By Gary Sudborough, submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 13/02/2005 - 11:19
The difference between Roman emperors and our present day versions of the same. The US military and economic empire is undoubtedly the largest, most sophisticated and technologically advanced empire to ever exist on planet Earth. It shares certain things in common with previous empires like heavy taxation or debt to pay for continual warfare, the use of surrogate soldiers, depletion of public resources, overextension, etc. However, it does differ in certain respects from an empire such as that of Rome. Although the rich Roman ruling class seldom participated in wars, the Roman emperors themselves often did. The emperors Decius and Valens were killed in battles with the Goths. Valerian was captured in battle by the Persians and held captive for the rest of his life. Julian was mortally wounded fighting the Persians. Romanus Diogenes was captured by the Seljuk Turks and held for ransom. The last emperor of Rome, Constantine Palaeologus died in battle when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453. In addition, the Roman emperors Probus and Aurelian were killed by their own soldiers. Being a Roman emperor could obviously be dangerous to one's health. I can't help but wonder if these neoconservative hawks like Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle and Abrams, who planned for years these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, would be willing to lead the troops into battle. I sincerely doubt it. They simply don't have the intestinal fortitude of Roman emperors. Wars would certainly become much less likely if these chicken hawks were compelled to give personal examples of their own bravery. War would be abandoned altogether if America's ruling families like the Rockefellers, Morgans, Mellons, Waltons and DuPonts had to participate by sending their sons and daughters into the horrors of war. The super rich greatly desire the spoils of war without accepting any of the costs or risks. Those costs and risks are reserved exclusively for the working class and the poor.