Sick of It All

Probing into an apparently bottomless political cesspool leaves the whole country feeling dirty

Rome finally fell to the barbarians because of its decadence. Modern Italians are learning that history can repeat itself. Their proud and prosperous country is in decline and free fall because of some nasty vices familiar to the Caesars: greed, complacency and a betrayal of trust by those on whom it was conferred. Last year the ignominious ouster of the lira from Europe's exchange-rate mechanism told Italians that their economy was not as resilient as they once thought. Then they were forced to confront the power of the Mafia. And for 18 agonizing months they have been discovering that the crooks...

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