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Dirty for Dirty

"Nothing is easier than to blame the dead."
-Julius Caesar American

In the 1944 movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Spencer Tracy, playing Col. Jimmy Doolittle, briefs his flyers before they take off to bomb their Japanese targets by telling them that they are almost certain to be killing civilians and that, if any of them have any moral problems with that, they can back out now. No one does, and the problem is never raised again.

It is not known if the late, unlamented Timothy J. McVeigh ever saw Dalton Trumbo's chest-thumping war movie that blatantly propagandizes on behalf of blowing the filthy little Japs to smithereens. His taste ran to rather more modern films, such as Star Trek and—his favorite—Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, but it is doubtful that he had am more problem with killing civilians than the American heroes of World War II did. According to American Terrorist, an exhaustive and not unsympathetic account of the life and thought of Timothy McVeigh by two Buffalo News reporters in whom he confided, McVeigh did have problems with the Gulf War, in which he served with distinction, and with his own killing of two Iraqi soldiers in the course of combat. McVeigh had doubts about the propriety of the Gulf War from the beginning, but he was also a professional soldier (a "warrior," in his view)...

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