LETTER:Oklahoma: anti-heroes and racist reporting

Sir: Your claim that Timothy McVeigh is "the most hated man in America" is without foundation (" 'I'm a prisoner of war' says McVeigh", 26 April). On the contrary, for many, McVeigh is on the way to becoming an American anti-hero of the Taxi Driver, Rambo or Natural Born Killers archetypes. McVeigh, to the embarrassment of the media, does not fit the demonising rhetoric of "evil force" "the loner", or "the outsider". McVeigh is very much an "insider", nurtured by home-grown conservative traditional values.

Indeed, McVeigh and the Michigan Militia view the Clinton regime as "the enemy within" - seeing a centralised government taking away individual liberty and rights. Why should the Oklahoma bombing be seen as more "outrageous" than Desert Storm?

We must not forget that McVeigh was trained as a killing machine for the Gulf war; he is now at war with the American government and claims to be "a prisoner of war". The McVeigh saga points to a legitimation crisis in the redundant rhetoric of "liberty", "freedom" and "rights" that historically have fostered a genocidal political ethos.

Yours faithfully,


London N5

26 April