SANTAYANA RIGHT AGAIN
I found Terry Jones' series Barbarians a little lightweight, as with most BBC documentaries these days, but fascinating nonetheless. The book covers the same ground and presents the same arguments, but in much more depth. I didn't know, though should have guessed, that Caesar's invasion of Gaul was carried out on the pretext of protecting a client tribe from its enemies - who, Jones says, weren't enemies at all, but just happened to be migrating across their territory. The real reason was gold. The Celts of Gaul were rich, and Caesar was broke.
Given how close this is in nature if not time to America's Middle Eastern adventures, I should have remembered the following quote, from Gore Vidal's Dreaming War:
Many commentators of a certain age have noted how Hitlerian our Junta sounds as it threatens first one country for harbouring terrorists and then another. It is true that Hitler liked to pretend to be the injured - or threatened - party before he struck. But he had a great many predecessors not least Imperial Rome. Stephen Gowans' War in Afghanistan: A $28 Billion Racket quotes Joseph Schumpteter, who in 1919,
'described ancient Rome in a way that sounds eerily like the United States in 2001: "There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented....The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours."'