Thursday, April 15, 2004
choose your style: neoclassical | blue | modern | nouveau

Hearts and Minds

Rahul Mahajan describes American soldiers as they ignore the caretaker's pleas ("We can help you. We can have custodians unlock the doors") to trash a thousand-year-old mosque.

The way the soldiers searched for illicit arms in the ceiling was first to spray the ceiling with gunfire, then break out a panel and go up and search. They even went and rifled through students' exam papers. A feeble old man with a limp who is a 'guard' at the mosque (actually a poor man with a large family who is given housing by the imam of the mosque) was hit in the head with a rifle butt and then kicked when he was down -- all because he was a little slow in answering the door.

Now, make all the allowances you want for partisanship, for anti-Americanism, for whatever: this is bad news. The first time I visited London, I was struck by the lasting bitterness that's still commemorated on plaques all over the City. "Built by Christopher Wren. Destroyed by the barbarians, 1942."

Hearts and Minds
a statue in Maastricht

One of the strangest facets of current administration policy, it seems to me, is a determined effort to do and say things that are un-American, that seem calculated to make Americans feel ashamed of themselves. Cui bono?