succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, April 17, 2003

From Salon:

"On April 10, a day after the Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed and Baghdad was in the hands of the U.S. military forces, the National Museum of Iraq was ransacked. And American troops did virtually nothing to prevent an historic cultural disaster."

I realize that preserving historical artifacts is pretty low on the priority list, when we're concerned with saving lives and providing food, water, and medical supplies. But I think we have to stop overlooking the long-term effects of our apparent complete disregard for Iraqi culture. When we bombed presidential palaces (something I am willing to concede was probably necessary if we really believed important, high-ranking officials were hiding out below them), the Iraqi people did not view that as the destruction of Saddam and his power. That was the destruction of their culture. The devastating effects of the loss of Iraqi culture can easily undermine America's attempts to gain support in the region. We cannot underestimate the influence of cultural respect (or lack thereof) on the final result of this thing.


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