Sunday, September 24, 2006

Osama bin Laden, a modern Hannibal?

Spurred by two TV shows about two famous people, I came to the conclusion that Osama bin Laden's history has a lot in common with the one of Hannibal Barca, the Carthaginian general, just as the history and technological development of the US has a lot in common with the Roman Empire.
Think about it!
Hannibal was born in Carthage, but he left it when he was nine years old. He hated the Romans with all his being and when he attacked their empire (which then span the Italian peninsula) he did it by hitting targets deep within their teritory. Using innovative strategy, he defeated the strong Roman army by using its flaws: size, but no coordination; force, but not precision. With a small mercenary army that also used elephants, he surrounded the huge Roman army and destroyed it. He then demanded support from Carthage, in order to siege and capture Rome, but the politicians of that state decided that it would be safer to not antagonize the Roman Empire and didn't sent support. Powerless to set siege to Rome, Hannibal could do nothing but watch how the Romans build another army which will then defeat him. In order to avoid capture, after years of exile, he commited suicide.
Osama didn't leave Saudi Arabia from childhood, but he was exposed to the teachings of returned exiled teachers, who brought different ideas. He came to hate the Americans and when he attacked them, he struck deep within their teritory. Using innovative strategy he defeated the US antiterrorism machine by using their flaws: size, but no coordination; force, but bureaucracy. With the smallest of terrorist groups that also used air elephants (heh, I stretched it out a bit, but it holds), he struck a major blow to the confidence of the US. He then demanded support from the Arabic nations, which decided to not antagonize the American Empire. We all know what happened to the ones that did. Powerless to continue his campaign, Osama watched as the US machine learned from its mistakes, rebuilt it's antiterror army and then defeated him. After years of exile, he dies, avoiding capture through death.
Now, what it even more interesting is that Hannibal's actions led to the expansion of the Roman Empire into Iberia and Carthage and the refining of their army and war strategy. This eventually led to the Roman Empire conquering so much and becomnig the most famous and technologically advanced civilisation of its time. Carthage was completely raised from the surface of earth, destroyed by Romans and plowed clean. If we were to continue these parallels, the American Empire should now have a more powerful and precise war machine, it should conquer or at least neutralize any threat from the Arab nations, then proceed on conquering the world. Some poor country should take the blame, as Carthage did for Hannibal, and be completely ravaged by war. Does it sound familiar? Brrrr...

Other related links from people that had similar ideas:

There are even more links, in total Google showed 573 links that contained Osama bin Laden, Hannibal and not L*ecter. But since people spell Osama differently, others make it clear that it's not the guy from the movie, thus causing false positives and there are a lot of sites that just enumerate famous people, the count cound be completely different.
Happy thinking!