Sunday, March 27, 2005

When in Rome


Appian's Libyca: "The Destruction of Carthage"
Then came new scenes of horror. The fire spread and carried everything down, and the soldiers did not wait to destroy the buildings little by little, but pulled them all down together. So the crashing grew louder, and many fell with the stones into the midst of the dead. Others were seen still living, especially old men, women and young children who had hidden in the inmost nooks of the houses, some of them wounded, some more or less burned, and uttering horrible cries. Stll others, thrust out and falling from such a height with the stones, timbers, and fire, were torn asunder into all kinds of horrible shapes, crushed and mangled.


...there is no Fallujah...
Cole: Readers often write in for an update on Fallujah. I am sorry to say that there is no Fallujah to update. The city appears to be in ruins and perhaps uninhabitable in the near future. Of 300,000 residents, only about 9,000 seem to have returned, and apparently some of those are living in tents above the ruins of their homes. The rest of the Fallujans are scattered in refugee camps of hastily erected tents at several sites, including one near Habbaniyyah, or are staying with relatives in other cities, including Baghdad.

I could care less about hoary comparisons of the United States to Rome. At the same time one shouldn't overlook obvious parallels. The Roman military would often flatten cities as a warning to surrounding cities. Be good, or we'll flay your children and salt the ground. That kind of thing.

It is an assertion of manifest reality. If I have an apple, I can eat it. If I have a tank, I can blow you up.

If it can happen to an Iraqi, it can happen to any of us.


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