The more I read about the looting of the museum and archive library in Baghdad the more disheartening it is. Most disturbing now are the reports that our civilian leaders were repeatedly forewarned about the possibility of looting and destruction of these historical treasures and still they chose to do nothing to protect it. I don't blame our military forces who were simply following their orders and doing their best to keep from being blown away by snipers and suicide bombers. But it would not have taken much to secure the museum the same way that the Bush folks had the Oil Ministry building secured.
I remember reading about the tragic torching of the ancient Greek library in Alexandria many thousands of years ago and of all the original works by Plato, Aristotle and others that were lost forever. I remember being disgusted by the ignorance of the invading armies that destroyed these priceless treasures. Of course, I never thought that such a tragedy would be repeated today.
There was one piece of good news I saw today in the Wall Street Journal - a report that some of the museum's most valuable artifacts had been hidden away in vaults for safekeeping before the bombing started. But the did not expect the rampant looting that occurred, and the damage that was done cannot be overstated. Some comentators have referred to it as a lobotomy of our worldwide cultural heritage.
But then the Bush administration's overriding concern has always been about how to secure money, oil and power and keep it for the privileged few. We are currently undergoing our own "looting" right here in the U.S. with the Bush adminstration trying to give away millions of acres of nationally protected parklands to oil, timber and mining interests and the slashing of federal and state programs for the poor and elderly to pay for massive tax cuts for the rich.
Some good news today! Republican Sen. Pete Fitzgerald of Illinois announced that he is not going to seek re-election in 2004. That should give Democrats a clear shot at another seat and put them a step closer to reclaiming control of the upper body of Congress. Fitzgerald, who is independently wealthy, said he was dissuaded by the amount of money he would need to raise for the race. No doubt he saw the writing on the wall and realized that few people would be willing to invest a great deal in a losing proposition. Illinois has been trending more Democratic lately and Fitzgerald was already at the top of the hit list.
Al Franken has a new book coming out this summer titled "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," which he describes as "a fair and balanced look at the right," I can't wait.
Some other books on my wish list include:
"What Liberal Media?" by Eric Alterman;
"The Clinton Wars" by Sidney Blumenthal;
"Big Lies: The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth" by Joe Conason;
"Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency" by Jake Tapper.
The Bush administration has just accused Syria
of developing "Weapons of Mass Destruction." In Bushspeak that means "prepare to be liberated." We still haven't found those elusive WMDs in Iraq, but it no longer matters. American's now support pre-emptive invasions of other countries by more than 70 percent as long as we can whup up on them real good and declare victory in less than a month. So Iraq wasn't really as big of a threat as we were led to believe, we can still feel good about ourselves for liberating the people from a horrible dictator.
Now that Saddam Hussein has vanished (just like Osama Bin Laden) we have to have a new enemy to focus on so everyone repeat after me --- "Bashar Assad the Demon of Damascus" Hey, that is kind of catchy. Pretty soon more than half the people in the U.S. will be convinced that the very survival of our way of life depends on our taking out Assad.