Principalities & Powers

Enemies of the State

The Great Republican Revolution took a brief trip to the benches last summer when committees in both House and Senate paused in their deliberations to burrow into the federal atrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge. The resulting hearings were by no means as much fun as the O.J. Simpson trial, and the House investigation of the Waco massacre in particular was fatally marred by the partisanism that the Republicans who ran it seem incapable of disguising.

Yet the Stupid Party was not unique in its zeal to score political points in the scrutiny of the mass murder of the Branch Davidians in 1993 and the slightly more selective slaughter visited upon the family of Randy Weaver a few months before. Perhaps the lowest point in the Weaver hearings was plumbed when California's Diane Feinstein quizzed Mr. Weaver as to whether he had any swastikas or Nazi armbands in his possession. The clear intent of her question was to suggest that if one does possess such paraphernalia, then it's all right for the FBI to shoot one's wife and son. Mr. Weaver responded by asking if he could go to the bathroom, and who can blame him? The crudity of the question and its purpose ought to make all citizens nauseous.

The hearings on Waco were remarkable chiefly because of their failure even to ask, let alone try to answer, some of the central questions that the ATF's original "dynamic entry" raised, while in the investigation of...

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