Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (c. 275 BC-203 BC), called Cunctator (the Delayer), was the clever Roman Emperor who defeated the most powerful military force of his times, that of Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who had attacked Rome from the north with his massive army, including elephants et al.  The Cunctator’s tactic was not to attack Hannibal directly, but to reserve his troops until the diseased climate of Rome and general weariness had diminished Hannibal’s army so that it could be readily defeated:


And so began the decline of one of the two great powers of that time until Carthago delenda est!

I mention this historical precedent because it looks from here that the Iraqi militias are using the same tactics in dealing with our own would be Hannibal, General David Petraeus — simply melting away into the population until such time as we weary of having our troops attacked — both by the Sunnis who want us out of there by an overwhelming majority and the Shiites who also want us gone by a lesser, but still sizable majority.  Petraeus means well and sees the political dimensions of things, but I don’t think we Americans really can control things there any more:


One hopes for peace in that war torn land, but I doubt that our military will be able to unify the separate factions over there of which the current Iraqi government is only a subset without real power or control over even Baghdad.

We shall see.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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