Man Without Qualities

Monday, March 17, 2003

Yes, Ms. Reno, You Were Saying

Janet Reno now:

''We will not solve the world's problems by might.''

Janet Reno, Holy (Easter) Saturday, April 22, 2000:

"Unfortunately, the Miami relatives rejected our efforts -- leaving us no other option but the enforcement action. ... Every step of the way the Miami relatives kept moving the goal posts and raising more hurdles. ... After negotiating through the night, I informed the parties that time had run out. At that moment, I gave the go-ahead for the operation. ... Law enforcement personnel on the scene ... enter[ed] the Gonzalez home."

Janet Reno, August 1, 1995, Tuesday morning:

"Three days after the Waco standoff began, David Koresh promised the FBI that he and his followers would surrender immediately after a tape he had made was broadcast on the radio. .... He broke his word. He did not surrender. .... On March 19 and 20, Koresh said he would come out soon. He did not. In early April, he said he would come out after Passover. He did not. On April the 14th, he let his lawyers believe he needed only a few days to complete his manuscript on the seven seals, and he would then surrender. The FBI showed Koresh's April 14 letter to an expert at Syracuse University, who concluded it was another ploy, another delaying tactic. But the FBI kept negotiating. ... Even though Koresh broke every promise he made and even though he never gave the FBI any reason to believe he would surrender peacefully, the FBI kept negotiating, kept trying every way they knew how to talk Koresh into leaving, but he never gave them a specific date. ... Day after day, FBI negotiators tried to arrange a surrender. ... Clearly, a dangerous situation was becoming more dangerous... The April 19 operation began to clear announcements of our intentions, repeated time and time again, aimed at giving the Branch Davidians opportunities to leave safely. The Davidians responded with heavy gunfire from the tower and other parts of the compound. Yes, we had hoped the Davidians might not react violently if we used gas in a slow, incremental manner, but those hopes were dashed by the Davidians and their guns. Our response was measured. We inserted gas, then waited, then inserted more gas. We were very careful never to insert more gas than a fraction of the safe limit. Six hours went by, six hours, and still no one came out. The rest you know. ... We will never know whether there was a better solution."

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