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The pluperfect is doing nicely

We classicists like to think that our subject is one of the great civilising disciplines, that it makes the people who study it better. Sadly for us, though, there is quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. A lot of us are arrogant, offensive and utterly assured of the rightness of our position. The

The hogs of war

Mercenaries make big money in Iraq but, says Sam Kiley, the ‘outsourcing’ of security work is adding to the chaos in the country They bustle through the Palestine Hotel lobby in central Baghdad clanking with military hardware. They have a very special look. The head is crew-cut, the sunglasses wraparound. A Heckler and Koch 9mm

The sound of rockets in the morning

Baghdad Twelve months after the war which was supposed to return Iraq to the ‘international community’, to open it up for democracy, trade and progress, Baghdad is a city almost totally cut off from the outside world. Not one of the four main roads linking the capital with its neighbours, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Kuwait,