Monday, April 24, 2006

David Neiwert's question

This past Thursday Dave Neiwert of Orcinus wrote:

Yesterday being the 11th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, I suppose I should just be grateful that, this year at least, we're not cursed with an Ann Coulter profile in Time.

Still, every year since 2002, this sad anniversary reminds me of a question I still haven't heard answered:

Why wasn't
April 19, 1995 the "day that changed everything"?

After some difficulty I left this comment:

Aside from the obvious answer of Clinton and Reno, I'm thinking that one of the reasons the right didn't try to make the government a police state in '95 was because at a certain level McVeigh, coming at it from the far right, represented a convergence with the far-left critique of state power that would have applied just as surely if it was George Sr's 2nd-term administration that had staked out and attacked the Davidians with tanks on 19 April 1993.

Pursuing the McVeighs in our midst-- and I agree with the previous commenters that they surely are more than a mere hundred-- means recognizing the distinction between radicals who are merely racists and worshippers of authority like the minutemen, and the other, more disquieting kind.

Republicans and their poodle press don't want that distinction to be made apparent to ordinary people.

I realize I'm leaving levels of nuance out of this argument-- one one hand the neocons want the radical right to seem normal and non-threatening to ordinary Americans, on the other hand they don't want people to see that a certain strain of conservatism is profoundly antithetical to their agenda.

I am by no means an advocate of McVeigh's methods, and I know nothing about his views on race, but we still haven't fully absorbed the lessons of "4-19."

from Wikipedia's entry on McVeigh:

In a book based on interviews before his execution, American Terrorist, McVeigh stated he decapitated an Iraqi soldier with cannon fire on his first day in the war, and celebrated. But he said he later was shocked to be ordered to execute surrendering prisoners, and to see carnage on the road leaving Kuwait City after U.S. troops routed the Iraqi army. In interviews following the Oklahoma city bombing, McVeigh said he began harboring anti-government feelings during the Gulf War. Some question the veracity of this claim in light of McVeigh's [failed] attempts to become a Green Beret after returning from Iraq.

(cross-posted at Arvin Hill.)