Besides the cost of human lives in Iraq, Chalmers Johnson eulogizes for the lost artifacts and antiquities looted from the museums and institutes of Iraq. Heartbreaking:
The torching of books and manuscripts in the Library of Korans and the National Library was in itself a historical disaster of the first order. Most of the Ottoman imperial documents and the old royal archives concerning the creation of Iraq were reduced to ashes…. [A]bout a million books and ten million documents were destroyed by the fires of April 14, 2003.
The looting and destruction is well-known (as well as the preservation of the oil facilities). I just pause because it illustrates such a gross disregard for history. Not just the decades past and where the U.S. has put allegiances or changed them or our current reputation. But disregard for the ‘cradle of civilization’ that Iraq was – the foundation of who we all are – the stories and poems and art and hopes that propelled us. I can’t imagine being an archaeologist and trying to negotiate between countries, treaties or borders that the past is worth saving – regardless of who currently owns the land it is buried in. It must be so damned frustrating.