Outpost of Freedom
May 11, 1995
Dresden, Germany, February, 1945, A series of allied bombing raids resulted in virtual firestorms, nearly destroying this city, which dated from the early 13th century, along with many of its centuries old architectural landmarks. One hundred thirty-five thousand people, the vast majority being women and children, died during these raids.
August, 1945, Hiroshima, Japan, three-fifths of the city destroyed, along with 75,000 people, mostly women and children. Just a few days later, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, destroying half the city and killing another 75,000 people, again, mostly women and children. These three events killed 285,000 people, yet they were acts of war, and were intended to end World War II.
During the "Vietnam War," Haiphong, the major North Vietnamese city, was bombed over and over, and in 1972 the harbor was mined. Much of the city was destroyed and tens of thousands lost their lives. There was, however, no "declaration of war" to justify these acts, yet we perceive them to be Acts of War.
April 15, 1986, in a strategic operation, naval air forces attacked military targets in Tripoli Libya. One of those targets was the home of Muammar Qaddafi. Hundreds were killed, yet no "declaration of war" had existed between the United States and Libya.
December 20, 1989, United States forces, under the operational name "Just Cause" (?) invaded Panama with the purported purpose of arresting Manuel Noriega on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Hundreds died, and significant damage to the capital of Panama resulted. After trial, in December, 1992, the federal judge from Miami ruled that Noriega was a "prisoner of war."
On January 15, 1991, unified (?) forces from 31 nations began a new form of warfare (without declaration) against Iraq. For five weeks smart missiles and smart bombs were directed against, the capital Baghdad. Smart bombs were able to enter ventilation stacks of bomb shelters, killing women and children without destroying the shelter. Cruise missiles traveled hundreds of miles to explode close to their targets, killing tens of thousands of civilians in this new game of attrition. Never, however, a treaty of peace, for there was never a "declaration of war."
These acts are not considered to be acts of "terrorism", for they occurred during the course of a war. It is quite clear that during a war, acts which might otherwise be considered below the dignity of man can occur and be excepted as a consequence of war. If there is a war and thousands die, those deaths are written off as a consequence of war. Even without the accepted norm of a declaration, war can be waged against innocent civilians with no effort made for discrimination of targets.
Since the "declaration of war" has become an unnecessary act, perhaps we can find a way of determining when a war exists by other means. In the Academic American Encyclopedia, under "court", we find that, "Courts fulfill three important functions: (1) they resolve disputes that, while often routine, are crucial to those involved; (2) they provide protection from illegal actions by government and individuals; and (3) occasionally, they resolve disputes of great political and social significance." Clearly, then under a normal circumstance, "protection from illegal acts by government" should leave the government open to be punished by the court. It might then be said that if government can commit illegal acts, with impunity, that a state of war exists. No judicial process will hold the victors to task. Justice must be set aside during time of war, which is clearly affirmed in the Constitution (Article I, Section 9, clause 2, dealing with Habeas Corpus, and, Article V, Bill of Rights, dealing with exemption from Grand Jury process). So, perhaps, war (since declarations have become a thing of the past) can best be determined by the fact that no trials are held to determine justice, or injustice, for the deaths that are a consequence of hostile action. How else, in this modern age, can the determination be made that a war even existed?
This being the case, perhaps we should look around and see if there are other wars going on, perhaps at this very moment. Maybe we should start back in August, 1992. Hostilities broke out and, in the first incident, two "men" were killed. Hostilities ceased for a few days, but, then, another act of senseless murder occurred when Vicki Weaver stood in her doorway and was killed by a single "sniper's" bullet. Well, this was clearly not a war since a trial was held. Unfortunately, even though three people were killed, none were found guilty. This, then, must be a war, because war crimes trials were held, but the heinous offender could not be identified.
Just a few months later, another war began. This war lasted 51 days and the subsequent war crimes trials were held almost a year later. We know that this was a war because 9 people were found guilty of killing (or other related acts of complicity) four men who were dressed and equipped as soldiers.
Now, the "enemy soldiers" killed in these two incidents had some common ideologies, and they had other ideologies that were at opposite ends of the spectrum. That, however, was true from World War II to Operation Desert Storm. It is the side that you take that determines which side you are on during a war. We can determine which side each side was on in these last two incidents by looking at a couple of factors. First was the uniform. One side chose black military uniforms, complete with web gear, automatic rifles, tanks, helicopters, grenades and other modern implements of the game of war. The other side wore normal clothes - jeans, dresses, sneakers, etc., and used simple, legal weapons. They also sought refuge in their home and place of worship. The final indicator is that they fired only in self-defense. Surely, these were of the same side in this most recent war. And, it must be war, since even the commanding general at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. never described the acts of the enemy as terrorism.
On April 22, 1993, I left Waco, after 47 days, to return to Florida. I remember that I was somewhat dumbfounded by the events of April 19, and until I returned to Waco, in mid May, had not been able to sort out certain thoughts. When I returned to Waco, and finally stood on the concrete that was once the floor of the Mt. Carmel church, I looked around and saw partially burned remnants of utensils, clothes, books, letters and toys, indicative of the lives once lived, and since, lost here. I recalled similar situations in Vietnam, and realized, finally, that there was a state of war here in the United States of America. I realized that I was at war with the United States Government, but, that the war that I was in was still a "cold war". Not so for those who died in those ashes, but for many, a state of war had begun.
Then comes another group of soldiers. Jeans, slacks, driving cars and trucks, not tanks, and counter these previous (self-)defensive acts of war with an act that is a bit more offensive, but no more so than the initial acts the two battles just mentioned. Now, however, we hear the battle cry come up from the side that wears the black uniforms, "Terrorism," they yell, over and over again. "Terrorism, it's unfair, and they killed women and children. Terrorism, there is no other word for it."
The battle cry is taken up by many leaders who were on the side of the homespun folk. Many, who just a few years before, cried out that the surprise attacks by the Black uniformed soldiers were acts of war, now cry terrorism along with their enemies of the recent past. "Condemn them," they yell. "Hang them after a quick and speedy trial. They are not warriors, they are cowards. Hang them, be done with them". The cry comes out from ail those leaders who professed, so recently, to be on the side of the homespun patriots.
Meanwhile, many who, just a few years before, had taken the battle cry of "Do whatever is necessary to end this mess," are now questioning the fairness of the actions of the black uniforms, and beginning to understand why the poorly equipped soldiers of the other side have resorted to an act that cost 167 lives.
Perhaps it might be best to dispel the association of "baby killer" with the act that occurred in Oklahoma City. Since the sixties, the construction of federal buildings has been an "anti-terrorist" design. Since the bombing of Flight 103, we have been advised that federal buildings are potential targets of such bombings. The Government Accounting Office (GOA), in May 1994, recommended the removal of the day care center from the Murrah building. As we learned from Waco, keeping your children in a location that has danger associated with it leaves the responsibility on the parent, not the aggressor. In fact, I never knew that there were day care centers in federal buildings. I would have supposed, prior to April 19, that the government had enough concern for the children to locate this type of facility in leased space away from what was known to be a potential target.
The determination of what constitutes an act of terrorism has to he with each of us, individually. It cannot be left to a government that controls the weapons of war, the streets and the language to make that determination for us, for, if we are to allow this to happen, the stigma that will be placed on any act, whether it be killing four BATF agents assaulting a church in Texas, or a U. S. Marshall who has just been involved in the killing of a dog, and the murder of a fourteen year old boy, or bombing a federal building where people who choose to be "employees" of the government that has run amuck, there will never be a favorable light put on our actions, unless, and until, we prevail. This leaves us, then, with the question --
Was this an Act of Terrorism? or, an Act of War?
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