Thursday, February 02, 2006

Iraq = Troy?


The strained analogy in this very biased interview is reminiscent of the rhetorical gymnastics Victor Davis Hanson engages in when comparing the War On Terrah to the Battle of Thermopylae.

This epic poem illustrates the Achaeans' drive for power and their settlement on the coast of Asia Minor, beyond the Hellespont. Both Herodotus and Thucydides considered the Trojan War as the first expression of the conflict between Asia and Europe, between East and West. And here are our leaders today, embarking on another Trojan War.

Bit of a Hansonian stretch, as far as I'm concerned. Still, the interview is not without its interesting moments:

Alas there is no Achilles in our modern Iliad. For there can be no Achilles without a Hector. Achilles' glory matches Hector's glory. Yet we deny our enemies any heroism. We deny them worth and courage: Saddam is but a bloodthirsty dictator, Ben Laden a murderous madman, Zarqawi a second-rate criminal, Muslim kamikazes are suicidal cranks, Iraqi insurgents are drug-addicts and drop-outs, the Taliban are lunatics, the new Iranian president is a despicable hostage taker, etc. How can we possibly gain glory by fighting such enemies? Caesar drew his glory from Pompey, Richard the Lionheart from Saladin, Wellington from Napoleon, but what kind of hero can possibly produce a war waged against madmen, maniacs, lunatics, cowards and criminals?

I too have been unimpressed with the quality of our enemies. Cheering for this war often feels like cheering for bum fights - satisfying only to the more vicious among us.

Percy Kemp : Being born to a British father and a Lebanese Arab mother, I am, symbolically at least, both a victim and an executioner of the 7/7 London bombings. You will therefore understand that I do not wish to express myself on the subject in my capacity as an "expert".

Bravo, Percy! Finally, a so-called experts who acknowledges being, merely, a so-called expert. (Though frankly the "symbolism" Percy mentions eludes me. Those subway bombers [or "executioners," as Kemp would have it] weren't Lebanese!)

2 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Sure man, why not? As long as you can draw a few tenuous analogies between two completely unrelated events, go for it. Publish or perish.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

The analogy certainly is tortured - or "freedom tickled," as Jon Stewart memorably said. But I'd be interested to read the product of someone taking a crack at an epic poem in the style of Homer recounting the war in Iraq. Or how about a history of the Afghanistan campaign written entirely in limericks?

5:35 PM  

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