US 'mirrors Roman Empire' in Iraq war

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The Independent Online

America's entanglement in Iraq bears a striking resemblance to ancient Rome's Punic wars, according to the author of a new book on the Roman Empire.

Simon Baker, who also produced BBC2's forthcoming series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, on which his book is based, claims the decision by the greatest civilisation in the ancient world to attack its Mediterranean rival Carthage mirrors America's actions in the build-up to the second Gulf War.

He said yesterday: "You have hawkish Roman neo-conservatives saying that Carthage was a menace to democracy, 'weapons inspectors' being sent over, cooked-up dossiers exaggerating the threat, and huge debate at home about the wisdom of war.

"The arrogance of power... has a strong resonance with America today... And just as with America before the second Gulf War, there was a real argument about the best way of extending political control."

The television series, which airs next week, took two years to make. The action was so gory that on the first day of shooting 20 litres of fake blood were used.

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