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Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Gaul of It

It’s hard to imagine that a regular contributor to the US capital’s leading newspaper can have the Gaul to begin an article by so blithely quoting the opening line of Caesar’s Commentarii de bello gallico -- bane to every beginning Latin student -- to draw a parallel between Caesar’s Gallic Wars and the US’s present situation in Iraq. It’s not that the comparison is inapt – in many ways it is very good – but the sheer, blatant imperial, nature of the comparison without even a trace of blush is what is so astounding. Undoubtedly Krauthammer's subtext is right. In order to have a chance at subduing Iraq and the Middle East, the current major impediments to continued American domination of the globe, we Americans, like the Romans of old, must prepare ourselves for a nine-year stint of merciless killing, betrayals, side-switching, one sect at a time. Most modern-day estimates put the number of dead due to the Gallic Wars at 1,000,000, with another 1,000,000 enslaved, with several hundred cities destroyed including the entire population and city of Avaricum (modern Bourges). All that seems just fine to arm-chair general Krauthammer -- Tantae molis est Americanam condere gentem.

On the other hand, the comparison seems out of touch. Can we realistically expect the Middle East ever to roll over, admit western control and become the quiet allies of America like Gaul did with the Romans? With the new deadly technologies available to insurgents and a track record of successful guerilla warfare, can a military power ever again think it can subdue a nation without utterly destroying it first? I hardly think so.

I’m also sure Krauthammer hasn’t forgotten that the author of this propaganda-laden, third-person, political tract of war (albeit with beautiful, lucid, and simple prose) shortly thereafter did away with the Roman Republic, because the Senate was an impediment and nuisance to the extra-constitutional powers necessary for keeping his political ass alive and expanding the Empire.


At 12:16 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Chuck sure does seem unhinged these days. Not just imperialist but gleefully authoritarian.

I miss his columns.


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