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Talk:Branch Davidians

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 Definition Religious sect led by David Koresh in Waco, Texas; raided in 1993 by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). [d] [e]

In the interests of neutrality, I must admit that so far I have leaned heavily on the anti-government point of view. To balance this criticism, don't we need to say more about the pro-government viewpoint? The last thing I want is an unbalanced, biased article.

On the other hand, if this issue is "too controversial" for a new writer such as me to attempt, warn me off. (LOL, don't send constables with warrants after me: I'll go quietly. ;-) --Ed Poor 18:06, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

New writer :-) That's funny! No, you're doing fine Ed. The important thing is that you recognize the bias and work toward correcting it. Of course, when someone asks you about it, be aware of behavior issues that can get you blocked so I won't have to shoot you ;-) D. Matt Innis 18:22, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I guess it would be "I won't have to pull out my billy club!" :-) D. Matt Innis 18:24, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
First, who is Paul Craig Roberts and why is he authoritative?
...the FBI chose to flood the Waco compound with CS tear gas despite the obvious dangers. CS is an extremely potent agent designed for riot control. One expert called it the last resort prior to opening fire. CS is not recommended for use by law enforcement when dealing with a barricade situation. CS grenades in particular are notorious for starting fires.
Speaking as a Military Editor quite familiar with o-chlorobenzylindenemalononitrile, there are errors here. CS is a fine powder, not actually a gas. There are several ways to dispense it, which are not always grenades. One grenade type does burn to disperse the powder, and can start fires. The more common modern type explodes rather than burns, which is tactically desirable because it can't be thrown back as can a burning grenade, which takes time to disperse. CS itself is not a huge fire hazard.
In any event, CS grenades were certainly not the primary way that CS was delivered at Waco, if they were used at all. The videos clearly show M729 Combat Engineering Vehicles breaking holes in the building walls, and inserting a spray CS dispenser. It's commonly used in barricade situations; the question here is whether a barricade assault was necessary.
In other words, your source seems both unfamiliar with CS in general and specifically how it was used in the raid. My personal opinion is that the raid itself was conducted poorly and was not needed. Nevertheless, the information about CS simply is wrong.
As to neutrality, a good start would be as factual a description as possible of the actual events, rather than hypotheses about motivations. I'd like to know more about the first source and its authority. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:36, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
This topic is primarily a test case for me, to see whether I can write neutrally on a topic which I have a strong opinion on. If so far you cannot detect which "side" I'm on, then I guess I'm doing okay.
If the CS source I cited misunderstood about the tear gas - or, worse, knew better but confused things on purpose to make their point - then maybe we better pick a better source. Maybe I can dig up the first person narrative of the ATF's inside man.
The story is more interesting for the motivations and intentions of people involved than any raw chronology of events. When I skimmed Wikipedia's version, I suddenly noticed that there was no motive given for the second, disastrous raid. The narrative switched from the mode of saying what the ATF was trying to accomplish and how, to "now we must get them out".
I am neither pro-cop or anti-cop. If I have any prejudice, it's more like, "Don't do anything without a good reason." So of course I'm always curious about reasons when it comes to any massive use of force on the part of my government. There's a darn good military drama which touches on some of these issues: Rules of Engagement. --Ed Poor 19:49, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
As reasons, let's distinguish between policy and bureaucratic infighting/momentum. I actually do not have strong opinions about the merits of the case with the Branch Davidians, but, from a tactical standpoint, the raid is a textbook example of how NOT to do one. While I can't come up with an immediate source, my recollection is that some Army Special Forces officers, in a purely advisory role just inside the Posse Comitatus Act, left in disgust.
I have to run on an errand, but, very briefly, the Army way would have been to helicopter-land an entry team on the roof in the wee hours before the dawn, make explosive entry, and then start clearing while a ground perimeter force moves in to contain. Tear gas is useful when you want the people to evacuate the facility, but flashbangs are more appropriate for entry. Tear gas may be used behind the entry teams to protect their rear. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:59, 28 January 2009 (UTC)