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Waco: The Rules of Engagement

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NR,2hrs 45min
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Released:
June 13, 1997
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New Yorker Video
Synopsis
Director William Gazecki's documentary on 1994's 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX, which ended with the destruction of the compound by fire and the death of 70 members inside, is a strong and compelling piece of journalism that raises reasonable and troubling questions about how the FBI and the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) handled the matter. The film gives a brief history of the Branch Davidian sect and biographical data on David Koresh, their leader at the time of the debacle, before laying the groundwork of the events that led up to the Waco standoff and the FBI's eventual attack on their compound. While the film presents both sides of the issue, Gazecki makes clear that the FBI's own evidence can be used against them as often as for them, and asks why so much key evidence that could have determined what exactly happened (for example, whether the shots that killed many of the Davidians were fired from within the building or from outside) was either destroyed or simply lost. Neither an attack on Koresh and his followers as armed lunatics nor a conspiracy theorist's mass of wild conjecture, Waco: The Rules of Engagement carefully and meticulously presents facts that escaped most mainstream reports on the Branch Davidians, making the case that the FBI's conduct was at best ill-considered and at worst a reckless violation of the rights and safety of the people involved. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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