To the hackneyed question, ‘Are We Rome?’, John Stossel replies, “Not yet.” He is completely wrong, just as he was wrong to dismiss the “National Security Administration tracking patterns in our emails and phone calls,” to quote.
Mr. Stossel takes comfort in the fact that “we don’t kill people for sport. When we go to war, misguided or not, we don’t conquer or plunder. And when we win, we usually leave.” (July 18, 2013)
Who is he kidding? The US hunts down and kills very many innocents abroad by drone. It’s a bit of a sport—so much so that decadent New Rome has even established a “new medal that honors drone pilots and computer experts” for their long-distance killing prowess.
Courtesy of Uncle Sam, war-time slaughter has just been industrialized, streamlined, made more efficient in our times.
Compare the demographic and economic indices of countries the US has invaded—for their own good, of course, but without their consent—before and after the “merciful” intervention. You’ll get a better idea of the carnage than John Stossel allows.
Libya is no longer. Ditto Iraq. Afghanistan is not doing much better since Rome set up camp there.
Read “Casualties of the Iraq War.”
Read “Civilian casualties in the War in Afghanistan (2001–present).”
Read “Deaths caused by Coalition forces” in Libya.
Again, contrary to the Stossel assertion, the latter-day Rome has mechanized the warfare-state’s killing and has refined its propaganda wing to an art—so fine an art that John Stossel has bought it hook, line, and sinker.
No-one attempting to tackle the ‘Are We Rome?’ question should be allowed to get away with failing to mention Cullen Murphy’s book by that name. This is a question that was asked and answered already. Superbly.
A 2010 column I wrote highlighted “the unflattering parallels between the imperial rule of ancient Rome and that of modern America,” as illustrated in Murphy’s book, “Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of Rome.”
The federal payroll in Washington Murphy pegs at 360,000 (BO: Before Obama), calling this estimate a “convenient deceit,” as an “even larger number of people in the Washington area — about 400,000 — work for private companies that are doing government work.” Add to the above a quarter million people who live in the vicinity and feed off the government directly or indirectly; the lawyers and lobbyist, the wonks and accountants, the reporters and caterers and limousine drivers and panegyrists, and all the aides and associates whose job it is to functions as someone else’s brain.”
Don’t forget that the D.C. hood is home to your favorite oh-so gritty media personalities, who gather inside or near the Bubble to reap “the benefits of being at the center of the Imperium.” Back to their role model, Rome:
The biggest component of [Rome's] prodigious intake was something called the annona, an in-kind tax levied by Rome on everyplace else, and collected in the form of grain, which was used to provide free bread for most of Rome’s inhabitants. … Eventually, the annona was expanded beyond grain to include olive oil and wine. If you think of the annona as tax revenue, which it was, then the revenue not only accomplished its stated purpose of feeding the city; it also supported large swaths of private-sector activity, from shipping to baking to crime. Some of this activity was encouraged with tax breaks and grants of citizenship. There was great wealth to be had off government contracts. … the annona remained [the Empire's] essential lifeline, preserved at all costs.
“All life in Washington today derives ultimately from the capitals’ own version of Rome’s annona — the continuous infusion not of grain and olive oil but of tax revenue and borrowed money. Instead of ships and barges there are banks, 10,000 of them designated for this purpose, which funnel the nations’ tax payments to the city. This ‘never-ending flow of revenue creates a broad level of affluence that has no real counterpart anywhere in America.” Says Murphy: “Washington simply doesn’t look like the rest of America.” But its residents “fail to view this as bizarre.”