In 59BC, Julius Caesar declared he was so shocked by the incursions of the dangerous Helvetii tribe into Gaul, and the suffering of the Gaulish peoples, that he had himself appointed ‘protector of the Gauls’. By the time he’d finished protecting them, a million Gauls were dead, another million enslaved and Julius Caesar owned most of Gaul. Now I’m not suggesting there is any similarity between George W Bush’s protection of the Iraqi people and Caesar’s protection of the Gauls.
For a start, Julius Caesar, as we all know, was bald, whereas George W Bush has a fine head of hair.
In any case, George W Bush is not personally making huge amounts of money out of it. The money-making is all left in the capable hands of companies like CACI International, Blackwater Security and Haliburton.
It’s true that Vice-President Dick Cheney’s stock options in his old company, Haliburton, went up from $241,498 in 2004 to $8m in 2005 – that’s an increase of 3,281 per cent.
But then Dick Cheney is bald.
The point I’m trying to make is that there is absolutely no comparison to be made between Julius Caesar’s invasion of Gaul in 58-50BC and George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
I mean, Julius Caesar had the nerve to pretend that the Roman state was being threatened by what was going on in Gaul. He claimed he had to carry out a pre-emptive strike against the Helvetii in the interests of homeland security. In reality, his motives were political. He desperately needed a military victory to boost his standing in Rome and give him the necessary popular base to seize power.
George W Bush, on the other hand, was already in power when he invaded Iraq and, in any case, he didn’t need to boost his popularity, because the popular vote had nothing to do with his getting into power in the first place. Julius Caesar was also a very adroit propagandist who made damn sure that his version of events prevailed. He even wrote eight books about his wars in Gaul to make sure it did.
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