Friday, December 31, 2004

Why Don't They Love Us?!

The Repugs who have sent our soldiers to die and bring "democracy" to Iraq just can't understand why said Iraqis keep blowing our soldiers and anyone they can identify as a collaborator up. Damn it, shouldn't they be grateful?! Well, occupied people never are (would you be?), and a brief example from history will serve very nicely to illustrate the point.

One fine day in September, AD 9, a Roman collaborator named Arminius - his Latin name, we don't know his real name although German authors (possibly Martin Luther first) have re-teutonized it to "Hermann" - had had enough. His years of service in auxiliary units of the Roman military were about to serve him very well as he and the Germans under his command watched and waited, somewhere in the dark Teutoberg Forest.

Clearly, someone - maybe Arminius himself - had suggested a marching route to the Roman commander, Publius Quinctilius Varus, because on that day, Varus marched straight into the trap Arminius had carefully laid.

By the end of the day, three Roman legions, the XVII, XVIII, and XIX, had been slaughtered, along with their auxiliaries, support units, and camp followers, down to the last man, over 18,000 dead. It is said that for months afterwards the Emperor Augustus wandered his palace in despair, not bathing, nor cutting his hair or beard, and screaming Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions! His despair was understandable. In one autumn afternoon, one quarter of the Roman army, three crack legions, was destroyed.

The Germans didn't like the Romans. India hated the British. The Vietnamese slaughtered the French with abandon. And we expect Iraq to greet us as liberators? I think not. There is much to be learned from history, and one thing is clear: empires are hated.

And they fall.


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