The Oklahoma City Bombing

Question

I need an original research paper on the Oklahoma City Bombing. It is a paper for my history class. It must be 8 pages, excluding the title and reference pages. It must be in APA format with a header and page numbers and running head. The topic is the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 17, 1995. It is historically important because this bombing is considered one of the worst terrorist attacks on the US until the World Trade Center attack on9/11/01. Not only was it an attack on Americans, but it was an attack on American soil by Americans. It was triggered by WACO. All these points should be placed in the paper. The paper should also be easy to read. The purpose of this research paper is to identify and analyze an historical event. The paper should include: 1)identify and describe the historical event 2)analyze the historical and contemporary causes of the event. 3)analyze different historical interpretations of the event 4)evaluate later consequences of the event. The reference page must be an annotated bibliography. It must have at least 10 references. Six of the references on the annotated bibliography must be scholarly, academic references. Please let me know if you have questions.

Answer

Student’s name: Katrina Toussas

Class name:

Date assignment is due:

Contents

The American government blames the destruction of the federal building on detonation of an ANFO (ammonium nitrate fuel oil) bomb that resulted in progressive structural collapse of the structure. The truck at the back of which the bomb had been packed had been rented and packed in the front of the federal building by Timothy McVeigh. 2

Investigations and historical interpretations of the Oklahoma Bombing. 3

Historical and contemporary causes of the Oklahoma Federal building bombing. 5

An evaluation of later consequences of the Oklahoma bombing. 8

Legislative consequences. 8

Economic consequences. 10

References. 10

The Oklahoma City Bombing, which according to the U.S. Department of Justice left 168 people dead on Wednesday morning in April 1995, is an unfortunate incident that many Americans wish never happened. It was a case of local terrorism on American soil at its best. The target of the attack was Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The most incomprehensible fact that historians have accurately documented is that the bombing happened in the American heartland, the victims were American people and that fellow Americans were responsible for this heinous act.

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            In light of these facts, historians were left grappling with the question of whether it is the nature of Americans to be inherently violent. In an instant, Americans found themselves grieving, healing and memorializing. Other than cultural criticism, the bombing addressed the national psyche in a manner that sheds a psychological insight into issues of public safety and national security.

        The American government blames the destruction of the federal building on detonation of an ANFO (ammonium nitrate fuel oil) bomb that resulted in progressive structural collapse of the structure. The truck at the back of which the bomb had been packed had been rented and packed in the front of the federal building by Timothy McVeigh.

Investigations and historical interpretations of the Oklahoma Bombing

In terms of ideological interpretations, a right-wing militia movement, the Davidians is blamed on the attack. The movement has links to Christianity and has all characteristics of a sect. its historical background goes back to 1930 when a reform movement grew from within the Seventh Day Adventist. The members of this movement referred to themselves as Davidian Seventh-day Adventists. Divisions within the movement led to the formation of Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (The Branch) in 1955 (Newport, 2006:28). Members of The Branch located their place of worship at a hilltop that is a few miles to the west of Waco. They renamed this hill Mt. Carmel, after a mountain that is in Israel.

Other observers see many parallels between the bombing of this building and the September 11th, 2001 attack. First, the report prepared after each attack indicated that outsiders were responsible for the damage. Secondly, the same engineers prepared reports and handed them to the federal government. Thirdly, these reports were in support of the explanations that the government had given soon after each attack.

            Another important parallel between these two bombings is that progressive collapse, a rare phenomenon, was the main source of explanations into the reason why the final damage was disproportionately severe. Some months after this attack, explosive experts from the US Air Force based at Eglin Air Force Base conducted a litmus test on the official explanation by doing a study on a three-story building that was structurally identical to Murrah Building. The EBES (Eglin Blast Effects Study) report that came out of this test indicated that it was not possible for the explosive force of a bomb of ANFOvariety to cause the destruction pattern that Murrah Building suffered.

Representative Charles Key chaired the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation that looked into the mystery behind this bombing. In a report released to the media by Representative Key, it was clear that the majority of Americans had expressed a feeling of distrust against the government, and even against the government’s investigation the more. Key was chosen to head this investigation for many reasons, most important among them that he was an eyewitness who even suffered the loss of his first secretary in the incident. Among the tasks assigned to Key was to spend as much time as possible holding meetings with and listening to all constituents who had lost their loved ones in the blast.

Loss of trust in the federal administration resulted from the manner in which the federal investigators interfered with Key’s investigations, mainly through pressure tactics. The same tactics were being employed by establishment media. The administration was trying to sweep Key’s cover-up theory under the carpet, but it was unsuccessful. He went on to participate in different talk shows on those radios and televisions (most of the then small and alternative media) that were still giving the unfolding story an objective angle in terms of both reporting and analysis. Supporters of his theories also posted information on the internet and the majority of Americans stayed tuned.

Oklahoma Judge Owens turned down a request to have the county grand jury impaneled. The judge even declared null and void a state constitutional provision that was clear. Oklahoma newspapers were also ganging up against him, trashing him with headlines that were clearly subjective and provoking. When Key went to court to demand that the manner in which the federal government was handling the Oklahoma City bombing be investigated, the court of appeal ruled against him.

Historical and contemporary causes of the Oklahoma Federal Building bombing

            The attackers wanted this bombing to coincide with WACO siege. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) had raided and burnt down WACO exactly one year earlier. Timothy Mc Veigh, the mastermind of the attack who was convicted for the offense in 1997 was a sympathizer of a WACO-based militia movement known as Branch Davidians.

            The militia movement of the 1990s has been strongly linked with this bombing through evidence presented in court. This supremacist movement was comprised of right-wing hardliners who engaged in controversial standoffs emanating from their opposition to left-wingers. They accuse left-wingers of being tyrants who are out to pave way for a phenomenon that they refer to as the New World Order, which they are opposed to. The ideology upon which this movement is based leads some of its adherents to commit heinous acts of crime.

            People who conform to the right-wing ideologists of the militia movement consider Davidians as martyrs (Anthony and Robbins, 1997:272). This is why people like Mc Veigh and Terry Nichols were willing to avenge the deaths of Davidians on the anniversary of the Waco Siege.

            The main reason why Davidians were stockpiling weapons was that they David Koresh, the sect leader taught that the Unites States administration was anti-Davidians and therefore they had to defend themselves in every way possible. ATF started investigations after allegations that there was gunfire coming from Carmel compound. These investigations are the ones that culminated in the Waco raid on April 17th, 1995.

Two months before the Oklahoma Federal building bombing, the federal administration had information that white separatists were threatening to engage in bombings, mass shootings, and assassinations. This is according to a newspaper article written by John Solomon, an Associated Press writer on Wednesday 12 February 1995. According to this article, the FBI had already interviewed a witness who was familiar with plans relating to an attack on Alfred P. Murray building. Indications in the article were that other agents had already their hands on a book that was in support of a terrorist attack on the Oklahoma federal building.

            The U.S government was already in possession of all appropriate intelligence before this bomb was detonated but failed to give warning to managers of the federal building. Similar miscommunications and intelligence failures were blamed for the September 11, 2001, attacks. According to the documents that contained the intelligence, supremacists who were living nearby were contemplating attacking government buildings in the state.

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It worth noting that the pattern in which the Oklahoma bombing was executed is very similar to the one that was followed by the bombers of the World Trade Center two years earlier. In both cases, explosives had been loaded into a rental truck. The detonations used were identical and in both cases, the truck had been driven towards the target.

            Circumstantial yet serious evidence has been used to link the bombing to Middle Eastern Connections. It was established that Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind and convict of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing had been staying in Cebu City, Philipines. In addition, his phone records showed that in the previous three months, he had been communicating with in-laws of Terry Nichols who live in Queens. Terry Nichols was one of the two prime suspects of the bombing who had been arrested only two days after the attack, and who was eventually convicted of the terrorist attack.

            Americans were concerned that an Islamic terrorist movement could have had a hand in this attack. Terry Nichols, a local television reporter, took the initiative of doing extensive research on the events leading to this attack. She found out that Mc Veigh, the prime suspect and later suspect, had been seen with a foreign-looking person only a few days before the attack. The FBI did investigate about the existence of this man, John Doe Two for two months. However, its own officers lost interest in these investigations during the third month.

Analysts say that the hasty execution of Timothy McVeigh in 2001, six years shy of the typical stay for death row convicts, which is usually 10 years, could have shed more light on the truth. Perhaps the John Doe Two mystery could have been resolved. These words ring true considering that FBI investigators had even failed to uncover a second stash of deadly explosives that lay in his home for 10 years since the Oklahoma Bombing.

           An evaluation of later consequences of the Oklahoma bombing

Legislative consequences

The Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 bill were passed in order to address acts of terrorism. The World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was the source of the initial impetus for the passing of the bill. The Oklahoma federal building bombing two years later gave this bill bipartisan support (Ackerman, 2004: 20).

            Civil liberties groups and gun rights organizations were opposed to the passing of this bill. In what was popularly known as an “unusual coalition”, civil liberties organizations teamed up with gun rights groups to hold up the passing of the bill by Senate in June 1995 (Linenthal, 2003:6). The Libertarian movement formed was unable to prevent the bill that had been introduced on the floor of the Senate by Joe Biden, a Democratic Party senator from Delaware, from being made into law.

Members of the libertarian movement say that the new law infringes on the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. They are also concerned that presidential powers were expanded in that he can label any organization “terrorist” without any provision for federal appeal. During the Bush administration, the dangers of allowing the president to have such powers became apparent. The civil liberty activists were proved right when President George Bush plunged the country into an unnecessary mess with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The invasion was part of the ongoing efforts by his administration to weed out Al Qaeda terrorist threats. Iraq was accused of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and giving them to Al Qaeda terrorists who were threatening to attack America.

The bill also seems to be criminalizing lawful activities. Permanent resident aliens risk being deported for their political activity or affiliation without any judicial review being carried out.

In other words, activists are concerned that during times of fear and tragedy, some people are often targeted for harassment based on their political views, race, speech, national origin and religion. A good example is the Palmer Raids of 1920, where thousands of people were arrested and jailed improperly in response to the frightening bombings. Another example is during the world war, in which case Japanese-American citizens were incarcerated. The list goes on to the time of soviet threats and the Vietnam War.

The counter-terrorism bill concentrates many powers on the police to an extent that makes the police look like the local version of National Security council. More importantly, activists have always objected to the provision that authorizes secret trials involving immigrants and citizens accusing of offering support to local or international organizations that the president has declared to be of terrorist nature. The accusations may be leveled by informers who can choose to retain their anonymity.

Economic consequences

After this bombing, many Americans started feeling that they are not safe in their own country. The country suffered untold national conscience setback owing to the fact that this act of terror was a domestic affair. It is not wonder that the federal administration was not willing to conduct further investigations since they would only expose the country’s ugly side of its religious history and supremacist extremism.

References

Linenthal E. (2003) The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City In American Memory Oxford: Oxford University Press

This book delves into the historical events that resulted in the Oklahoma federal building bombing. Linenthal explores the conscience of the American people and the implications of the bombing.

Anthony, D. and T. Robbins (1997). Religious totalism, exemplary dualism and the Waco tragedy. Public policy Journal (23) p. 261–284.

The book explores at the various lines of thoughts that motivate people to get into religious totalism. It is ideal for a historian with an appetite for the religious motivations of extremism in the contemporary world.

Bromley D. J. Melton (Eds) (2002) Cults, Religion, And Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This book is a collection of journal articles that delves deep into religious issues and how they relate to violence, cults, and extremism. It is as important to religious studies students as it is to history majors.

Newport, K. (2006) The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect. New York: Oxford University Press.

This book offers what many scholars would say is the best description of the person of David Koresh. Newport explains the bible according to the perspective of Seventh-Day Adventists.

Responding to Terrorism Victims: Oklahoma City and Beyond: Chapter II: The Immediate Crisis Response”. U.S. Department of Justice. October 2000.

This is the best account of the events that led to, occurred during and after the bombing of Oklahoma federal building. It is an official account of what terrorism did and how they responded to fear, anxiety, deaths, injuries, and devastation caused by the attack.

Dyer, J. (1998) Harvest Of Rage: Why Oklahoma City Is Only the Beginning. Boulder: Westview Press.

This book outlines the reasons why similar terrorist attacks are likely to occur in the future.

Tenzer, C and M. Lewis (1999)The Heroic Response to Terror: The Case of Oklahoma City.Public Personnel Management 28 (1) p. 4-5

This journal article highlights the flashes of brilliance that were shown by various teams that worked in a coordinated fashion in order to save lives, pull bodies out of the rubble and offer moral support to the injured, victims and their relatives.

Silke, A. (2003) Terrorists, Victims, and Society: Psychological Perspectives on Terrorism and Its Consequences. Chichester: Wiley

Silke provides an excellent reference point for historians with an interest on consequences of terrorism.

Ackerman, B. (2004) The Emergency Constitution, Yale Law Journal 113(4) p. 2-3.

This journal article highlights issues of laws formulated in times of emergency and crises and their effects on civil liberties.

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