the more one realizes that it is a very dangerous place indeed. Kelly and Wearne, in their investigation of its lab work, literally a life-and-death matter for those under investigation, quote two English forensic experts on the subject of the Oklahoma City bombing. Professor Brian Caddy, after a study of the lab’s findings: “If these reports are the ones to be presented to the courts as evidence then I am appalled by their structure and information content. The structure of the reports seems designed to confuse the reader rather than help him.” Dr. John Lloyd noted, “The reports are purely conclusory in nature. It is impossible to determine from them the chain of custody, on precisely what work has been done on each item.” Plainly, the time has come to replace this vast inept and largely unaccountable secret police with a more modest and more efficient bureau to be called “the United States Bureau of Investigation.”

It is now June 11, a hot, hazy morning here in Ravello. We’ve just watched Son of Show Time in Terre Haute, Indiana. CNN duly reported that I had not been able to be a witness, as McVeigh had requested: the attorney general had given me too short a time to get from here to there. I felt somewhat better when I was told that, lying on the gurney in the execution chamber, he would not have been able to see any of us through the tinted gla.s.s windows all around him. But then members of the press who were present said that he had deliberately made “eye contact” with his witnesses and with them. He did see his witnesses, according to Gate McCauley, who was one. “You could tell he was gone after the first shot,” she said. She had worked on his legal case for a year as one of his defense investigators.

I asked about his last hours. He had been searching for a movie on television and all he could find was Fargo, for which he was in no mood. Certainly he died in character; that is, in control. The first shot, of sodium pentothal, knocks you out. But he kept his eyes open. The second shot, of pancuronium bromide, collapsed his lungs. Always the survivalist, he seemed to ration his remaining breaths. When, after four minutes, he was officially dead, his eyes were still open, staring into the ceiling camera that was recording him “live” for his Oklahoma City audience.

McVeigh made no final statement, but he had copied out, it appeared from memory, “Invictus,” a poem by W. E. Henley (1849-1903). Among Henley’s numerous writings was a popular anthology called Lyra Heroics (1892), about those who had done selfless heroic deeds. I doubt if McVeigh ever came across it, but he would, no doubt, have identified with a group of young writers, among them Kipling, who were known as “Henley’s young men,” forever standing on burning decks, each a master of his fate, captain of his soul.

Characteristically, no talking head mentioned Henley’s name, because no one knew who he was. Many thought this famous poem was McVeigh’s work. One irritable woman described Henley as “a 19th-century cripple.” I fiercely e-mailed her network: the one-legged Henley was “extremities challenged.”

The stoic serenity of McVeigh’s last days certainty qualified him as a Henley-style hero. He did not complain about his fate; took responsibility for what he was thought to have done; did not beg for mercy as our always s.a.d.i.s.tic media require. Meanwhile, conflicting details about him acc.u.mulate-a bewildering mosaic, in fact-and he seems more and more to have stumbled into the wrong American era. Plainly, he needed a self-consuming cause to define him. The abolition of slavery or the preservation of the Union would have been more worthy of his life than anger at the excesses of our corrupt secret police. But he was stuck where he was and so he declared war on a government that he felt had declared war on its own people.

One poetic moment in what was largely an orchestrated hymn of hatred. Outside the prison, a group of anti-death-penalty people prayed together in the dawn’s early light. Suddenly, a bird appeared and settled on the left forearm of a woman, who continued her prayers. When, at last, she rose to her feet the bird remained on her arm-consolation? Ora pro n.o.bis.

CNN gave us bits and pieces of McVeigh’s last morning. Asked why he had not at least said that he was sorry for the murder of innocents, he said that he could say it but he would not have meant it. He was a soldier in a war not of his making. This was Henleyesque. One biographer described him as honest to a fault McVeigh had also noted that Harry Truman had never said that he was sorry about dropping two atomic bombs on an already defeated j.a.pan, killing around 200,000 people, mostly collateral women and children. Media howled that that was wartime. But McVeigh considered himself, rightly or wrongly, at war, too. Incidentally, the inexorable beatification of Harry Truman is now an important aspect of our evolving imperial system. It is widely believed that the bombs were dropped to save American lives. This is not true. The bombs were dropped to frighten our new enemy, Stalin. To a man, our leading World War II commanders, including Eisenhower, C. W. Nimitz, and even Curtis LeMay (played so well by George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove), were opposed to Truman’s use of the bombs against a defeated enemy trying to surrender. A friend from live television, the late Robert Alan Aurthur, made a doc.u.mentary about Truman. I asked him what he thought of him. “He just gives you all these canned answers. The only time I got a rise out of him was when I suggested that he tell us about his decision to drop the atomic bombs in the actual ruins of Hiroshima. Truman looked at me for the first time. *O.K.,’ he said, *but I won’t kiss their'” Plainly another Henley hero, with far more collateral damage to his credit than McVeigh. Was it Chaplin’s M. Verdoux who said that when it comes to calibrating liability for murder it is all, finally, a matter of scale?

After my adventures in the Ravello gardens (CBS’s Bryant Gumbel was his usual low-key, courteous self and did not pull the cord), I headed for Terre Haute by way of Manhattan. I did several programs where I was cut off at the word Waco. Only CNN’s Greta Van Susteren got the point. “Two wrongs,” she said, sensibly, “don’t make a right.” I quite agreed with her. But then, since I am against the death penalty, I noted that three wrongs are hardly an improvement.

Then came the stay of execution. I went back to Ravello. The media were now gazing at me. Time and again I would hear or read that I had written McVeigh first, congratulating him, presumably, on his killings. I kept explaining, patiently, how, after he had read me in Vanity Fair, it was he who wrote me, starting an off-and-on three-year correspondence. As it turned out, I could not go so I was not able to see with my own eyes the bird of dawning alight upon -the woman’s arm.

The first letter to me was appreciative of what I had written. I wrote him back. To show what an eager commercialite I am-hardly school of Capote-I kept no copies of my letters to him until the last one in May.

The second letter from his Colorado prison is dated “28 Feb 99.” “Mr. Vidal, thank you for your letter. I received your book United States last week and have since finished most of Part 2- your poetical musings.” I should say that spelling and grammar are perfect throughout, while the handwriting is oddly even and slants to the left, as if one were looking at it in a mirror. “I think you’d be surprised at how much of that material I agree with….

As to your letter, I fully recognize that “the general rebellion against what our gov’t has become is the most interesting (and I think important) story in our history this century.” This is why I have been mostly disappointed at previous stories attributing the OKC bombing to a simple act of “revenge” for Waco-and why I was most pleased to read your Nov. article in Vanity Fair. In the 4 years since the bombing, your work is the first to really explore the underlying motivations for such a strike against the U.S. Government- and for that, I thank you. I believe that such in-depth reflections are vital if one truly wishes to understand the events of April 1995.

Although I have many observations that I’d like to throw at you, I must keep this letter to a practical length-so I will mention just one: if federal agents are like “so many Jacobins at war” with the citizens of this country, and if federal agencies “daily wage war” against those citizens, then should not the OKC bombing be considered a “counter-attack” rather than a self-declared war? Would it not be more akin to Hiroshima than Pearl Harbor? (I’m sure the j.a.panese were just as shocked and surprised at Hiroshima-in fact, was that antic.i.p.ated effect not part and parcel of the overall strategy of that bombing?) Back to your letter, I had never considered your age as an impediment [here he riots in tact!] until I received that letter-and noted that it was typed on a manual typewriter? Not to worry, recent medical studies tell us that Italy’s taste for canola oil, olive oil and wine helps extend the average lifespan and helps prevent heart disease in Italians-so you picked the right place to retire to.

Again, thank you for dropping me a line-and as far as any concern over what or how to write someone “in my situation,” I think you’d find that many of us are still just “regular Joes”- regardless of public perception-so there need be no special consideration(s) given to whatever you wish to write. Until next time, then…

Under this line he has put in quotes: “‘Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.’ -H. L. Mencken. Take good care.”

He signed off with scribbled initials. Needless to say, this letter did not conform to any notion that I had had of him from reading the rabid U.S. press led, as always, by the New York Times, whose clumsy attempts at Freudian a.n.a.lysis (e.g., he was a broken blossom because his mother left his father in his sixteenth year-actually he seemed relieved). Later, there was a year or so when I did not hear from him. Two reporters from a Buffalo newspaper (he was born and raised near Buffalo) were at work interviewing him for their book, American Terrorist. I do think I wrote him that Mencken often resorted to Swiftian hyperbole and was not to be taken too literally. Could the same be said of McVeigh? There is always the interesting possibility- prepare for the grandest conspiracy of all-that he neither made nor set off the bomb outside the Murrah building: it was only later, when facing either death or life imprisonment, that he saw to it that he would be given sole credit for hoisting the black flag and slitting throats, to the rising fury of various “militias” across the land who are currently outraged that he is getting sole credit for a revolutionary act organized, some say, by many others. At the end, if this scenario is correct, he and the detested Feds were of a single mind.

As Senator Danforth foresaw, the government would execute McVeigh as soon as possible (within ten days of Danforth’s statement to The Washington Post) in order not to have to produce so quickly that mislaid box with doc.u.ments that might suggest that others were involved in the bombing. The fact that McVeigh himself was eager to commit what he called “federally a.s.sisted suicide” simply seemed a bizarre twist to a story that no matter how one tries to straighten it out never quite conforms to the Ur-plot of lone crazed killer (Oswald) killed by a second lone crazed killer (Ruby), who would die in stir with, he claimed, a tale to tell. Unlike Lee Harvey (“I’m the patsy”) Oswald, our Henley hero found irresistible the role of lone warrior against a bad state. Where, in his first correspondence with me, he admits to nothing for the obvious reason his lawyers have him on appeal, in his last letter to me, April 20, 2001- “T. McVeigh 12076-064 FOB 33 Terre Haute, In. 47808 (USA)”-he writes, “Mr. Vidal, if you have read the recently published *American Terrorist/ then you’ve probably realized that you hit the nail on the head with your article *The War at Home/ Enclosed is supplemental material to add to that insight.” Among the doc.u.ments he sent was an chat transcript of a conversation with Timothy McVeigh’s psychiatrist. The interview with Dr. John Smith was conducted by a moderator, March 29 of this year. Dr. Smith had had only one session with McVeigh, six years earlier. Apparently McVeigh had released him from his medical oath of confidentiality so that he could talk to Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, authors of American Terrorist.

Moderator: You say that Timothy McVeigh “was not deranged” and that he has “no major mental illness.” So why, in your view, would he commit such a terrible crime?

Dr. John Smith: Welt, I don’t think he committed it because he was deranged or misinterpreting reality…, He was overly sensitive, to the point of being a little paranoid, about the actions of the government. But he committed the act mostly out of revenge because of the Waco a.s.sault, but he also wanted to make a political statement about the role of the federal government and protest the use of force against the citizens. So to answer your original question, it was a conscious choice on his part, not because he was deranged, but because he was serious.

Dr. Smith then notes McVeigh’s disappointment that the media had shied away from any dialogue “about the misuse of power by the federal government.” Also, “his statement to me, *I did not expect a revolution/ Although he did go on to tell me that he had had discussions with some of the militias who lived in the hills around Kingman, AZ, about how easy it would be, with certain guns in the hills there, to cut interstate 40 in two and in that sense interfere with transportation from between the eastern and western part of the United States-a rather grandiose discussion.”

Grandiose but, I think, in character for those rebels who like to call themselves Patriots and see themselves as similar to the American colonists who separated from England. They are said to number from 2 million to 4 million, of whom some 400,000 are activists in the militias. Although McVeigh never formally joined any group, for three years he drove all around the country, networking with like-minded gun-lovers and federal-government-haters; he also learned, according to American Terrorist, “that the government was planning a ma.s.sive raid on gun owners and members of the Patriot community in the spring of 1995.” This was all the trigger that McVeigh needed for what he would do-shuffle the deck, as it were.

The Turner Diaries is a racist daydream by a former physics teacher writing under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald. Although McVeigh has no hangups about blacks, Jews, and all the other enemies of the various “Aryan” white nations to be found in the Patriots’ tanks, he shares the Diaries’ obsession with guns and explosives and a final all-out war against the “System.” Much has been made, rightly, of a description in the book of how to build a bomb like the one he used in Oklahoma City. When asked if McVeigh acknowledged copying this section from the novel, Dr. Smith said, “Well, sort of. Tim wanted it made clear that, unlike The Turner Diaries, he was not a racist. He made that very clear. He did not hate h.o.m.os.e.xuals. He made that very clear.” As for the book as an influence, “he’s not going to share credit with anyone.” Asked to sum up, the good doctor said, simply, “I have always said to myself that if there had not been a Waco, there would not have been an Oklahoma City.”

McVeigh also sent me a 1998 piece he had written for Media Bypa.s.s. He calls it “Essay on Hypocrisy.”

The administration has said that Iraq has no right to stockpile chemical or biological weapons . .. mainly because they have used them in the past. Well, if that’s the standard by which these matters are decided, then the U.S. is the nation that set the precedent. The U.S. has stockpiled these same weapons (and more) for over 40 years. The U.S. claims that this was done for the deterrent purposes during its “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. Why, then, is it invalid for Iraq to claim the same reason (deterrence)-with respect to Iraq’s (real) war with, and the continued threat of, its neighbor Iran?…

Yet when discussion shifts to Iraq, any day

McVeigh quotes again from Justice Brandeis: “‘Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example.'” He stops there. But Brandeis goes on to write in his dissent, “Crime is contagious. If the government becomes the law breaker, it breeds contempt for laws; it invites every man to become a law unto himself.” Thus the straight-arrow model soldier unleashed his terrible swift sword and the innocent died. But then a lawless government, Brandeis writes, “invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means-to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal-would bring terrible retribution.”

One wonders if the Opus Dei plurality of the present Supreme Court’s five-to-four majority has ever pondered these words so different from, let us say, one of its essential thinkers, Machiavelli, who insisted that, above all, the Prince must be feared.

Finally, McVeigh sent me three pages of longhand notes dated April 4, 2001, a few weeks before he was first scheduled to die. It is addressed to “CJ.”(?), whose initials he has struck out.

I explain herein why I bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. I explain this not for publicity, nor seeking to win an argument of right or wrong. I explain so that the record is clear as to my thinking and motivations in bombing a government installation.

I chose to bomb a Federal Building because such an action served more purposes than other options. Foremost, the bombing was a retaliatory strike: a counter-attack, for the c.u.mulative raids (and subsequent violence and damage) that federal agents had partic.i.p.ated in over the preceding years (including, but not limited to, Waco). From the formation of such units as the FBI’s “Hostage Rescue” and other a.s.sault teams amongst federal agencies during the 80s, culminating in the Waco incident, federal actions grew increasingly militaristic and violent, to the point where at Waco, our government-like the Chinese-was deploying tanks against its own citizens.

… For all intents and purposes, federal agents had become “soldiers” (using military training, tactics, techniques, equipment, language, dress, organization and mindset) and they were escalating their behavior. Therefore, this bombing was also meant as a pre-emptive (or pro-active) strike against those forces and their command and control centers within the federal building. When an aggressor force continually launches attacks from a particular base of operations, it is sound military strategy to take the fight to the enemy. Additionally, borrowing a page from U.S. foreign policy, I decided to send a message to a government that was becoming increasingly hostile, by bombing a government building and the government employees within that building who represent that government. Bombing the Murrah Federal Building was morally and strategically equivalent to the U.S. hitting a government building in Serbia, Iraq, or other nations. Based on observations of the policies of my own government, I viewed this action as an acceptable option. From this perspective what occurred in Oklahoma City was no different than what Americans rain on the heads of others all the time, and, subsequently, my mindset was and is one of clinical detachment. (The bombing of the Murrah Building was not personal no more than when Air Force, Army, Navy or Marine personnel bomb or launch cruise missiles against (foreign) government installations and their personnel.) I hope this clarification amply addresses your question.

Sincerely, T.M.

USP Terre Haute (In.) There were many outraged press notes and letters when I said that McVeigh suffered from “an exaggerated sense of justice.” I did not really need the adjective except that I knew that few Americans seriously believe that anyone is capable of doing anything except out of personal self-interest, while anyone who deliberately risks-and gives- his life to alert his fellow citizens to an onerous government is truly crazy. But the good Dr. Smith put that one in perspective: McVeigh was not deranged. He was serious.

It is June 16. It seems like five years rather than five days since the execution. The day before the execution, June 10, the New York Times discussed “The Future of American Terrorism.” Apparently, terrorism has a real future; hence we must beware n.a.z.i skinheads in the boondocks. The Times is, occasionally, right for the usual wrong reasons. For instance, their current wisdom is to dispel the illusion that “McVeigh is merely a p.a.w.n in an expansive conspiracy led by a group of John Does that may even have had government involvement. But only a small fringe will cling to this theory for long.” Thank G.o.d: one had feared that rumors of a greater conspiracy would linger on and Old Glory herself would turn to fringe before our eyes. The Times, more in anger than in sorrow, feels that McVeigh blew martyrdom by first pleading not guilty and then by not using his trial to “make a political statement about Ruby Ridge and Waco.” McVeigh agreed with the Times, and blamed his first lawyer, Stephen Jones, in unholy tandem with the judge, for selling him out. During his appeal, his new attorneys claimed that the serious sale took place when Jones, eager for publicity, met with the Times’s Pam Belluck. McVeigh’s guilt was quietly conceded, thus explaining why the defense was so feeble. (Jones claims he did nothing improper.) * * *

Actually, in the immediate wake of the bombing, the Times concedes, the militia movement skyrocketed from 220 antigovernment groups in 1995 to more than 850 by the end of *96. A factor in this growth was the belief circulating among militia groups “that government agents had planted the bomb as a way to justify anti-terrorism legislation. No less than a retired Air Force general has promoted the theory that in addition to Mr. McVeigh’s truck bomb, there were bombs inside the building.” Although the Times likes a.n.a.logies to n.a.z.i Germany, they are curiously reluctant to draw one between, let’s say, the firing of the Reichstag in 1933 (Goring later took credit for this creative crime), which then allowed Hitler to invoke an Enabling Act that provided him with all sorts of dictatorial powers “for protection of the people and the state,” and so on to Auschwitz.

The canny Portland Free Press editor, Ace Hayes, noted that the one absolutely necessary dog in every terrorism case has yet to bark- The point to any terrorist act is that credit must be claimed so that fear will spread throughout the land. But no one took credit until McVeigh did, after the trial, in which he was condemned to death as a result of circ.u.mstantial evidence produced by the prosecution. Ace Hayes wrote, “If the bombing was not terrorism then what was it? It was pseudo terrorism, perpetrated by compartmentalized covert operators for the purposes of state police power.” Apropos Hayes’s conclusion, Adam Parfrey wrote in Cult Rapture, “[The bombing] is not different from the bogus Viet Cong units that were sent out to rape and murder Vietnamese to discredit the National Liberation Front. It is not different from the bogus *finds’ of Commie weapons in El Salvador. It is not different from the bogus Symbionese Liberation Army created by the CIA/FBI to discredit the real revolutionaries.” Evidence of a conspiracy? Edye Smith was interviewed by Gary Tuchman, May 23,1995, on CNN. She duly noted that the ATT bureau, about seventeen people on the ninth floor, suffered no casualties. Indeed they seemed not to have come to work that day. Jim Keith gives details in OKBOMB!, while Smith observed on TV, “Did the ATF have a warning sign? I mean, did they think it might be a bad day to go into the office? They had an option not to go to work that day, and my kids didn’t get that option.” She lost two children in the bombing. ATF has a number of explanations. The latest: five employees were in the offices, unhurt.

Another lead not followed up: McVeigh’s sister read a letter he wrote her to the grand jury stating that he had become a member of a “Special Forces Group involved in criminal activity.”

At the end, McVeigh, already condemned to death, decided to take full credit for the bombing. Was he being a good professional soldier, covering up for others? Or did he, perhaps, now see himself in a historic role with his own private Harper’s Ferry, and though his ashes molder in the grave, his spirit is marching on? We may know-one day.

As for “the purposes of state police power,” after the bombing, Clinton signed into law orders allowing the police to commit all sorts of crimes against the Const.i.tution in the interest of combating terrorism. On April 20, 1996 (Hitler’s birthday of golden memory, at least for the producers of The Producers), President Clinton signed the Anti-Terrorism Act (“for the protection of the people and the state”-the emphasis, of course, is on the second noun), while, a month earlier, the mysterious Louis Freeh had informed Congress of his plans for expanded wiretapping by his secret police. Clinton described his Anti-Terrorism Act in familiar language (March 1,1993, USA Today): “We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.” A year later (April 19, 1994, on MTV): “A lot of people say there’s too much personal freedom. When personal freedom’s being abused, you have to move to limit it.” On that plangent note he graduated c.u.m laude from the Newt Gingrich Academy.

In essence, Clinton’s Anti-Terrorism Act would set up a national police force, over the long-dead bodies of the founders. Details are supplied by H.R. 97, a chimera born of Clinton, Reno, and the mysterious Mr. Freeh. A twenty-five-hundred-man Rapid Deployment Strike Force would be organized, under the attorney general, with dictatorial powers. The chief of police of Windsor, Missouri, Joe Hendricks, spoke out against this supra-Const.i.tutional police force. Under this legislation, Hendricks said, “an agent of the FBI could walk into my office and commandeer this police department. If you don’t believe that, read the crime bill that Clinton signed into law…. There is talk of the Feds taking over the Washington, D.C., police department. To me this sets a dangerous precedent.” But after a half-century of the Russians are coming, followed by terrorists from proliferating rogue states as well as the ongoing horrors of drug- related crime, there is little respite for a people so routinely-so fiercely-disinformed. Yet there is a native suspicion that seems to be a part of the individual American psyche-as demonstrated in polls, anyway. According to a Scripps Howard News Service poll, 40 percent of Americans think it quite likely that the FBI set the fires at Waco. Fifty-one percent believe federal officials killed Jack Kennedy (Oh, Oliver what hast thou wrought!). Eighty percent believe that the military is withholding evidence that Iraq used nerve gas or something as deadly in the Gulf. Unfortunately, the other side of this coin is troubling. After Oklahoma City, 58 percent of Americans, according to the Los Angeles Times, were willing to surrender some of their liberties to stop terrorism-including, one wonders, the sacred right to be misinformed by government?

Shortly after McVeigh’s conviction, Director Freeh soothed the Senate Judiciary Committee: “Most of the militia organizations around the country are not, in our view, threatening or dangerous.” But earlier, before the Senate Appropriations Committee, he had “confessed” that his bureau was troubled by “various individuals, as well as organizations, some having an ideology which suspects government of world-order conspiracies-individuals who have organized themselves against the United States.” In sum, this bureaucrat who does G.o.d’s Work regards as a threat those “individuals who espouse ideologies inconsistent with principles of Federal Government.” Oddly, for a former judge, Freeh seems not to recognize how chilling this last phrase is.

The CIA’s former director William Colby is also made nervous by the disaffected. In a chat with Nebraska state senator John Decamp (shortly before the Oklahoma City bombing), he mused, “I watched as the Anti-War movement rendered it impossible for this country to conduct or win the Viet Nam War…. This Militia and Patriot movement… is far more significant and far more dangerous for Americans than the Anti-War movement ever was, if it is not intelligently dealt with- It is not because these people are armed that America need be concerned.” Colby continues, “They are dangerous because there are so many of them. It is one thing to have a few nuts or dissidents. They can be dealt with, justly or otherwise [my emphasis] so that they do not pose a danger to the system. It is quite another situation when you have a true movement- millions of citizens believing something, particularly when the movement is made up of society’s average, successful citizens.” Presumably one “otherwise” way of handling such a movement is when it elects a president by a half-million votes-to call in a like-minded Supreme Court majority to stop a state’s recounts, create arbitrary deadlines, and invent delays until our ancient electoral system, by default, must give the presidency to the “system’s” candidate as opposed to the one the people voted for.

Many an “expert” and many an expert believe that McVeigh neither built nor detonated the bomb that blew up a large part of the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. To start backward-rather the way the FBI conducted this case-if McVeigh was not guilty, why did he confess to the murderous deed? I am convinced from his correspondence and what one has learned about him in an ever lengthening row of books that, once found guilty due to what he felt was the slovenly defense of his lawyer, Stephen Jones, so unlike the brilliant defense of his “co-conspirator” Terry Nichols’s lawyer Michael Tigar, McVeigh believed that the only alternative to death by injection was a half-century or more of life in a box. There is another aspect of our prison system (considered one of the most barbaric in the First World) that was alluded to by a British writer in The Guardian. He quoted California’s attorney general, Bill Lockyer, on the subject of the C.E.O. of an electric utility, currently battening on California’s failing energy supply. *”I would love to personally escort this CEO to an 8 by 10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says-“Hi, my name is Spike, Honey.”‘… The senior law official in the state was confirming (what we all suspected) that rape is penal policy. Go to prison and serving as a h.e.l.l’s Angel s.e.x slave is judged part of your sentence.” A couple of decades fending off Spike is not a Henley hero’s idea of a good time. Better dead than Spiked. Hence, “I bombed the Murrah building.”

Evidence, however, is overwhelming that there was a plot involving militia types and government Infiltrators- who knows?-as prime movers to create panic in order to get Clinton to sign that infamous Anti-Terrorism Act. But if, as it now appears, there were many interested parties involved, a sort of unified-field theory is never apt to be found, but should there be one, Joel Dyer may be its Einstein. (Einstein, of course, never got his field quite together, either.) In 1998, I read Dyer’s Harvest of Rage. Dyer was editor of the Boulder Weekly. He writes on the crisis of rural America due to the decline of the family farm, which also coincided with the formation of various militias and religious cults, some dangerous, some merely sad. In Harvest of Rage, Dyer made the case that McVeigh and Terry Nichols could not have acted alone in the Oklahoma City bombing. Now he has, after long investigation, written an epilogue to the trials of the two coconspirators.

It will be interesting to see if the FBI is sufficiently intrigued by what Joel Dyer has written to pursue the leads that he has so generously given them.

Thus far, David Hoffman’s The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Tenor is the most thorough of a dozen or two accounts of what did and did not happen on that day in April. Hoffman begins his investigation with retired air-force brigadier general Benton K. Partin’s May 17, 1995, letter delivered to each member of the Senate and House of Representatives: “When I first saw the pictures of the truck-bomb’s asymmetrical damage to the Federal Building, my immediate reaction was that the pattern of damage would have been technically impossible without supplementing demolition charges at some of the reinforcing concrete column bases…. For a simplistic blast truck-bomb, of the size and composition reported, to be able to reach out in the order of 60 feet and collapse a reinforced column base the size of column A-7 is beyond credulity.” In separate agreement was Samuel Cohen, father of the neutron bomb and formerly of the Manhattan Project, who wrote an Oklahoma state legislator, “It would have been absolutely impossible and against the laws of nature for a truck full of fertilizer and fuel oil… no matter how much was used .. , to bring the building down.” One would think that McVeigh’s defense lawyer, restlessly looking for a Middle East connection, could certainly have called these acknowledged experts to testify, but a search of Jones’s account of the case, Others Unknown, reveals neither name.

In the March 20, 1996, issue of Strategic Investment newsletter, it was reported that Pentagon a.n.a.lysts tended to agree with General Partin. “A cla.s.sified report prepared by two independent Pentagon experts has concluded that the destruction of the Federal building in Oklahoma City last April was caused by five separate bombs…. Sources close to the study say Timothy McVeigh did play a role in the bombing but *peripherally/ as a *useful idiot/” Finally, inevitably-this is wartime, after all-“the multiple bombings have a Middle Eastern *signature,’ pointing to either Iraqi or Syrian involvement.”

As it turned out, Partin’s and Cohen’s pro bono efforts to examine the ruins were in vain. Sixteen days after the bombing, the search for victims stopped. In another letter to Congress, Partin stated that the building should not be destroyed until an independent forensic team was brought in to investigate the damage. “It is also easy to cover up crucial evidence as was apparently done in Waco- Why rush to destroy the evidence?” Trigger words: the Feds demolished the ruins six days later. They offered the same excuse that they had used at Waco, “health hazards.” Partin: “It’s a cla.s.sic cover-up.”

Partin suspected a Communist plot. Well, n.o.body’s perfect.

“So what’s the take-away?” was the question often asked by TV producers in the so-called golden age of live television plays. This meant: what is the audience supposed to think when the play is over? the McVeigh story presents us with several take-aways. If McVeigh is simply a “useful idiot,” a tool of what might be a very large conspiracy, involving various homegrown militias working, some think, with Middle Eastern helpers, then the FBI’s refusal to follow up so many promising leads goes quite beyond its ordinary incompetence and smacks of treason. If McVeigh was the unlikely sole mover and begetter of the bombing, then his “inhumane” (the Unabomber’s adjective) destruction of so many lives will have served no purpose at all unless we take it seriously as what it is, a wake-up call to a federal government deeply hated, it would seem, by millions. (Remember that the popular Ronald Reagan always ran against the federal government, though often for the! wrong reasons.) Final far-fetched take-away: McVeigh did not make nor deliver nor detonate the bomb but, once arrested on another charge, seized all “glory” for himself and so gave up his life. That’s not a story for W. E. Henley so much as for one of his young men, Rudyard Kipling, author of The Man Who Would Be King.

Finally, the fact that the McVeigh-Nichols scenario makes no sense at all suggests that yet again, we are confronted with a “perfect” crime-thus far.

Vanity Fair.

September 2001.


Once our media has invented a cartoon image for a national villain or hero, it does not take a benign view of anyone who contradicts its version. My reasonably mild a.n.a.lysis of McVeigh was interpreted as approval of the bombing at Oklahoma City and I was said to have hailed him as “a freedom fighter,” a phrase, as you have seen, that I never used. I thought it was obvious that I agreed with the examining psychiatrist who said, “Had there been no Waco, there would have been no Oklahoma City.” Therefore, the truth-seeker should concentrate on the various elements that led up to the federal ma.s.sacre at Waco on the ground that whatever the Federal government does it does in the name of all of us. What McVeigh did he did on his own for reasons well worth understanding since he appears to represent, in many ways, millions of heartland Americans.

In the original article I quote Joel Dyer at greater length than I do now. He had spent years following up on leads to potential coconspirators with McVeigh. There was even a potential Iraqi connection in Oklahoma City, which might well have brought roses to the cheeks of our right-wing activists, eager for war with Iraq as well as Iran, Somalia, and just about any Islamic nation that does not obey us. In any case, I have now left out all those leads not followed by the FBI on the ground that the spoor, as Tarzan used to say, grows, with pa.s.sing time, ever more faint.

But at the time Dyer and I were ready to share our findings, no matter how unwanted, with the FBI. The mysterious Louis Freeh had left as director and his place was taken by R. S. Mueller, for whom I prepared the following letter, which I read on NBC’s Today Show, leaving out the names of those who had given leads, but including the doc.u.ment numbers of the FBI reports collected by Dyer during various “discovery” court hearings.

August 27, 2001 The Honorable Robert S. Mueller III, Director-Designate Federal Bureau of Investigation J. Edgar Hoover Building 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, K.W.

Washington, B.C. 20535-0001 Dear Director-Designate Mueller; Congratulations on your recent appointment as director of the Federala Bureau of Investigation. If recent news reports are to be believed, it seems your first priority is to restore the tattered image of the Freeh-based bureau. We see you as Shane come to town. With that in mind, might I suggest a bona fide investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing? To that worthy end, I am providing you a list of “302” reports from the Bureau’s alleged “investigation” that I hope you will find more interesting than did your predecessor Hr. Louis Freeh.

McVeigh Discovery Materials 302 Reports DCNO 005290001-1 DCNO 004623001-1.

DCNO 016598001-1 DCNO 004622001-1.

DCNO 004412001-1 Russell Roe DCNO#-illegible DCNO 004613001-1.

DCNO 016417001-1 DCNO 007936001-1.

DCNO 006333001-1 DCNO 008597001-1.

DCNO 015040001-1 DCNO 015830001-1.

DCNO 015042001-1 DCNO 016016001-1.

DCNO 015039001-1 DCNO 007986001-1.

DCNO 015041001-1 Lead # 15004 DCNO#-illegible Upon review, you will find that, these 19 “302” reports were generated as a result of your organization’s interviews with Kansas law enforcement personnel, eyewitnesses, confidential informants, militia members, etc. Collectively, they contain information regarding, among other things, four men, resident in East Kansas at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, who were well-known anti-U.S. government radicals.

Let me briefly summarize the contents of these doc.u.ments.

In the first series of doc.u.ments is a report of perhaps the only eyewitness to the actual a.s.semblage of the bombing components. He was present, on or about April 17, 1995, at Geary Lake and identified one man and others unknown who were offloading fertilizer from a farm truck to the Ryder truck.

The second set of reports deals with a man who was overheard, several weeks prior to the bombing, saying that “Someone is going to smoke some Okies-wait till Timray does his job.’ It is also noted that this same individual had suggested committing numerous acts of terrorism-both prior to and subsequent to-the OKC bombing. In fact, your agency later arrested him for one such plot. Let us hope they will tell you about it.

A third group of “302”s describes in detail a man said to be a dangerous, government-hating radical thought to have exploded fertilizer bombs on his remote Kansas property prior to the fertilizer-bomb explosion in Oklahoma City, You should have no trouble locating information on this individual, as your agency has had many unusual dealings with him over the years. In an effort to save you valuable time, as I am sure you are quite busy cleaning up after Mr. Freeh, please be aware that if you simply request this individual’s file by the original number a.s.signed by the F.B.I. (W924376484), you may encounter difficulty in locating it because, I’ve been told, this file number was mysteriously rea.s.signed to an unrelated case in New Jersey and that new numbers have been issued for the Kansas man’s files. What, one wonders, can this mean?

The last set of reports contains information from Kansas law enforcement, describing an anti-government radical living in the same small town as Terry Nichols, McVeigh’s only named co-conspirator. You will also find his name on the Posse Comitatus videotapes seized by the F.B.I, at the Nichols’s brothers’ farm in Michigan. I believe the seized tapes describe him as a close personal friend of the Posse leader whose phone number was in Mr. Nichols’s wallet at the time of his arrest. But then again, perhaps these two likeminded friends of a friend never stumbled across one another in a town whose population is 636.

In addition to the above information, these reports also indicate that these men had ties to both the Michigan Militia and the Arizona Patriots, two anti- government organizations with which Mr. McVeigh a.s.sociated prior to the bombing, Here are my concerns and, I suspect, the concerns of every thoughtful American. Based upon an examination of the evidence turned over during the discovery process and trial, it appears that the F.B.I., despite the quality of the leads I’ve set forth above, never actually bothered to pursue the information provided in any substantive manner. The men in question were not interviewed, not even the obligatory “Where were you on April 19?” phone call. In fact, they were not investigated in any manner whatsoever, no vehicle registration checks, nothing. By the way, I think you would find the vehicle angle quite interesting. Had the above leads been investigated in even a cursory manner, the FBI would have learned that all four men were closely a.s.sociated in the same radical anti-government faction. I’m sure you will agree that such a connection between these overlooked leads might tell us who did what that cruel April day.

In addition, as set out in. my recent article in Vanity Fair, the name of at least one other person a.s.sociated with this same organization was given to the F.B.I, by three different persons, yet there were no “302” reports concerning the three and no information whatsoever on the subject in the discovery materials turned over by the government.

I cannot say with certainty that these men were part of the bombing plot that left 168 innocent people dead. It would be impossible to reach such a bold conclusion in light of the F.B.I.’s failure to even investigate such a possibility. I am simply pointing out that the government’s ongoing insistence that it “followed every lead” and that there is “no credible evidence that others were involved” is not based on the evidence, but rather on the F.B.I.’s increasingly jittery public relations department. The evidence turned over thus far in this case suggests an indifference to the very notion of justice that goes quite beyond the bureau’s eerie incompetence. To be generous, I suspect that the bureau did pursue more leads than it has ever let on, so, as Senator Danforth suggested before McVeigh’s execution: after the execution there will be some box found, somewhere, containing evidence that was withheld from McVeigh’s defense attorneys.

Now that McVeigh has already been injected into a better world, I am sure that the bureau’s choice of explanation to my inquiry will be a difficult one. Was it an incompetent investigation, as this trail of ignored leads would suggest? Or is it something even more sinister, a case of withholding evidence during discovery, which is a criminal act? Either way, I believe that the American people, particularly those most affected by the murderous bombing, deserve an explanation.

Please reply at your earliest convenience. Sincerely, Gore Vidal Care of Vanity Fair 4 Times Square, 22nd Floor New York, NY 10036 For those readers now hanging from what Alfalfa Bill Murray used to call “tender-hooks,” what did the Director-Designate reply? Nothing. Also, as far as anyone can tell, the Lee Harvey Oswald scenario has played out yet again. I will say that when I was questioned on NBC-why did I bring this up and so add to the unique suffering of the Oklahomans?-I said I bring it up to save them and the rest of the country from further suffering because potential enemies of the United States ace still at large and they are certain to strike at us again. I was not sufficiently prescient to say that some, even as I spoke, were studying in Oklahoma on how to maneuver aircraft in the air without first taking off.

Finally, McVeigh spoke to me from the grave. I received a note from Eric F. Magnuson, director of the World Libertarian Order. On May 21, 2001, Mr. Magnuson wrote McVeigh on Death Row asking him what changes he would make in the way the United States administers itself. McVeigh duly responded with ten additions to the ten amendments that comprise our Bill of Rights. Here they are, preceded by Mr. Magnuson’s position on the marten Eric F. Magnuson’s Disclaimer June 20, 2001. It must be stressed here that the WLO does not necessarily agree with any of Timothy McVeigh’s ideas just because we reproduce them here. Our writings are entirely separate from his. We certainly do not advocate or condone the blowing up of large buildings filled with people that one does not even know. You might kill a future Libertarian. We do feel however, that these tragic things cannot be kept from happening in the future unless we are willing to take a very clear and honest look at why they have happened in the past. We are confident that all right-thinking people agree with this very basic principle. Those who disagree are those who prefer fantasy to truth. Such people are the problem, not any part of the solution. The fact that Timothy McVeigh did a desperate and destructive thing does not conveniently negate the fact that government in America has become too large and oppressive, it simply underscores it.

Eric F. Magnuson Director The World Libertarian Order Tim’s Bill Of Rights 1.) Neither Speech, Press, Religion, nor a.s.sembly shall be infringed, nor shall such be forced upon any person by the government of the United States.

2.) There shall be no standing military force during peacetime, (this) to include large bodies of federal law enforcers or coalitions of these officers that would const.i.tute a military force, with the exception of sea-based maritime forces.

3.) The Executive Office shall hold no power to unilaterally alter Const.i.tutional rights.

4.) No person shall be subjected to any form of direct taxation or wage withholdings by the Federal government.

5.) No person’s life or liberty shall be taken without due process. Any government employee circ.u.mventing due process rights shall be punished with imprisonment. Citizens shall not be subjected to invasions of their homes or property by employees of the Federal government. Property or other a.s.sets of United States citizens shall not be subject to forfeiture to the Federal government.

6.) Personal activities that do not infringe upon the rights or property of another shall not be charged, prosecuted, or punished by the United States government. Any crime alleged will be prosecuted by the jurisdiction most local to the alleged crime, respectively. No person shall be twice tried for an offense alleged and adjudicated in another jurisdiction. No person shall be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, nor shall the Federal government hold power to execute any individual as punishment for a crime convicted, or contract to another ent.i.ty for this purpose. No person shall be held to account for the actions of another, unless proven by more than one witness to be the figure.

7.) All currency shall be redeemable in a globally recognized material of intrinsic value, such as silver.

8.) Legislative members shall earn no more than twice the current poverty level and shall not be subject to any additional pay, bonuses, rewards, gifts, ent.i.tlements, or other such privileges, as holding such office is meant to serve the people and should not be looked upon as a capitalist career opportunity.

9.) Where non-violent checks and balances fail to remedy government abuse or tyranny, the common people reserve the right to rebellion. Inherent with this right, the common people maintain the absolute right to own and possess those weapons which are used by any level of government for domestic policing.

10.) Any rights not enumerated here belong inherently to the people or the state respectively, and shall not be a.s.sumed by omission (to be) delegated to the jurisdiction of the Federal government.

Timothy J. McVeigh.