Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Demagogy in History

I know that many of you out there imagine that the things that Liberals do to sabotage our wars is a new phenomenon. How I wish it were, but, sadly, it is not. The Roman Republic was brought down by a Left Wing demagogue named Caesar, but this is not his story. It is the story of a one man disaster, Gaius Terentius Varro.

Varro was Hannibal's contemporary and his Liberal bungling handed the Carthaginian his greatest victory that he ever won. Hannibal was a genius, the greatest general of his day and no general anywhere early in the war could match him in a battle of wits. With inferior numbers and quality of troops Hannibal won two great victories over the armies of the Roman Republic, the first at the River Trebia in northern Italy and the second at Lake Trasimene in Central Italy. Tens of thousands of Romans lay dead, and this stunning upstart Hannibal was now in the Italian heartland.

A hero stepped forward. His name was Quintus Fabius Maximus. According to Roman law, he was appointed dictator for six months, for the emergency that the Republic faced. He came up with the famous "Fabian Tactics." The premise was this- no Roman general could beat Hannibal in an open battle. However, Fabius raised a new, fresh Army that would shadow the Carthaginian Army. As they foraged for supplies, the Legions would engage in minor skirmishes that would eventually bleed them dry. Hannibal could not replace losses, as his soldiers were African, Spanish and Gaulish. He was down deep into Italy with no replacements. The Fabian tactics slowly began to melt his army.

Then Varro and his fellow demagogues stepped up. They made up a fanciful tale that Fabius really was capable of destroying Hannibal, but wasn't doing so in order to prolong his dictatorship and supress the rights of the poor. Hannibal got wind of this and when sacking the villas of rich Senators in Southern Italy, he ordered those of Fabius to not be touched. This further added to Varro's charges. Fabius, however, was able to blunt the charges by selling the villas and donating the gold he got for them to the Republic's war chest.

Fabius fended off Varro for the moment, but his dictatorship ended after six months and Varro ran for Consul(the Roman Executive), promising to beat Hannibal and end the war. He was elected handily for the year 216 BC. Fabius had gotten those under his command (many of whom were less than enthusiastic about Fabian Tactics at the start) to believe in his ways, including Minucius, his Master of the Horse, whose life he saved from one of Hannibal's traps. But Varro, as Consul, trumped them all.

After several months of the Fabian Tactics, Hannibal's soldiers were getting frayed and frustrated. His Spanish troops were going to defect over to the Romans, a significant part of his forces would be gone. Many had had enough. And then Varro engaged at a place called Cannae.

Approximately 80,000 Romans marched towards Hannibal's 50,000. Half of the 50K were naked Gauls. One of Hannibal's cavalry officers, named Gisco, looked at the well armed and armored Romans and said, "that is amazing......" Hannibal looked over at him, shrugged and said, "what I find amazing is that not one of those men is named Gisco." Word of this exchange spread in Hannibal's Army and a shout of exultation went up. Hannibal didn't fear the Roman machine.

Varro came on like the Roman commanders at Trebia and Trasimene. Hannibal had his Gauls in the center, and his army drew back in the center, slowly, until the Heavy Arican Infantry was on the Roman flanks. Also the Numidian Cavalry in Carthaginian service overwhelmed the smaller units of Italian cavalry and were in the Roman rear. The vast Army of the Republic was encircled and the slaughter began. Some estimates put the Roman dead at 60,000 or more. The United States lost about 59,000 men during the entire Vietnam Era. Kind of puts things in perspective, eh?

And like John Kerry and Jimmy Carter, Varro was not punished for his stupidity which gave Rome a Vietnam in one afternoon. The surviving soldiers were formed into two special legions which were not allowed onto Italian soil for the rest of the war, fighting in Sicily and later in Scipio's invasion of Africa.

Hannibal only lost six thousand men. His Army's morale went from down in the dumps to stratospheric in one day. Instead of being beaten in 216 BC, it would be 201 BC before Scipio would defeat Hannibal at the battle of Zama, ending the war. Important Roman allies like Syracuse, Capua, Samnium and Tarentum defected to the Carthaginian side, forcing Rome to besiege them. These cities were gutted and never would be the same. All because of one demagogue and his conspiracy theories.

We have many Varro's today in America. Democrats who are undermining our efforts in Iraq. Iraqis went to vote on their new Constitution last Saturday, and if Liberals got their way, it would not have happened. Our Left Wing Varro's falsely accuse President Bush of "trying to steal people's rights" in fighting in Iraq. John Kerry tried to take over the war, and would, no doubt, have made Varro seem like Caesar in comparison. Too many good men are dying for their foolishness. We cannot allow them to sabotage the Iraq War for their Socialist Left Wing Agenda. We have to fight the Liberals on the Iraq War front. America will be severely, even mortally, wounded if the Liberals and terrorists win.


Anonymous "gunner" said...

in sum... "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it"

6:09 AM  
Blogger C R Mountjoy - GDF said...

The best post on a blog I have read in months. Now this is what blogging should be about! Absolutely fantastic. 'If all of Rome (Varros) had but one neck' - Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus

11:48 PM  
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