Apr 17, 2006
Along with all it's other tragedies and obscenities, war can bring destruction of priceless and irreplaceable treasures; part of the human legacy lost forever. The burning of the Great Library at Alexandria by Julius Caesar's troops; Napoleon's officers using the Sphinx for artillery practise (hence the ruined nose), the British shelling the Parthenon during their intervention in the Greek War of Independence; the list of such military stupidities is a long one.
Apparently as a species we're slow learners. The Americans, it seems, after the invasion of Iraq thought that the site of ancient Babylon would be a nifty place to build a military base. They've pretty well wrecked the place by driving big trucks around, landing helicopters, dumping gravel, even using archaeological debris to fill sand-bags.
You have to wonder what they were thinking. Is American education so bad that not one of the officers involved knew what the hell they were churning up. Didn't anyone say, "hey, this may not be such a good idea guys?"
A friend of mine has a theory which he claims explains unbelievable stupidities like this. He says that in the grand cosmic plan, this is the "special needs" planet. You get born here if you're "developmentally challenged." Keeps the rest of the universe more orderly. Hard to refute sometimes.
Links to the story of how the cowboys trashed Babylon;
from the Guardian
from the New Scientist