Monday, April 19, 2010

MSNBC: "The McVeigh Tapes"

The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Monday April 19 (15 years to the day of the Oklahoma City tragedy) presented the MSNBC documentary film, “The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist”.

MSNBC compiled the film from 45 hours of interview tapes made by author Lou Michel.

Through the interviews, the film recreates his life, his disenchantment, and the evolution of his sociopathy, after a career in the Army broke down after the Gulf War.  He became directionless and then angry and looking for enemies, which would turn out to be the government.  “Here is one kid who decided he could play god.” Later there is a particularly notorious line from an arrogant McVeigh, “get used to it.”

McVeigh seemed to have contempt for people who depended on government without recognizing it; of course, the right wing is always saying that people should depend on their own families, not government. He was said to have no compassion, but that's an odd characterizion given that he had committed the crime. His attitude toward "civilians" sounds like that of Nazi Germany when it invaded other countries. The early part of the documentary says that McVeigh was bullied as a youngster, but early on found meaning in the regimentation of Army life.  McVeigh saw himself as a soldier, and as a one-man Army cleansing the world of dependency and "evil"; but the "logic" of some of his statements (as about "collateral damage") quickly becomes self-contradictory.  (Note: The US Army has used "Army of one" as a recruiting phrase and the term is actually trademarked.)

His image was recreated with actors and cgi programming, but the voice, which sounds a bit shrill, is his.

McVeigh paid the supreme penalty at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana on June 11, 2001, three months to the day before 9/11.

The documentary explains his quick apprehension, partly by luck with a particular state trooper, and by an incredibly easy trail to find that he had left behind in Kansas. (For only a few hours the media thought that the attack had been perpetrated from the Middle East, which 9/11 would be.)  His co-conspirator Nichols, now serving life terms, had “more to lose” because he had a family and tried to drop out.

The film does not cover lawyer Steven Jones, a “good Republican” from Enid OK who defended him.

Still pictures: Oklahoma City memorial, 2006; Herrington, KS, 2006, both taken on a personal trip.

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