BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city not by bombs but by blast walls and Humvees since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
The city’s government issued its demands in a statement on Wednesday that said Baghdad’s infrastructure and aesthetics have been seriously damaged by the American military.
“The U.S. forces changed this beautiful city to a camp in an ugly and destructive way, which reflected deliberate ignorance and carelessness about the simplest forms of public taste,” the statement said.
Of course we changed their city in ugly and destructive ways. Or course we displayed deliberate ignorance and carelessness about the simplest forms of public taste. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. Take a look at what we’ve done to our own landscape, peacefully and of our own free will:
This is a country that produced McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dancing with the Stars, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Jersey Shore, Eminem and the people who love him, and Lady Gaga. These things aren’t just tasteless excretions at the fringes of our culture. These things are our culture, the Gothic cathedrals of a trashy, consumerist age where everything is for sale and nothing is built to last. We’re a people who eagerly gather around the television on Super Bowl Sunday to watch commercials, for Christ’s sake. Our entire country is becoming a vast, generic strip mall that’s increasingly devoid of character and individuality. Most of us, having spent our entire lives in this environment, don’t even realize there’s anything wrong with that.
We are, as the saying goes, a people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
Call me cynical, but I don’t think appeals to our aesthetic sensibilities are likely to gain much traction.