November 05, 2005

"Ceterum censeo, Carthago delenda est" (Saturday Classical Precedent Blogging)

Marcus Porcius Cato was famous for, among other things, ending all of his speeches in the Senate by saying "that is my opinion. It is further my opinion, that Carthage must be destroyed" (ceterum censeo, Carthago delenda est). Eventually, so the story goes, his fellow senators got so worn down that they launched the Third Punic War, which ended with Carthage destroyed, and the ground sowed with salt.

Senator McCain seems to be adopting a similar tactic, in a much higher cause than establishing hegemony over the western Mediterranean basin:

McCain Vows to Add Detainee-Abuse Provision to All Senate Bills: The U.S. Senate added language barring inhumane treatment of enemy combatants to legislation that sets military policy, the second major defense measure the chamber has amended with this provision.

The amendment sponsored by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain passed by a voice vote. It was attached to the Senate's fiscal 2006 defense spending bill Oct. 6 by a vote of 90-9. That bill is being negotiated with members of the U.S. House, including Republicans whose support is in question.

McCain said his intent is to prevent abuses such as those at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He vowed today that his measure would be "on every vehicle that goes through this body" until it's enacted into law. "It's not going away," he said on the Senate floor. "This issue is incredibly harmful to the United States of America and our image throughout the world."

Via Michael Froomkin; I agree with his comment that "I still think he'd be an awful President, but this is good stuff." Unfortunately, the link Froomkin gives to the Bloomberg news story he quotes is broken, so I can't see if anyone else is drawing the classical parallel.

The Continuing Crisis

Posted by crshalizi at November 05, 2005 11:30 | permanent link

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