Only the demented

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:

Donald Trump’s threat to destroy the sites of ancient Persia should send a shiver down the spine of any civilised person. How can anything justify American bombing of Persepolis or the mosques of Isfahan? Only the demented can see them as “threatening America”. It is on the same ethical plane as the Islamic State vandalism of Palmyra and Mosul.

And the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, and other Islamists’ destruction of shrines in Timbuktu.

The destruction of cultural artefacts in war is specifically outlawed under the Hague convention of 1954 and subsequent protocols. It ranks with genocide, chemical weapons and the “strategic” bombing of civilians as beyond the pale of human behaviour. The US does not recognise most of these treaties as it concedes extraterritorial sovereignty, but it normally obeys them.

Retaliation against sites termed by Trump as “important to Iran & the Iranian culture” is a new escalation. Few hands are clean in this area of conflict. Britain’s terrorist bombing by the RAF against Germany in the second world war was blatantly aimed at historic towns. Arthur “Bomber” Harris, the head of RAF Bomber Command, held that destroying Germany’s heritage would break the enemy’s spirit and force it to surrender. That he – and Winston Churchill – thought bombing Lubeck, Nuremberg and Dresden would somehow persuade Adolf Hitler of the error of his ways shows only that war drives men insane. Hitler merely retaliated with the Baedeker raids on English cathedral cities.

Harris is born again in Trump. Nothing could be more calculated to bond Iranians to their leaders – and demand revenge – than the destruction of their history. Policy should be aimed at precisely the reverse, creating conditions in which opposition to the military/clerical regime can prosper and strengthen. Bombing Persepolis would not only be grotesque, it would be utterly counterproductive. It is the act of a belligerent personality craving war.

I don’t think he craves war, I think he craves Total Domination. He’s too brain-rotted to grasp that war is what he will get.

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