11.04.2006

Quis custodiet etc.

I hate to keep agreeing with Billmon, but I was thinking the same thing when I heard about the "Rummy Must Go" editorial in the Army Times:

The Dems may applaud now, but if I were them, I'd be extremely wary of the precedent. As a group, the joint chiefs are developing a taste for bureaucratic blood -- they're trying to destroy Rumsfeld just as they destroyed Les Aspin and emasculated Wesley Clark. Only now they're doing it openly (or at least semi-openly) and in the middle of an election campaign.

That's usually not a good sign for a republican government -- and I'm not talking about the political party.
From Wikipedia:

Although its name has become synonymous with intrigue, conspiracy, disloyalty and assassination, it could be argued that for the first two centuries of its existence the Praetorian Guard was, on the whole, a positive force in the Roman state. During this time it mostly removed (or allowed to be removed) cruel, weak and unpopular emperors while generally supporting just, strong and popular ones. By protecting these monarchs, thus extending their reigns, and also by keeping the disorders of the mobs of Rome and the intrigues of the Senate in line, the Guard helped give the empire a much needed stability that led to the period known as the Pax Romana.

Only after the reign of Marcus Aurelius, when this period is generally considered to have ended, the guard began to deteriorate into the ruthless, mercenary and meddling force for which it has become infamous. However, during the Severan dynasty and afterwards during the Crisis of the Third Century, the legions, the Senate and the emperorship along with the rest of Roman government were falling into decadence as well.

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