then from each other. A century and a half later, Tacitus, himselfrna member of the Roman imperial aristocracy, put this summationrnof Roman policy in the mouth of a British rebel: “Theyrnmake a desert, and they call it peace.” With the advantages of arnclassical education, America’s British allies dubbed the NATOrnplan for Kosovo “Operation Agricola” in honor of the Romanrngeneral whose conquest of Britain had inspired his son-in-lawrnTacitus’s characterization of the Roman Empire.rnNone of this would be possible without the eager complicit)’rnof the press, which has been conscripted into military service.rnTeddy Roosevelt was shocked by newspapermen who lookedrnupon their profession as just another job and insisted that theyrn”are just as much public servants as are the men in governmentrnservice themselves.” It is a cozy relationship between governmentrnand the press, symbolized by the relationship betweenrnJamie Rubin and Christiane Amanpour.rnIn the Kosovo conflict, whose purpose has never been definedrn(or, rather, has been defined once too often), people likernSen, John McCain are saying, in essence, that they do not knowrnwhy we are bombing Yugoslavia but now that we are, we mustrnsend in ground troops to maintain the credibility of NATO, andrnmore than one presidential candidate thinks he can crawl intornthe White House over the bodies of dead Serbian civilians.rnEven critics of the Clinton-Blair bombing have constantly reiteratedrntheir “support for the Commander in Chief”—a phrasernthat will someday be viewed as the English translation of “Wernwere only following orders.”rnAt the beginning of the century, when Uncle Sam was conqueringrnthe Philippines, his cousin John Bull was mopping uprnthe Boers. Winston Churchill advised the Americans to be asrnruthless in pursuit of their empire as the English were in SouthrnAfrica. But the Boer War was actually the beginning of the endrnfor the British Empire, as many patriotic Englishmen (like G.K.rnChesterton) recoiled in horror from the brutality of imperialrnconquest.rnUnfortunately, the United States did not learn its lesson inrnthe Philippines. Badly checked in Southeast Asia, we believedrnwe had learned the lesson of Vietnam—to leave complex andrninscrutable foreign conflicts to the locals—but in the 1980’s, arnnew exuberance began to manifest itself in Central America,rnfor example, where shadowy representatives of the administrationrnand the CIA played war games that cost the lives of tens ofrnthousands of Nicaraguans and Salvadorans. When our alliesrnmurdered several Jesuit priests, a sinister American diplomatrnnamed William Walker covered up the evidence and helpedrnprepare the official lie given to the American people, and it wasrnthat same William Walker who convenientiy discovered thernRacak massacre of 45 Albanian civilians and gave Bill Clintonrnhis excuse for a war. That massacre, however, never took place,rnas our readers know.rnRacak takes it place alongside of other phony incidents —thernsinking of the Maine and the Reichstag Fire. And when NATOrnhas finished with the Serbs, it can discover the persecution ofrnthe helpless Chechyns in Russia or, better still, the persecutedrnAlbanians in Northern Creece—an area explicitly claimed byrnAlbanian-American spokesmen.rnTony Blair and Bill Clinton look on the conquest of Serbia asrnthe beginning of a NATO world-empire; I rather think it isrnAmerica’s Boer War, the beginning of the end for a country thatrnwas once a great republic and is now a lousy empire.rnDICTATIONSrnDedicated to the PropositionrnEvery moviegoer remembers the sign: “Keeprnyour change. Tipping is un-American.” It isrnon tlie cash register of the roadside diner thatrnis the setting for The Petrified Forest. It is a strange expression.rnWe don’t say “un-French” (and hardly everrnsay “un-English”), and when we do, we mean onlyrnthat something is not typical of the nationalrncharacter. For something to be French, it must bernwitt)’ or stylish or off-color: “It’s a general rule, thoughrnyour zeal it mav quench, if a family fool tells a jokernthat’s too French, half a crown is stopped out of hisrnwages.”rnTo be un-American, however, is to be undemocraticrnor elitist or class-conscious. In The Devil’s Dictionary,rnAmbrose Bierce spoofed /^iierican chauvinismrnby defining un-American as “wicked, tolerable,rnheathenish.” In our national myth, as understood byrnone presumptuous immigrant (Crevecoeur), “He isrnan American, who leaving behind him all his ancientrnprejudices and manners, receives new onesrnfrom the new mode of life he has embraced.” Tliisrnwas 80 years before the American Caesar tried to persuadernus that our nation was “dedicated to the proposition.”rnAnother presumptuous foreigner was closerrnto the truth: “Americans… would rather be equal inrnslaver)’ than unequal in freedom,” and we have beenrnforging the chains of cqualit}’ since Tocqueville’srntime. Henry Luce’s “American Century,” in thisrnsense, was really the “Equality- Cenhirj’.”rnIn the 1950’s, leftists made fun of the House Un-rnAmerican Activities Committee because they hatedrntheir country; conservatives defended the committeernbecause they had already appropriated the Jacobinleftistrnview of America as an idea and not a nation.rnOnce that door is opened, then all the Henry Luce-rnJohn F. Kennedy-Bill Bennett bunkum about thisrnglorious democracy comes bursting in like a legionrnof devils to occupy what had once been a nation.rnI’his truly is the ,’merican Century, a century ofrnequal sla’er- for all, of gulags and gas chambers, ofrnDresdens and Kosovos, a century in which the realrnfilings of everyday life are replaced by sham liberty,rnsham equality, and sham human rights. “Shine perishingrnrepublic.”rn—Humpty Dumptyrn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn