We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the un-appropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend. — John Maynard Keynes
Inventing, and destroying, the wheel
Speaking of consequences, as the Bush Administration and its "coalition of the willing" (Spain, Britain and the ever-powerful Bulgaria) prepare to bomb massively the cradle of civilization, do they have any idea what they will be obliterating? It all started there -- the wheel, writing, cities, empires, right there in Mesopotamia ("Between-the-Rivers," i.e., the Tigris & Euphrates that frame Baghdad). It's like killing your own mother, except worse: like killing your own mother while you're still attached at the umbilical cord. Oh, well. This is probably just sentimental nonsense. We can probably level Baghdad and obliterate every sign of our ancient heritage without feeling any loss. Except, that strange twinge, a twitch in a phantom limb. So they gave us the beginning of civilization. Fine. We've got it, we've ballooned it into a massive world-wide system, and learned to use it to destroy far more effectively than those ancient charioteers with the braided beards. And we don't need them any more. Funny, though. I think I just heard somebody say that same thing about us.