September 8, 1999

ENEMIES – AT HOME AND ABROAD

Endless enemies – it was the title of an excellent book by Jonathan Kwitney, subtitled The Making of an Unfriendly World, about the follies and foibles of our interventionist foreign policy, and it makes a good theme song for this week. Armed to the teeth, in a surly mood, and drunk with its own sense of untrammeled power, at home and abroad, the U.S. government is engaged in a war against its enemies both real and imagined – even turning on itself.

BATTLE OF THE ACRONYMS: CIA VS. BATF/FBI

The intrepid Matt Drudge, the Woodward and Bernstein of the populist right, is reporting that a former CIA agent, who says he has evidence that the top secret Delta Force military unit was directly involved in a shoot-out at Waco, has requested and received protection against threats to himself and his son by government agents. Former CIA Special Agent Gene Cullen, who coordinated intelligence for the Somalia operation, was visited by federal agents after granting an interview to the Dallas Morning News last week, and told that he could be charged with "endangering national security." And the Texas Rangers, collecting evidence for the US District Court in the Davidian survivors' suit against the government, were told by state officials that they could not have access – on orders from Janet Reno and the Justice Department. A phone call to the US District Court in Texas and a court order in favor of the Rangers settled the jurisdictional battle – but the depth of the crisis is shown in the tug-of-war between various branches of government, each with their own interests to protect.

DELTA FORCE

Cullen confided to the Dallas paper that as many as 10 Delta Force members were "present" at Waco, an assertion government officials countered with reassurances that they were there in an advisory role. But Drudge now reveals that Cullen's full story involves Delta Force in a fierce firefight with the Davidians: members of the force have reportedly told Cullen that they fired directly into the burning building on the last day of the 51-day siege. Cullen, for his part, will shortly testify to all this under oath; he was served with a subpoena by congressional investigators last week. In view of what happened to a long – very long – list of people who somehow crossed either one of the Clintons, it's a good thing Cullen had the sense to come forward – if only in the cause of his own physical self-preservation.

BLACK HELICOPTERS AND THE DARKEST IRONY

Cullen also gave an interview to Mike McNulty, the producer and narrator of Waco: Rules of Engagement, whose new movie. Waco: New Revelations, is already being examined by congressional investigators, frame-by-frame. (If you haven't seen "Rules of Engagement," you can order a copy through Antiwar.com – and get in line for your copy of the "New Revelations" while you still can.) Word is out that it shows a helicopter – yes, a black helicopter – spraying a hail of bullets on the Davidians from the air. Of such dark irony is the grim "humor" of this cursed era made.

NATIONAL SECURITY BLANKET

Drudge notes that a congressional chairman remarked with alarm that ""I don't know how Waco, Texas could possibly be a threat to 'national security.'" But whose security is the "national security" – doesn't it always boil down to that?

COMMIT THE CRIME, DO THE TIME

The Waco revelations could succeed where l'affaire Lewinsky failed. It is a serious violation of federal law for the military to directly take up arms against Americans, and in any case could never have occurred without Clinton signing a presidential waiver. With the hunt on for the paperwork, it is only a matter of time before several congressional committees catch up to our trigger-happy commander-in-chief. We are not merely talking about impeachment here, now a moot point, but the prospect of jail time. "The buck stops here," declared Janet Reno – but does it? Does anyone believe that the feds would threaten Cullen with God-knows-what kind of retribution in order to protect FBI Director Louis Freeh or even Ms. Reno?

UNDER SIEGE

Make no mistake: now it is the White House that is under siege. Let's hope it takes less than 51 days before we can flush out Clinton from his presidential "compound." Of course, Clinton's defenses are a lot better than David Koresh's ever were. But with two congressional committees – Senator Chuck Grassley's government reform and oversight committee, and a house committee chaired by veteran Clinton-hater Dan Burton – working overtime, surely at some point we can look forward to the second trial of Bill Clinton – this time in the dock for murder, or war crimes if you will.

TOO BAD ABOUT THAT

If only the Koreshians had been Muslims, instead of Christians, Louise Arbour and the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague would have made short work of the Waco case.

LEARN NOTHING, REGRET NOTHING

"Two, three, many Wacos!" That seems to be the goal of a federal government program, which is even now preparing for possible "Y2K Violence." Just as the Waco revelations were coming to light, Reuters ran a story that reported US government efforts to put down "possible violence from cults, guerrillas, hate groups and end-of-world-fearing zealots as 2000 approaches." The FBI "expects to see increased and possibly violent activities among certain domestic groups related to the millennium," declared Michael Vatis, head of a new "interagency center" set up to "protect critical US infrastructure" from the alleged threat of attack. The source of the greatest danger, said Vatis in testimony before a special Senate panel on the Y2K glitch, is from "white supremacist" groups who believe the world "is on the verge of a final apocalyptic struggle." We have to be particularly on the lookout from those crazy Christians, he said, who are required by their faith "to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ by taking violent action against their enemies." You mean like Delta Force at Waco?

IN THEIR SIGHTS

It kind of makes you wonder if they haven't got the next "compound" of politically incorrect victims all picked out, and are getting the Delta Force boys in shape for another exercise in mass murder. Where will it be this time? Idaho? Wyoming? Or perhaps something closer to home – like maybe Pat Buchanan's manorial "compound" out in McLean, Virginia. Maybe that would shut up those troublesome Republicans!

THE WORLD AS "X-FILES"

Is the world turning into constant reruns of "The X-Files"? I hope not, but ask yourself this: why are all these "revelations" turning up now? As the government readies a crackdown on right-wing "extremist" dissent, in the name of "preparing for Y2K violence" (whatever that is), suddenly different factions of the government are leaking key portions of the truth about Waco – an event largely credited with imbuing alleged "anti-Government" militants Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols with a desire to blow up a federal building. With the machinery of repression already set in place, it somehow turns out that a problem created by government can only be solved by the government – but naturally I wouldn't suggest that this is anything other than a coincidence.

AGENT PROVOCATEUR

I certainly wouldn't want to suggest that the whole thing is a deliberate provocation. That would make me one of those dreaded "conspiracy theorists" we hear so much about, if not an outright subversive, and possibly set me up for surveillance as having the potential to commit "Y2K violence." I would merely point out that the sudden respectability of Waco revisionism takes place at a time when the hue and cry over a revival of "hate groups" is at an all-time high. A "hate group," in case you're wondering, is a group that hates the wrong people – say, the FBI, the BATF, or other government agencies or officials – instead of the "right" people – Slobodan Milosevic, all Serbs, Saddam Hussein (and all Iraqis), as well as the Indonesian "militias" (who are no doubt modeled after the Militia of Montana).

THIS JUST IN FROM THE CLINTON NEWS NETWORK

A recent CNN "news" report sounded the alarm: "Militia groups have long voiced conspiracy theories about the government's intentions at Waco. With the release of the FBI tapes, those theories and the militia movement are seeing a revival on the Internet." Oh, goodness gracious me! What will we ever do about this terrible right-wing threat? The segment featured one Devin Burghart, of something called the "Center for New Community," who opined: "There was always a threat. We have only to look back to the Oklahoma City bombing to have a vivid reminder of how real the threat can be." Interviewer Charles Bierbauer then helpfully chimed in with: "Remember Timothy McVeigh?" Cut to a commercial. In an important sense, the alleged "threat" of "Y2K violence" may very well turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. As to whether this is the intent of the policy makers in our law enforcement agencies, I would not even venture to guess. Just ask yourself: who benefits?

THE ANOMALY OF POWER

Testifying alongside Vatis before the special Senate panel was Robert Blitzer, who retired last November as head of the FBI's domestic counter-terrorism arm. Blitzer talked up the alleged dangers of domestic terrorism – but not the government kind – and also warned that "I know there are still continuing to be serious threats from abroad." Not only the threat of "anti-Western guerrilla groups" causing chaos by means of cyber-attacks, infrastructure sabotage, or mass poisonings, but also from similar groups operating overseas. The White House has written up a prospectus of possible threats, as part of a larger framework for future military interventions abroad. Authored by the National Security Council staff, the plan states the anomaly of US global hegemony in terms that one hopes are unintentionally ironic:

THE GLASS BULLY

"Due to our military superiority," they write, "potential enemies, whether nations or terrorist groups, may be more likely in the future to resort to attacks against vulnerable civilian targets in the United States, instead of conventional military operations abroad. At the same time, easier access to sophisticated technology means that the destructive power available to rogue nations and terrorists is greater than ever. Adversaries may thus be tempted to use long-range ballistic missiles or unconventional tools, such as [weapons of mass destruction] or information attacks, to threaten our citizens and critical national infrastructures."

LESS IS MORE?

In other words, we are less secure for being "the world's only superpower." Terrorism, cyber-warfare, even the possibility of nuclear warfare waged by small groups of fanatical suicide bombers – are these the wages of Empire? And, if so, can we really afford to pay?

THE ENEMY IS EVERYWHERE

In the wake of the Cold War, and with the demise of Communism, the great problem of the War Party has been the glaring lack of a credible enemy. The neoconservatives are eager to substitute Beijing for the Kremlin, but this is not really all that convincing, what with China being a Third World nation with a fourth-rate military: the Chinese Commies couldn't even take Taiwan, let alone launch an attack on the US. Other out-of-work Cold Warriors suggest reviving the Russian threat, with fascism instead of Marxism as the ideological window-dressing. But the Clintonians, in their own way masters of propaganda, seem to have solved the problem of finding a replacement Enemy, by asking: why settle on a single group or ideology? Why not just declare everybody a potential Enemy, including American citizens, and cover all bases? It's ingenious, sinister, and more than slightly surreal – just what you'd expect from the Clintonistas.

Check out Justin Raimondo's article, “China and the New Cold War”

“Behind the Headlines” appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with special editions as events warrant.

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

 

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