WACO: The Rules of Engagement (Review)

Allen Mowery
August 20, 2010

PREFACE: Over the last several years I have become a big fan of foreign films, documentaries…and Rita’s Italian Ice. This piece is not politically- or religiously-motivated but is meant to simply inform you of an amazing film project.

Anyone else ever get bored with TV? Recently I was trying to settle our son for bed, and while he’s adorable to look at and I could just stare at him for hours, I opted for channel surfing to entertain me while he finished his evening bottle. I abhor reality TV, dislike 95% of the shows that are on the air, and I don’t give a crap about home shopping channels…so I was pretty much crap out of luck. I began to wander into the higher numbers…you know, the ones above Comedy Central, and that’s when something caught my eye on the Documentary Channel – an intriguing little Academy-award-nominated piece called “Waco: The Rules of Engagement.”

Now, being your average American citizen, I am fascinated with the strange, bizarre, and oh-so-slightly-odd. Being me, I am fascinated by things like history, corrupt government, and especially lunatic cults. Put the two together, and you could entertain me for days with a no-frills piece like the one mentioned above.

Waco: The Rules of Engagement” is the film debut of director/writer/producer/cinematographer/all-around-nice-guy William Gazecki in which he takes on the side of the Branch Davidian conflict that was suppressed by the government and not reported by the mainstream media. With an amazing collection of footage from both the compound standoff and the congressional hearings, Gazecki does an amazing job at showing the facts. I knew right from the get-go that it was going to be an interesting watch, and I was not disappointed as I sat mesmerized, slowly sipping from a large glass of Kool-Aid.

Were the Branch Davidians a misdirected cult following their delusional messiah? Were they simply a legitimate Christian group practicing under their First Amendment rights? Were the sexual allegations against Koresh valid? Who actually set the fire to the Mount Carmel Center? I don’t really have a definitive answer for any of these questions, but after watching the documentary there are a few things of which I am certain:

  • The government did their best to hide as many details about the siege as possible.
  • It’s sickening how the Federal agents turned the fiasco into a sport, including the excessive gassing of the members inside the compound – very Auschwitz-esque.
  • William Gazecki and the producers of “Waco: The Rules of Engagement” did a phenomenal job and were very deserving of the Academy nomination they received for their efforts.

So, whenever you get a chance, take a good two hours and check out this amazing piece.

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