Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Almost a decade of lying desperately

Our new military governor of Afghanistan, General Julius Petraeus Maximus, says a brazen daylight attack on a NATO base means the Taliban are getting desperate. For some definition of "desperate" that includes controlling parts of the country that hold more than half of Afghanistan's population, I suppose. Just another day in the chronicles of desperation...

But never fear, General Julius Petraeus Maximus's legions will pacify Germanica any day, any day now, I say! And once they turn their eyes back homeward after their 20 year tour of duty is up, I'm sure they'll fit back into civil society just fine, yo...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


  1. So you noticed the Roman-sounding name too, eh? I used to think Petraeus would be the 2012 Rethug prezznitial candidate, when they go for full-on authoritarian fascism. That was before he had his fainting spell in front of the Senate. (And I think he had an earlier episode that was indicative of epilepsy.) So now I'm thinking it's going to be McChrystal-Palin, not PP. They'll be wanting a tall, sneering man to come in on a white tank to bust some heads by then.

  2. Re: the Teutoburg Forest link -- our Swiss banker (back when we had an account there) was Schweitzerdeutsche. He's one of the reasons I've slowly been reading "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" for the past two years. (You can't absorb the intricacies of Gibbons' sentences if you just dash through it!) Hermann the German was one of his heroes, and he'd talk about how he rode his bicycle from Zurich up to the battle site. (Fcuker was in his 50s, but he'd still hop on his bike to ride over the Alps and into Spain and Italy on holidays.) It was hearing about significant events of which I knew nothing, like this battle, that made me pick up the books.

  3. I have a photograph of Petraeus's buddy General Odierno back when Odierno was commander of the 4ID in charge of northern Iraq, must have been in roughly June or July of 2003 when we were still in the sullen silence stage of the occupation rather than the shooting stage. General Odierno was in a large conference room in Mosul holding court, sprawling in his chair, looking bored like a Roman viceroy receiving a delegation of powerless conquered people. Bowing obsequious Iraqi men in native garb (business suit with kafiya, and the occasional tribal type in full robes) came before him and swore an oath of fealty before the American flag (no Iraqi flag in sight) and were installed as city councilors to rule their respective neighborhoods, and I thought to myself, "this is much like when Roman legions swept into a territory and required the native leaders to swear an oath of loyalty to Rome under the banners of the legion which had conquered them."

    To those who know history, it was clear at that point that this was an imperial venture. Why were there no Iraqi flags in evidence at this swearing-in ceremony? Why were these men swearing an oath of fealty in front of a general, rather than a civilian? Those were not the actions of a liberator, but, rather, of a conqueror.

    And so it is.

    - Badtux the History Penguin

  4. Roman history also tells of the continual skirmishing and outright legion-destroying wars the Imperium had in that part of the world, particularly with the Persians. Commanders would also rebel against their Emperors and civil wars ensued.

    But events could take decades to unfold in those days when history was made at the pace of horses and sailing ships. And when a war/rebellion happened, there would be large-scale bloodletting, but the Earth would begin repairing itself as soon as the salty blood had been washed out of the soil and the burned plants regrew. Now the rebellions and conflicts will play out at electron speed, but the devastation will take geological time to undo.


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