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The Wages of Permanent War

"A long war almost always places nations in this sad alternative — that their defeat delivers them to destruction and their triumph to despotism," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville. The neoconservatives in charge of the Bush administration’s foreign policy envision a prolonged war, against an ever-expanding roster of targets, which may last for decades — thereby placing America squarely in the predicament sagely described by Toqueville.

Writing in the April issue of Ideas on Liberty, Professor Harold Jones of Mercer University points out that while Toqueville’s warning was inspired by Rome’s descent from republican liberty into the tyranny of empire, it also applies "to the dangers in Mr. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security." When Roman Emperor Diocletian assumed power in 285 A.D., he inherited an empire besieged from without and rotting from within. The much-vaunted Roman military was a shell of its former self; Rome was riddled with moral corruption, plagued by civic unrest, and tottered on fiscal collapse. Accordingly, Diocletian embarked on a "plan for homeland security [based on] systematic centralization," recalls Jones.

The empire was divided into a series of regional units, "each with its own civil and military rulers," Jones explains. "Every official received his appointment directly from the Emperor. A vast bureaucracy stretched out to choke anything around which it could get its tentacles." This meant, among other things, abolishing any remnant of local control and public accountability. Historian Will Durant pointed out that this was justified by invoking "the needs of actual or imminent war."

Heavy tax burdens suffocated Rome’s economic life, and a special force of "revenue police was organized to examine every citizen’s financial resources. Slaves, wives, and children were tortured in the attempt to determine every household’s finances." The imperial bureaucracy centralized control over all industries. Wages and price controls were imposed. Diocletian debased the currency, destroying Rome’s productive middle class. Rome’s agricultural economy was ruined, grass grew in its abandoned streets and roads, and its commercial life was destroyed. "The barbarians did not so much conquer Rome as take over a polity that had lost the will to live," concludes Jones.

Diocletian described his imperial regime as the "watchful parents of the whole human race"; President Bush and his neoconservative courtiers unabashedly seek "benevolent global hegemony." As historian Garet Garrett pointed out, there is no security "at the top of the world"; pursuing global hegemony is the road to national ruin. The best strategy for homeland security is to avoid foreign entanglements abroad and restore limited government at home.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2003/05-05-2003/insider/vo19no09_war.htm
 

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Your basic premise alone makes any conclusion based upon Rome inherently flawed.

Until you can establish the American people no longer have the ability to control thier own destiny locally the rest is just empty forcasts of gloom.

Neoconservatives can blah blah blah away about abortion, for example, but guess what happens if they actually pass a law illegalizing abortion?

The vast majority of non-voting, non-caring females and males will not only remove them from power (a democratic majority within 2 years in congress and a new president within 4 years - a complete regime change through peaceful means), their opponents will be able to demonize those neoconservatives to an extent that it would be reasonably forseeable that the GOP would have to change its name, symbols and active roster of potential political representatives just to have a shot in state and national politics (outside of Mississippi).

Americans are isolationist by nature and tend to manipulate international events with as little actual physical involvement as they can get away with.

Bush (and every future leader following his path) have a great luxury at their disposal, they get to define what victory is and for that matter what constitutes an ememy on their own terms.

We don't have to go into Syria or North Korea or anywhere. The United States only has one enemy that we can't deal with on our own terms and that is Osama.

He's the only one who hates us and has the balls to admit it and do something about it.

I lost a good friend on 9-11 so trust me I want to see Osama's head on a stick tomorrow. But I give credit where credit is due.

Rome didn't have the luxury of defining its own enemies and fighting them when they felt like it and ignoring them without fear when it was prudent to do so.

The United States can declare a "War on Terrorism" and wage it as actively or passively as it choses. In fact it can be as narrowly defined as Osama's head on a stick or as broadly defined as "regime change" throughout the Third World.

Talk about playing with a stacked deck. The deck was made in America and all the cards except one are marked.

This is just one Machivellian, International Relations major's (who also studied international law both in America and Spain) opinion, but I feel pretty damn confident in it.
 

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kiwifan said:
Your basic premise alone makes any conclusion based upon Rome inherently flawed.

Until you can establish the American people no longer have the ability to control thier own destiny locally the rest is just empty forcasts of gloom.

Neoconservatives can blah blah blah away about abortion, for example, but guess what happens if they actually pass a law illegalizing abortion?

The vast majority of non-voting, non-caring females and males will not only remove them from power (a democratic majority within 2 years in congress and a new president within 4 years - a complete regime change through peaceful means), their opponents will be able to demonize those neoconservatives to an extent that it would be reasonably forseeable that the GOP would have to change its name, symbols and active roster of potential political representatives just to have a shot in state and national politics (outside of Mississippi).

Americans are isolationist by nature and tend to manipulate international events with as little actual physical involvement as they can get away with.

This is so true. There are very few super powers in history who even before they went into another country were actively debating an exit strategy.

Bush (and every future leader following his path) have a great luxury at their disposal, they get to define what victory is and for that matter what constitutes an ememy on their own terms.

We don't have to go into Syria or North Korea or anywhere. The United States only has one enemy that we can't deal with on our own terms and that is Osama.

He's the only one who hates us and has the balls to admit it and do something about it.

I lost a good friend on 9-11 so trust me I want to see Osama's head on a stick tomorrow. But I give credit where credit is due.

Rome didn't have the luxury of defining its own enemies and fighting them when they felt like it and ignoring them without fear when it was prudent to do so.

The United States can declare a "War on Terrorism" and wage it as actively or passively as it choses. In fact it can be as narrowly defined as Osama's head on a stick or as broadly defined as "regime change" throughout the Third World.

Talk about playing with a stacked deck. The deck was made in America and all the cards except one are marked.

This is just one Machivellian, International Relations major's (who also studied international law both in America and Spain) opinion, but I feel pretty damn confident in it.

And these people who actually draw a parallel between ancient Rome and other fallen empires with the United States fail to take into account modern technology which pretty much eliminates the likelihood of entire cities being wiped out without a trace only to be discovered five thousand years later.
 

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I find your theory very amusing. Unfortunately, you have no proof of your basic premise, that being that the US is simply going to start war after war after war. If that premise is wrong, the rest is irrelevant. With their dollar in the toilet, do you expect them to just go out and attack Algeria for kicks? Get serious.
 

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If I was ever going to hand out rep points it would be now (you'll have to settle for a thank you, BigTennisFan).

Disposablehero I saw your name and immediately "clicked in" to see how you'd "blast me".

Oh well, maybe next time.

Cheers everyone.

Maybe in the morning, I'll get the typical "Arrogant American" comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
all defenders of true liberty must realize that binding the state down with a consistent and principled opposition to unjust wars, foreign interventions, alliances and subsidies is in order.To truly love freedom, you must love peace...America NATO's bombing on Belgrade was just a prelude for another justification of going to Iraq--doesn't matter who is in charge of the prez--it's all the same cabal...war is the most socialistic enterprise of the State and thus the most evil...Randolph Bourne observed that "war is the health of the state," which implies that states have an incentive to start wars--because during a war the state is able to have further justification measures of an emergency to seize even more property, limit liberties further and generally grow its power
...hello homeland security and hello Patriot Act...hello more funding to the Department of Education for more mind control
 

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empiremaker03 said:
all defenders of true liberty must realize that binding the state down with a consistent and principled opposition to unjust wars, foreign interventions, alliances and subsidies is in order.To truly love freedom, you must love peace...America NATO's bombing on Belgrade was just a prelude for another justification of going to Iraq--doesn't matter who is in charge of the prez--it's all the same cabal...war is the most socialistic enterprise of the State and thus the most evil...Randolph Bourne observed that "war is the health of the state," which implies that states have an incentive to start wars--because during a war the state is able to have further justification measures of an emergency to seize even more property, limit liberties further and generally grow its power
...hello homeland security and hello Patriot Act...hello more funding to the Department of Education for more mind control

Please. Peace is an ideal but I'm very suspicious of those who would have peace at any cost. I'm still wondering what those who opposed toppling Saddam say when they see the pictures of those poor people finding (finally) the graves of their loved ones who had been tortured, raped and murdered by Saddam's regime (while they were at "peace" mind you.)

What do they say about the young men who had their ears cut off by orders of Saddam? One surgeon who refused was shot and killed on the spot.

But then again, I've always said that people who oppose getting rid of murderous despots (you can use whatever side of the political spectrum you wish) never have to say they're sorry.

And kiwifan, don't feel bad about not giving me repuatation points. It's interesting that none of us seemed to know that they existed 6 months ago (at least I didn't) and now they're all the rage. :D

As Puck says, "Lord what fools these mortals be". ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
the peace at any cost is reserved for the 'peaceniks'...of which i don't put myself in at all--i subscribe to the just war theory and for non-agressiveness unless for self-defence...and the last two bombing wars were clearly aggressive acts any way you cut it--regardless of the justifications...

i don't believe the ends justifies the means b/c if you go down that road it becomes paved with unprincipled behavior...yes, it is great when an oppressive leader is removed and people have more liberty and less fear in speaking out--but that is just one side of the story...what will be put in place (and that remains to be seen) will tell another story...i don't see any guarantee things will become a haven of liberty over there...ok, the war removed a dictator but last I saw there was another thug just a hop & skip away from the U.S. and nobody is calling for the death of that Communist dictator by invasion and bombs--why not? why do people of Iraq deserve freedom and not people of Cuba?...Moreover, one has to know that pre-Saddam Iraq was no pretty picnic..."As a young lad in the town of Mosul I lived through the horror of the civil war in Iraq in 1959-60, when the Communist and Kurdish coalition fought the Nationalists for control of the country," recalled Iraqi expatriate Burhan al-Chalabi in the March 24th London Guardian. "With my brothers and parents, we used to hide huddled together, in a small concealed basement for days on end, absolutely terrified of being slaughtered because we were considered to be on the Nationalist side." During that pre-Saddam conflict, recalls al-Chalabi, "I saw Iraqis split in half, while alive, by two cars. Girls were hanged from telegraph posts, with fish hooks through their breasts. Men were hanged outside my school gates. We were forced to watch mass hangings in public squares. Dead bodies with their throats slit lay in the streets." Al-Chalabi points out that the Iraqi Communists committed the most gruesome of these atrocities. Thus it is by no means a welcome sign of "liberation" that "the long-banned Iraqi Communist Party--won the race to publish the first newspaper in Baghdad since the fall of Saddam Hussein," as Reuters reported on April 20th...

and another point--while Saddam was brutal to political enemies he did allow gun ownership, which was widespread and Saddam did little to disrupt or destroy private institutions and customs and allowed for much religious freedom--and Bagdad women have a hell of a lot more freedom than in other Arab states such as Saudia Arabia...This may change if Iranian-style revolutionary Islam takes root in Iraq — a development that may be unavoidable if "democracy" is planted there...No, removing Saddam did nothing to avenge the 9/11 attack or make our nation more secure. It did little to free the long-suffering Iraqi people (where were the people before the war talking about ending the brutal sanctions?), and may actually result in an even nastier and more militant regime in Baghdad...this misguided neocon cabal military victory has the U.S. saddled with the prospect of a long & expensive occupation--and more terrorist threats from those that resent such...George Washington would not be proud in what has happened to the presidency
 
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