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The Looting Of Iraq’s Priceless Treasures: Who Is Responsible?

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posted on Jun, 27 2007 @ 10:28 AM

US Marines are doing this without orders, and
it is being done by the Iraqi's too.

On April 8, 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair declared, "We reaffirm our commitment to protect Iraq's natural resources, as the patrimony of the people of Iraq, which should be used only for their benefit." In this they were true to their word. Among the few places American soldiers actually did guard during and in the wake of their invasion were oil fields and the Oil Ministry in Baghdad. But the real Iraqi patrimony, that invaluable human inheritance of thousands of years, was another matter. At a time when American pundits were warning of a future "clash of civilizations," our occupation forces were letting perhaps the greatest of all human patrimonies be looted and smashed.

There have been many dispiriting sights on TV since George Bush launched his ill-starred war on Iraq -- the pictures from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah laid waste, American soldiers kicking down the doors of private homes and pointing assault rifles at women and children. But few have reverberated historically like the looting of Baghdad's museum -- or been forgotten more quickly in this country.

According to Van Dyke, some of the material in the Museum included the excavations at Ur, the law tablets of Hammurabi, the Ram in the Thicket statue, Islamic manuscripts, gold items and jewelry, and the cuneiform tablets that include stories such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the exodus of Abraham.

The American policy makers have till today made little or no attempt to ensure the security of the vast Iraqi treasures, and as seen in the appalling photograph above, tacitly turned a blind eye to the pillage that is taking place. Thousands of years of human history and Iraq’s cultural heritage have been destroyed forever. Is this a conspiracy to destroy a civilization, incompetence, or a couldn’t care less attitude? Whatever, the moot question is….



[edit on 27-6-2007 by mikesingh]

posted on Jun, 27 2007 @ 10:36 AM

Originally posted by mikesingh
The Looting Of Iraq’s Priceless Treasures: Who Is Responsible?

You quote a radical left wing site ... that is promoting Michael Moore no less ... and insinuate that America is stealing 'national treasures'.

Sorry .. but ...

It is a known fact that many of the treasures in the museums there were robbed by IRAQI thieves in the first year or so after liberation from Saddam. Americans moved some treasures so that they wouldn't be destroyed or stolen.

The Iraqis called them Ali-babas. (yes, after the story)

You claim that the marines in the picture are moving the treasures 'without orders'. WHo says so? That radical left wing source you quoted? And if they are moving the treasures 'without orders' why insinuate that they are being stolen?

You are also quoting texts that are over four years old. How old is that picture. Was that taken in the first year after liberation .. when Americans helped move some treasures to safer spots (and have now been put back)??

Find some CREDIBLE source ... and something UP TO DATE please.

posted on Jun, 27 2007 @ 11:42 AM

Originally posted by FlyersFan
It is a known fact that many of the treasures in the museums there were robbed by IRAQI thieves in the first year or so after liberation from Saddam. Americans moved some treasures so that they wouldn't be destroyed or stolen.

Ok, LIZ. I know you're a patriot! But let's face facts. First year or last, the treasures were stolen. So let's not split hair on this. Whether it's an act of commission or omission, the fact is that the museums have been laid bare.

The US has been accused of violating the Hague Convention, which states that cultural property must be protected in the event of armed conflict. That is a criminally punishable offence, which is why Washington has not signed the convention, or the 1999 protocol attached to it. And perhaps it is one reason the administration of George W Bush is seeking immunity for its soldiers. But it is not only the United States; the rest of the coalition forces are also guilty.

According to what you imply, it was Iraqi civilians and not US soldiers who looted libraries and museums.

But it was the US Army that was criminally negligent for failing in its duty to protect libraries, museums and archaeological sites despite clear warnings from UNESCO, the UN, the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute and the former head of the US president's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, Martin Sullivan. The Iraqis who went out to loot interpreted the negligence as a green light to act without restraint.

Not only omission for failing to check the loot, there was also direct destruction and looting. In Nassiria in May 2004, a year after the formal end of hostilities, during fighting with [Shi'ite cleric] Muqtada al-Sadr's militants, 40,000 religious manuscripts were destroyed in a fire [set by the coalition forces]. And when soldiers found out that the Sumerian city of Ur [in southern Iraq] was the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, they took ancient bricks as souvenirs.

Forget the time-line. The fact is that priceless treasures were stolen from Iraq under the very nose of coalition forces, with or without tacit approval from the powers that be.

And whether that's a left wing or right wing paper I quoted, the facts are there for all to see. One cannot hide the truth with semantics!

posted on Jun, 27 2007 @ 08:09 PM

But it was the US Army that was criminally negligent for failing in its duty to protect libraries
I'm very concerned about Iraque artifacts and I have read several articles concerning what happened durring and after the attack. None were anywhere near as alarmist as your article!
Let me guess, were the 40,000 religeous documents modern copies of the Koran?

posted on Jul, 3 2007 @ 08:07 AM
The Occupation is responsible because it was we who collectively decided (under Paul Bremer) to abolish the Iraqi police force…
and we are responsible because we replaced them with only a few thousand troops and who were preoccupied: with other things like rooting out the resistance, a few thousand were assigned to trying to find non-existent WMD’s, and many others were ordered to spend huge amounts of time in their barracks-bases in part because of Rumsfeld apparent political need to keep the troop death count low.
Because of this there was literally not a single troop asked to guard places like Iraq’s national library, and subsequently books and scrolls (some over 2000 years old) were allowed to set alight by looters and vandals.

To be fair: The justification we gave for the mass sacking of Iraq’s police force was that they used torture and stuff (though the new police force also does this, (perhaps even more) and is in addition highly infiltrated with kidnappers, terrorists and other criminals).

Also to be fair: We are responsible for the bulk of terrorism in Iraq because by abolishing the police force we created a need for Iraqi civilians to form “neighbourhood protection squads”. Because of the nature of the people who are attracted to them (i.e. prepared to put their lives on the line for their community) these groups quickly-inevitably became politicised. They also joined up with each other as firstly there is strength in numbers.
These politicized protection squads quickly became terrorists groups, or at least acted as naturally rich recruiting grounds.

The nature of these groups was not helped by the fact that Muslim fundamentalists no longer oppressed by Saddam (or anything like any government capable of holding the country together with its powers) quickly started promoting, and once more trying to impose their religious views on unwilling secular Arabs. Doing things like kidnapping, and even disembowelling secular Arab women, who dare to wear Western clothing, or drink alcohol is bound to create a backlash which it did. And this backlash is the vicious civil war we see Iraq in today.

The amazing thing is that America was warned throughout its choices about they’re likely consequences, they have even been warned by history, or events like Hurricane in Katrina in America where without a police force American people (mostly poor blacks) quickly behaved like savages i.e. looting, shooting and raping each other. And this is a western nature only with two weeks without law and order. Americans seriously need to stop looking down on Iraqis and realise how they themselves behave in Iraq type situations.

As for that photo: Like Flyer’s Fan says its from a radical left wing site. However if those troops are protecting Iraq’s artefacts then that’s a first, I would hardly be surprised if they weren’t a little tempted to put a little gold in their pockets, or perhaps just bury it. However most of the looting (like nearly all) was indeed done by ordinary working class Iraqi criminal types, and although it is true many Iraqi artefacts have illegally found their way into collectors hands in America, it is also true they have found they’re way into many European and Arab countries who had no part in this stupid war (i.e. the artefacts are going wherever the market carries them).

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