It started with a Donald J. Trump Tweet on January 4.
….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
There is a lot to consider about his orangeness’ latest knee-jerk reaction. My first question being, “What if the 53rd target is the one that puts the most Americans in danger?” Certainly, one of “his generals” told him a military strategy should be based on a desired outcome like eliminating any threat of American casualties or to U.S. assets, not because it is symmetrical to a 40 year old grievance.
The media, however, focused on the potential violation of international rules of engagement which prohibit the targeting of cultural assets. Even Trump’s own Secretary of State and Defense Department reminded him of this inconvenient truth. Still, the ignorer-in-chief doubled down, telling reporters aboard Air Force One returning from his holiday stay at Mar-a-Lago:
They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.
Never mind this threat and the killing of General Soleimani signaled an admission the use of economic sanctions had failed to bring the Iranians to their knees. In an effort to up the ante, Trump, in effect, was saying I’ll do something no one else has every been willing to do to achieve my objectives.
But Donny Boy, as much as you wish you were a pioneer in the field of cultural expunging, you are far behind the learning curve. All you have to do is travel or watch television to see the gradual transformation of cultural assets from icons of history or the arts to commercial props. During my recent trip to Milan, I did a double take upon spotting a Calvin Klein advertisement, at least 20 feet high, on the scaffolding surrounding the Duomo. (Maybe CK is considering a new fragrance by that name.) Or the location of a Starbucks Roastery Reserve in a historic building which had served as the city’s main post office for over a century. (What is it about post offices? Did Starbucks get the idea from Trump’s conversion of the old D.C. post office into a hotel and watering hole for Rudy, Lev and Igor?)
And how about the appropriation of music to promote products? It started with the California Raisins and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” How much is lost when we associate Donovan’s “Catch the Wind” with GE rather than the summer of love or the first date with a future spouse? Or what is so enchanting about shopping at Kohl’s just because their holiday commercial included The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic” in the background?
So Donald, maybe you should think twice about targeting Iran’s most celebrated antiquities. If, for example, you demolish the mausoleum of Imam Reza, among the most frequented tourist attraction in Iran, that would foreclose the possibility of eventually converting it into the Trump Tower Mashhad. So, please think twice before launching drone strikes on Iranian cultural sites. It’s not in your own self-interests.
For what it’s worth.