McVeigh made the mistake of sinking to the same level of brutality. Violence only begets violence. -hedges- (AP) -- The June 1998 issue of Media Bypass Magazine includes this essay it says was written by Timothy McVeigh: The administration has said that Iraq has no right to stockpile chemical or biological weapons ("weapons of mass destruction") -- mainly because they have used them in the past. Well, if that's the standard by which these matters are decided, then the U.S. is the nation that set the precedent. The U.S. has stockpiled these same weapons (and more) for over 40 years. The U.S. claims that this was done for deterrent purposes during its "Cold War" with the Soviet Union. Why, then, is it invalid for Iraq to claim the same reason (deterrence) -- with respect to Iraq's (real) war with, and the continued threat of, its neighbor Iran? The administration claims that Iraq has used these weapons in the past. We've all seen the pictures that show a Kurdish woman and child frozen in death from the use of chemical weapons. But, have you ever seen these photos juxtaposed next to pictures from Hiroshima or Nagasaki? I suggest that one study the histories of World War I, World War II and other "regional conflicts" that the U.S. has been involved in to familiarize themselves with the use of "weapons of mass destruction." Remember Dresden? How about Hanoi? Tripoli? Baghdad? What about the big ones -- Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (At these two locations, the U.S. killed at least 150,000 non-combatants -- mostly women and children -- in the blink of an eye. Thousands more took hours, days, weeks, or months to die.) If Saddam is such a demon, and people are calling for war crimes charges against him and his nation, whey do we not hear the same cry for blood directed at those responsible for even greater amounts of "mass destruction" -- like those responsible and involved in dropping bombs on the cities mentioned above? The truth is, the U.S. has set the standard when it comes to the stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction. Hypocrisy when it comes to the death of children? In Oklahoma City, it was family convenience that explained the presence of a day-care center placed between street level and the law enforcement agencies which occupied the upper floors of the building. Yet when discussion shifts to Iraq, any day-care center in a government building instantly becomes "a shield." Think about that. (Actually, there is a difference here. The administration has admitted to knowledge of the presence of children in or near Iraqi government buildings, yet they still proceed with their plans to bomb -- saying that they cannot be held responsible if children die. There is no such proof, however, that knowledge of the presence of children existed in relation to the Oklahoma City bombing.) When considering morality and "mens rea" (criminal intent) in light of these facts, I ask: Who are the true barbarians? Yet another example of this nation's blatant hypocrisy is revealed by the polls which suggest that this nation is greatly in favor of bombing Iraq. In this instance, the people of the nation approve of bombing government employees because they are "guilty by association" -- they are Iraqi government employees. In regard to the bombing in Oklahoma City, however, such logic is condemned. What motivates these seemingly contradictory positions? Do people think that government workers in Iraq are any less human than those in Oklahoma City? Do they think that Iraqis don't have families who will grieve and mourn the loss of their loved ones? In this context, do people come to believe that the killing of foreigners is somehow different than the killing of Americans? I recently read of an arrest in New York City where possession of a mere pipe bomb was charged as possession of a "weapon of mass destruction." If a two-pound pipe bomb is a "weapon of mass destruction," then what do people think that a 2,000-pound steel-encased bomb is? I find it ironic, to say the least, that one of the aircraft that could be used to drop such a bomb on Iraq is dubbed "The Spirit of Oklahoma." This leads me to a final, and unspoken, moral hypocrisy regarding the use of weapons of mass destruction. When a U.S. plane or cruise missile is used to bring destruction to a foreign people, this nation rewards the bombers with applause and praise. What a convenient way to absolve these killers of any responsibility for the destruction they leave in their wake. Unfortunately, the morality of killing is not so superficial. The truth is, the use of a truck, a plane, or a missile for the delivery of a weapon of mass destruction does not alter the nature of the act itself. These are weapons of mass destruction -- and the method of delivery matters little to those on the receiving end of such weapons. Whether you wish to admit it or not, when you approve, morally, of the bombing of foreign targets by the U.S. military, you are approving of acts morally equivalent to the bombing in Oklahoma City. The only difference is that this nation is not going to see any foreign casualties appear on the cover of Newsweek magazine. It seems ironic and hypocritical that an act as viciously condemned in Oklahoma City is now a "justified" response to a problem in a foreign land. Then again, the history of United States policy over the last century, when examined fully, tends to exemplify hypocrisy. When considering the use of weapons of mass destruction against Iraq as a means to an end, it would be wise to reflect on the words of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. His words are as true in the context of Olmstead as they are when they stand alone: "Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example." Sincerely, Timothy J. McVeigh ----- INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Timothy McVeigh, in a 1,200-word essay written on death row, says the Oklahoma City bombing was ``morally equivalent'' to U.S. military actions against foreign governments. In a copyright essay in the June issue of the alternative magazine Media Bypass, McVeigh condemns U.S. foreign policy as hypocritical, especially toward Iraq, and says the United States has ``set the standard when it comes to the stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction.'' ``Whether you wish to admit it or not, when you approve, morally, of the bombing of foreign targets by the U.S. military, you are approving of acts morally equivalent to the bombing in Oklahoma City,'' McVeigh wrote. ``The only difference is that this nation is not going to see any foreign casualties appear on the cover of Newsweek magazine.'' McVeigh criticized the U.S. government for referring to any day care center in an Iraqi government building as ``a shield'' while saying a day care center was in the Murrah Federal Building for ``family convenience.'' ``Think about it,'' McVeigh wrote. ``Actually, there is a difference here,'' he said in a parenthetical aside. ``The administration has admitted to knowledge of the presence of children in or near Iraqi government buildings, yet they still proceed with their plans to bomb -- saying they cannot be held responsible if children die. There is no such proof, however, that knowledge of the presence of children existed in relation to the Oklahoma City bombing.'' He then asks: ``Who are the true barbarians?'' McVeigh has been sentenced to death for building and setting off the April 19, 1995, bomb that killed 168 people, including 19 children who were in the federal building's day care center. Rob Nigh, McVeigh's attorney in Tulsa, Okla., said he could not confirm that McVeigh wrote the essay, citing attorney-client privilege. But Luis Winn, executive assistant to the warden, said McVeigh was shown a faxed copy of the article Thursday and told him he wrote it. Rich Azar of Media Bypass said the handwritten essay, dated March 1998, arrived unsolicited with markings from the maximum security federal prison in Florence, Colo., where McVeigh is on death row. ``It came as a jolt out of the blue,'' Azar said Thursday. Azar said the magazine confirmed the essay's authenticity by mail with McVeigh, and by comparing it with a known sample of McVeigh's handwriting from U.S. military records the magazine obtained during a 1996 interview with McVeigh. In a preface, McVeigh explains why he chose the magazine: ``... Frankly, I realize that it is quite provocative -- and I doubt that any mainstream media would touch it.'' He adds that it was not written with ``malevolent intent.'' Media Bypass, a magazine with ties to right-wing militias, gained national attention when it published an interview with a grand juror in the bombing case. The juror, Hoppy Heidelberg, criticized prosecutors for failing to present evidence of a larger conspiracy. He was later dismissed. His interview led defense attorneys to file for a mistrial, which was denied.
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