Adding up Hillary Clinton's Butcher's Bill What's the death toll of all the wars the future US president already helped make happen?
The Greek playwright Aeschylus — who fought at Marathon in 490 BC, the battle that defeated the first Persian invasion of Greece — had few illusions about the consequences of war. No wonder, in the tragedy Oresteia, he gave his character Agamemnon these verses:
They sent forth men to battle. But no such men return; And home, to claim their welcome Comes ashes in an urn.
His ode is one the candidates for the U.S. presidency might consider, though one doubts that many of them would think to find wisdom in a 2,500 year-old Greek play.
And that, in itself, is a tragedy.
Historical blindness has been much on display in the primary season. On the Republican side, candidates promised to “kick ass” in Iraq, make the “sand glow” in Syria, and face down the Russians in Europe. While the Democratic aspirants were a little more measured, they generally share the pervasive ideology that binds together all but “cranks” like Ron Paul: America has the right, indeed the duty, to order the world’s affairs.
This peculiar view of the role of the U.S. takes on a certain messianic quality in candidates like Hillary Clinton, who routinely quotes former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s line about America as “the indispensible nation” whose job is to lead the world.