The West is not going to ride to the rescue. Neither will anyone else. (Well, maybe the Kurds will. They’re among the very best people in the Middle East. For so many reasons.)
But the impulse is there, isn’t it? At least a little bit? Who can witness this sort of thing and just shrug it off? Human life is more important than buildings, of course, but the Temple of Bel is not “just a building.” It isn’t a gas station. It isn’t a Wal-mart. It belongs to the heritage of mankind. Even Bashar al-Assad’s gangster regime is genuinely shocked and appalled.
In March of 2001, the Taliban destroyed the ancient Buddha statues at Bamiyan. They used dynamite. They used anti-aircraft guns. It took them weeks of dedicated effort, but they finally got the job done.
They destroyed those statues for one reason only: they were not Islamic.
One of my best friends was so aghast he told me that the United States should invade Afghanistan. I said he was nuts. We’re not going to invade a country on the other side of the planet because some primitive yahoos blew up some statues. And I was right. We did not invade of Afghanistan because some primitive yahoos blew up some statutes.
But I’ll never forget what he said next.
People who commit cultural genocide will mass-murder humans. War is inevitable.
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