What caused the cultural desecration in Iraq?

Gray Brechin, environmental historian and author of Imperial San Francisco sent the following letter to the San Francisco Chronicle. It raises some disturbing questions about the recent sack of Bagdad.


Because of the unconscionable callousness or outright malice of the Bush
yahoos, what we knew about Mesopotamian civilization a few days ago is
about all that we will or can ever know. Joan Ryan asks precisely the
question that the civilized world wants answered: "Why no tank at the
doors?" Prior to the attack on Iraq, the Chronicle reported that leading
archaeologists warned the U.S. of the probability of looting of museums and
of the many world-class sites throughout the country. If the National
Museum can be looted and Baghdad's libraries and archives burned while U.S.
soldiers stand aside, then those unique sites are being pillaged right now.

In the last week, we have seen acts of cultural desecration equivalent to
the burning of the Alexandrian Library and the sack of Constantinople by
the Fourth Crusade. Like Ryan and much of the world, I find it hard to
believe that this outrage was simply an unfortunate accident. We are all
now complicit in one of history's epochal acts of barbarism.


Gray Brechin