Thursday, April 17, 2003

I think this may be my last piece on the looting for now

Iraqi clerics seem to be shaming people into returning at least some of their ill gotten gains. Plus, we may have a Lysistrata project that even Brooke would support, even if I doubt it is really happening much. (And yes, I suppose I should challenge the patriarchal assumption that it is the men doing the looting, and acknowledge that if this is not so the whole idea is ridiculous, but I think in this case it actually is men doing the looting.
And that is not to their credit).

Update: Slate has a piece - not at all complimentary to the administration - on the looting and the efforts to prevent it (or not).

If, like me, you know little about Mesopotamian art, the reports that emerged over the weekend might have found you unable to judge just how significant the loss was. By now it's clear that it's horrifically extensive: Archaeologists in the United States consider the National Museum of Antiquities, thoroughly sacked, to be among the 10 most important museums in the world. It was to Mesopotamian art what the Louvre is to Western painting.

The Pentagon has defended its non-action by saying that it agreed to protect the sites during battle, as distinct from any looting that came afterward. Splitting hairs, anyone? The United States could easily have done more to stop the ransacking. The looting of the museum began on Friday; it extended, according to a BBC radio report, for three days, at which point there still were no guards posted outside the building. Numerous newspapers quote Iraqi citizens who saw American patrols impassively watch as looters carted away vases, jewelry, pots, and other goods. The Guardian reported on Monday that U.S. Army commanders had just rejected a new plea from desperate officials of the Iraq Museum for aid.

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