History meets the ignorant/forgetful again with "shock and awe"

Bowling Green, KY

Well let's see, the rich get richer, the poor get less all the time, plenty of care for those in power, and devil-may-care for those who aren't. A sense of permanent entitlement for senators and for certain emperors, the idea that they create their own reality no matter what the facts might say.

Sounds like we've become very Roman indeed. And not with the best qualities of that ancient and now dead civilization, either.

But our very recent past contains some events that bear an eerie resemblance to one of the most notorious military disasters in Roman history, one that signaled the beginning of the end for Roman power.

In 9 AD, an unctuous, not very bright Roman commander named Publius Quinctillius Varus, decided to take advantage of rumors (lies, it turns out, of rebellion) to invade a province of what would become Germany. The locals were clearly outgunned by the "greatest army on earth" but they knew their ground. They were smart, ruthlessly efficient, and militarily astute. They had no intention of going toe to toe with the Romans. They trapped them in the forest. Three Roman legions were wiped out to man. Varus thought the natives would greet them with flowers and it would all be over in days.

Varus had no plan other than a Roman version of "Shock and Awe". The natives, led by Arminius, were neither. Varus also had no clear plan for what he would do when he got there, nor a plan for retreat if things didn't go as planned. Sound familiar?

Unlike our own glorious commander, Georgius Bushus, Varus never even got to strut around in full armor in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner. Instead, the emperor, Augustus, decreed that those three legion numbers never be used again. Like Bush, the Romans never believed they ever made any mistakes. It must have been those numbers.

Bad luck, dash it all.

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