On April 19, 1993, the U.S. government used chemical weapons on its own people — but no foreign nations retaliated against America.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the final assault of the FBI upon the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 75 members of the religious group. Because the compound caught fire (shown), much has been written and argued regarding whether the fires were started by actions of the FBI, or if the Branch Davidians themselves set the fires.
While there may never be agreement on that issue, what is an accepted fact is that the U.S. government used CS gas on its own citizens, and citizens of other countries inside the compound. CS gas is the common name for 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, a white powder. More than 100 nations have banned the use of CS gas during wartime.
But none of these nations launched bombing raids upon the United States after the Clinton administration used chemical weapons on its own people. Yet, the Trump administration, in conjunction with the British and the French, bombed Syria, arguing that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on its own people in the Syrian civil war. The book No More Wacos notes that when CS gas is used with CO2 as a propellant and exposed to heat, it gives off deadly hydrogen cyanide, the same poison used by the Nazi death camps when they administered Zyklon B gas to murder Jews, gypsies, political prisoners, and others the Hitler regime considered deplorables (to use Hillary Clinton’s word).
It is not even certain that the admittedly brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against its own citizens. Robert Fisk reported in the U.K.’s The Independent that he interviewed a Syrian doctor who told him that there was no gas attack. Dr. Assim Rahaibani stated, “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred meters from here on the night, but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night — but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basement and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet,” [medical first responders] shouted, ‘Gas!,’ and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia — not gas poisoning.”
In stark contrast, there is no doubt that CS gas was used in Waco, and the FBI knew, or should have known, the dangers of its use. The manufacturers of CS gas warn against its use indoors because heavy exposures have caused death. If the purpose of putting gas into the buildings was to force the evacuation of the buildings, it was an ill-advised method. The section of the U.S. Army Field Manual on civil disturbances states that persons are generally “incapable of executing organized and concerted actions” while under its influence. The manual even asserts that “excessive exposure to CS may make them incapable of vacating the area.”
Worse, the FBI used flame-inducing gas grenades to insert CS into the compound. After six years of denials that it used pyrotechnic devices (which can precipitate fires) on the Davidian compound, the FBI reluctantly admitted in 1999 that such devices had been used.
In The Ashes of Waco, author Dick Reavis wrote, “Surviving residents say that in making their entries, the tanks [used by the FBI in the final assault] knocked over lanterns and cans of fuel [used by the Davidians after the FBI had their electricity cut off], and crushed pressurized tanks filled with liquefied propane gas, a volatile heating and cooking fuel.”
Respected British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote in his book The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, “Infants too young to use masks were subjected to six hours’ exposure to CS gas.” Many experts contend that some of the babies could have died from the gas alone, even without the fire.
While some today continue to argue that Branch Davidian leader David Koresh ordered the fires started and the government had nothing to do with the raging inferno that engulfed the compound at the conclusion of the 51-day siege (President Bill Clinton even callously remarked, “Some religious fanatics murdered themselves”), it is without doubt that the U.S. government used chemical weapons on its own people on this date 25 years ago.
Of course, no bomber planes from Great Britain retaliated against America, despite the deaths of several British citizens in the assault — British citizens who were members of the Branch Davidians. Most who died, however, were U.S. citizens, many just young children too young to know that they were being subjected to CS gas — by their own government.