A medal for Horatius

This made me laugh:

Rome, II Calends, April CCCLX
SUBJECT: Recommendation for Senate Medal of Honor

TO: Department of War, Republic of Rome

I. Recommend Caius Horatius, Captain of Foot, CMCMXIV, for the Senate Medal of Honor.

II. Captain Horatius has served XVI years, all honorable.

III. On the II day of March, during the attack on the city by Lars Porsena of Clausium and his Tuscan Army of CMX men, Captain Horatius, with Sergeant Sporius Laritus and Corporal Julius Herminius, held the entire Tuscan army at the far end of the bridge, until the structure could be destroyed, thereby saving the city.

IV. Captain Horatius did valiantly fight and kill one Major Picus of Clausium in individual combat.

V. The exemplary courage and the outstanding leadership of Captain Horatius are in the highest tradition of the Roman Army.

Biding their time

Dunnigan’s Strategy Page has not forgotten about the Kurds:

Kurdish popular sentiment strongly favors an independent Kurdistan. In contrast to their followers, however, the leaders of both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which have been acting in concert for some time now to run northern Iraq, are proceeding very cautiously. At present Kurdistan is effectively autonomous within Iraq, and far more stable and prosperous than the rest of the country. Attempting to establish a separate Kurdish state would bring problems not only with Iraq (which probably couldn’t do much about the matter anyway), but also with Turkey and Iran, both of which have restive Kurdish minorities. And the U.S. would probably be very unhappy about the move as well, as it would be a serious blow to American efforts to create a stable Iraq.

It is typical that the media, both pro- and anti-administration, is completely focused on the Sunni-Shia divide, when it is the Kurds who will likely deal the death blow to Dear Leader’s opium dream of a united, free and democratic Iraq. The Kurds have been waiting decades for this opportunity and they’re determined not to blow it now by alienating the Americans any sooner than is necessary. While they are very grateful to the USA, they also know better than almost anyone how fickle American support can be and they know they cannot count on it when they declare independence.

The reason for this is that Turkey is an important American ally and Kurdish-Turkish relations are far more bitter than Kurdish-Iraqi relations ever were. Saddam slaughtered them when they revolted during the first Gulf War, but otherwise treated them reasonably well, allowing them to speak their own language and maintain their own culture, whereas the Turks have banned the Kurdish tongue and force Kurdish children to attend Turkish schools where are only allowed to speak Turkish and are taught that they are Turks, not Kurds.

Once it became clear that George Bush, for all his lofty talk of self-determination, had no intention of allowing the Kurds to pursue it, I was convinced that there would not be a peep out of the Kurds until either the American withdrawal is complete or the Sunnis and Shias begin fighting it out in earnest. But only the most naive of analysts would discount the determination of this much-abused people to take advantage of what is literally the best chance they will ever have to establish their own nation at last.

My guess is that the Kurds are quietly hoping that the USA will move on Iran in some capacity, a move they will enthusiastically assist in order to sever Iranian Kurdistan from Iran and expand the borders of a sovereign Kurdistan. This will then likely turn the already tumultuous area of Turkish Kurdistan (or, if you prefer out of respect to our good NATO ally, Kurdish Turkey) into a hotspot on the order of Kashmir.