Conversation with Thucydides

I had that green chile cheeseburger for dinner, very good, but sometimes a mistake anyway...

We were sitting on stone benches on a rocky hillside, with olive trees in the distance.

Me: So how could we bring peace, prosperity, and freedom to Iraq?

Thucydides: I don't do prosperity - I'm not an economist - might check with Brad DeLong on that . . .

[I notice that his English is flawless - hardly unexpected in one who mastered Classical Greek as an infant, I suppose.]

Thu: . . . Peace and freedom, though, are simpler, though intrinsically temporary at best. Kill all the Iraqi men, sell the women and children into slavery, then import colonists from some freedom loving people - from Athens, for example.

Me: I don't think we want to get into genocide...

Thu: Well, there are other means. You've pretty well blown your chance to play Alexander or Caesar - bright lads they were. Maybe you should imitate Coronado and Pizarro.

Me: I'm not sure that smallpox and measles would devastate Iraqis, and they would spread.

Thu: Well, the important thing is to combine brutal repression with forced religious conversion and intermarriage. You need to disarm the locals and install compliant puppets with loyalty only to you and power only through you. Large numbers of missionary warrior colonists will be needed to first learn and then extirpate the local culture and tradition.

Me: So how long should that take?

Thu: I think it took about 400 years in Mexico, though they might not be quite done yet.

Me: And how can you call that freedom?

Thu: You may have a problem . . .

At which point my wife woke me up and told me to stop moaning in my sleep. A Pepsid AC took care of me till morning.


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