Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Rant of the Day, April 19, 2005 This Day in History I distinctly remember the moment when I heard the news that a bomb had exploded in Oklahoma City. I was sitting on a folding chair in my hex-tent at the Combined Arms Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels, Germany, with a map on my lap. I was platoon leader of the 3ID battlefield deception platoon and I was having a planning meeting with my senior NCOs. My platoon sergeant, my electronic team chief, my sonic team chief, my physical deception NCO, my engineer NCO, my driver and I were all crammed in that tiny tent, sitting on cots and field chairs. It was about 20:00 in Germany and the weather was cold and snowing hard outside. We were huddled around a glowing Yukon stove, trying to dry off while we read a battalion OPORD, with our K-pots, weapons and battle-rattle piled on the ground near our muddy boots. We had remoted my vehicle radios into the tent so we could monitor traffic on the battalion command frequency and the battalion O&I net. I had a short wave radio tuned to the BBC sitting on my cot, and my driver - a young SPC we all called “Shipwreck” in a play on his surname - was listening to the news while we extracted our specified and implied tasks from the OPORD. “Holy fuck!” Shipwreck suddenly exclaimed, interrupting our OPORD discussions. “Listen to this shit!” Shipwreck cranked up the volume on the short wave. Shipwreck was from a small town in Oklahoma. We heard a BBC news-reader announce that a massive bomb had exploded in Oklahoma City and there were an unspecified number of casualties. Shortly afterwards, we heard another BBC reporter tell us that he was speaking to a police spokesman in Oklahoma City, and this is how I recall that radio interview: “Can you tell us about casualties?” the BBC reporter asked. “We’ve got 165 dead,” the police spokesman said, in a deadpan Southern drawl. “One hundred and sixty-five?” the BBC reporter asked incredulously. “One hundred and sixty-five?!?” For some reason, I instinctively scribbled that number in the margins of my green field notebook as I dropped my map. My platoon sergeant stood and slapped his rolled copy of the OPORD against his thigh. Shipwreck simply stared at the short wave receiver, slack-jawed. My engineer NCO, always a practical and present-minded man, reached over and turned off the tactical radio remotes so we could focus our attention on something more important than a field training OPORD. The Oklahoma City bombing isn’t ancient history. Timothy McVeigh, the hate-filled and hateful young man raised on pop-garbage like “Red Dawn” and racist propaganda like “The Turner Diaries” who committed the right-wing terrorist atrocity in Oklahoma City died at the executioner’s hand without repentance or remorse. His execution was expedited, according to his own wishes, by Attorney General John Ashcroft. McVeigh croaked in a painless, sterile environment without revealing the identities of his co-conspirators. This week, we saw another right-wing domestic terrorist issue a defiant, unrepentant manifesto at his sentencing hearing. Eric Robert Rudolph copped a plea on charges he committed four terrorist attacks against America that killed two people and wounded 110 others. In exchange for a guilty plea, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias obtained information about 240 pounds of dynamite Rudolph had concealed in the Carolina woods that was so weathered and chemically unstable after five years in the elements, that ATF agents blew it in place rather than risk moving it to a safe blasting range. Given my experience dealing with explosives, I'd say a hungry rat would have set off a detonation. If any of Rudolph’s fellow pro-life terrorists had attempted to access his dynamite stash, they would have been blown to bits. Most likely, U.S. Attorney Nahmias knew nothing about the stability of Rudolph’s dynamite cache. But in exchange for a plea bargain, Nahmias obtained nothing else. No names of co-conspirators, no names of those who supported Rudolph as he remained a fugitive for five years, no nothing. Instead, Nahmias gave Rudolph a platform to proclaim his pro-terror manifesto and deprived America of the opportunity to get a gander at the domestic terrorist connections of the Republican Party. If you’re not reading David Neiwert's intelligence reports, you’re not paying attention to the domestic terrorist threat. We must also remember the true American patriots who defended Bunker Hill on the morning of April 19, 1775. Unless my research is wrong, no active US Army, Guard or Reserve unit carries a Bunker Hill battle streamer. Although their soldiers were brave and their officers bold, the British Army never issued regimental battle honors for Bunker Hill or any other Revoluntary War campaign. YD


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