Friday, 14 April 2006

The Barbarian Ruling Class

Why Barbarian?

In the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a barbarian is defined as lacking refinement, learning, or artistic or literary culture

Lacking any sense of proportion

To say I was astonished does not begin to help convey my utter disgust and annoyance at the invasion of Iraq, having read that some colonel in the US marines has offered to apologise for wrecking Babylon.
We have time and time again analysed beyond minutiae the circumstances and situation that lead to that expedition which is now supposed to cost the US anything from $400 million to $1.2 billion – well, we should just acquiesce that that is the price of marketing and selling democracy to the indecisive.
Cost the Iraqi War 
Dated without provenance
However, we can go back to when Donald Rumsfeld referred to the Old Europe opposition to the Iraqi escapade in juxtaposition with the New Europe “Coalition of the Coerced and Befuddled” that were in support of that exercise.
It is now indicative of the fact that many in leadership have no sense of history, moment or occasion as they bumble through in an air of modernity forgetting the Genesis of people, events and ideas that have brought us to these modern times.
It transpired that the First Marine Expeditionary Force under the command of Colonel Coleman (also of Fallujah fame) arrived in Babylon, occupied the area, built a helipad amongst the ruins of Great Babylon and used the historical artefacts lying around for their sandbags.
Conserving our history validates our present
It is amazing that the officer corps and the political class of our modern age in the name of egalitarian values is now crowded with “Now” people.
There was a time when people of privilege and class occupied the majority of the British Officer Corps; only recently Prince Harry of Wales graduated from the elite Sandhurst.
Now, before you throttle me, hear me out, these people had a decent education either formally or by association having an appreciation of history, circumstance, adventure and loyalty.
If you had set any of those within a setting as Babylon, much as the immediate concern is for military security and protection, a good few men would have to assigned to protect and conserve ancient artefacts to be preserved and probably exported to safety in the home country.
What is now known as plunder was then a service to humankind and many of those origin-countries have gained political and economic stability, the treasures have been returned to their home countries to be observed and conversed in their purpose-built centres of art or museums.
Graceless hot shots
However, now we have people trained up to be effective killing-machines, the strong-arm of cascading our brand of civilisation and freedom that probably have never heard of the historical and ancient importance of Babylon.
How much faith we have put in the gun, thinking it can solve all problems, but the hard lessons of Iraq has forced the Goliaths to soft-pedal on dealing with nuclear Iran.
That has not prevented the same Iraqi rhetoric from hitting our newswires; the idea that the UN Security Council is in danger of irrelevance if it does not subscribe and succumb to the skewed view of American dominance.
I would say, the UN Security Council becomes irrelevant if it allows itself to be bullied into situations that do not entertain majority global support.
Don’t if, Do!
Now, the said Colonel offers to apologise if the Iraqis demand an apology – my point, exactly – if the Colonel had really come to appreciate in any context what they did then, he would not be waiting for a request.
He would step forward, apologise unreservedly not only to Iraqis but in sense of understanding that Babylon is considered one of the cradles of human civilisation.
Unfortunately, like the barbarians of old, we have bred savages whose education consists primarily of the boot camp and target-practise, so incomplete in schooling that the treasures of humanity might end up being consigned to photographic evidence.
Along with the political class that has no dignity to step down gracefully, only one other recent event equates to their upbringing – the destruction of the great Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Our world is definitely poorer for the fact that we have these cretins in authority.
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