Link to Sponsoring Departments Plundering of the Iraqi Natiional Museum

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 20, 2006
Latest Update: February 20, 2006

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Greg wrote in Message No.

Let me ask you this: when it comes to rebuilding a country that has been plundered by its previous rule (which Iraq had been), the most important thing to protect is not a museum, it is the way the country makes money. Because of Iraq's nearly one-string economy, the Oil Ministry is far more important. And, BTW, the museum was not plundered. A few pieces were taken. Most of the collection had already been moved to protect it.

. . .

I do feel that we should not have bailed out the airlines and I do not support corporate welfare (or welfare of any kind), though we do not have the largest percentage of corporate welfare (look at subisidies in Western Europe). And we don't borrow money from Communist China. Defecit spending is financed by the sale of government bonds (which I know is a form of borrowing), but most bonds are held by people within the United States and Western Europe.

kathleen's response

Randy's response

jeanne's response: We need to identify sources OR to clearly state that we have no sources and are expressing feelings or our own beliefs. That is paramount to any fruitful discussion in which no one acts as controlling authority. Where do you get such sources. Try googling. On Greg's statement of " the museum was not plundered. A few pieces were taken. Most of the collection had already been moved to protect it", I googled plundered and "Iraqi National Museum, from which I located the following:

  • The Iraqi National Museum and International Law: A Duty to Protect By Wayne Sandholtz, "Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine. Grants from the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of California, Irvine and from the National Science Foundation (SES-0094550) supported parts of the research for this study." This source suggests that, indeed, the museum was plundered. This is a pdf file, you'll need to either use the Adobe Acrobat Reader or use the html source provided on Google.

  • U.S.: We didn't anticipate looting Tuesday, April 15, 2003 Posted: 11:59 AM EDT (1559 GMT):

    "DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- Senior U.S. military officials have admitted Iraqi museums were plundered during a "void in security" and that they failed to anticipate Iraq's cultural riches would be looted by its own people.

    "Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said Tuesday that forces entering Baghdad were involved in "very intense combat," and in removing the regime and conducting military operations, a "vacuum" was created.

    "I don't think anyone anticipated that the riches of Iraq would be looted by the Iraqi people. And indeed it happened in some places" including the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, he told reporters at U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar.

    "He said that while "it may be after the fact" it remained important to restore institutions and retrieve as many items as possible.

    " . . .

    "In an interview with CNN, a leading academic in Britain said Tuesday that U.S. and British authorities were aware of the possibility that museums throughout Iraq could be looted and damaged during warfare and "action should have been taken" to avert the pillaging.

    "Robert Springborg said that "proper authorities were duly informed" by art historians, archaeologists and other scholars about the "possibility of this occurrence." These includes the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which urged protection of the country's cultural treasures.

    "He said they were informed that occupying powers under the Geneva Conventions must protect cultural properties. Powell vowed to try to retrieve Iraqi museum pieces looted during the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

    "It is not for lack of "knowledge that this occurred," said Springborg, director of the London Middle East Institute in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

    "The ransacking of the National Museum of Iraq, in particular, speaks of a "profound breakdown" in communications between authorities in Washington and soldiers in the field or "something inexplicable." He said the museum is about one of the five greatest in the world.

    " 'Springborg said there was some structural damage to museums during the fighting and the looting took place "after the guns had fallen more or less silent.'

    " 'He said the looting was done by two kinds of people -- the very poor and those who were "well-informed" about the cultural treasures who went into "vaults themselves to find particular objects.' "

    Site consulted on February 20, 2006.

  • Jim Clancy: Museum 'shattered' by looters Wednesday, April 16, 2003 Posted: 10:11 AM EDT (1411 GMT)CNN story by Jim Clancy.
    "CLANCY: We talked to some people, the directors of the museum here in Baghdad.

    "It's the Iraqi National Museum -- 500,000 years of history, the most complete timeline of civilization that existed in any museum in the world.

    "It is shattered, it is smashed.

    "The curators of the museum led reporters through it today on a bit of a media tour. They showed us the places that had been broken down when thousands of looters went in.

    " . . .

    "We saw many things that had been smashed, doors hacked in. We saw that entire archives of the history of archaeology in this country over the past century had been taken away.

    "Other than a professional job, there have been rumors that U.S. Marines were involved in this, opening the doors to the museum.

    "I talked to the one man today who was actually there when the looters plundered the building. He said the Marines were absolutely not involved in any way.

    "The Marines did come briefly, firing over the heads of the looters, he said. The looters left, but came back when the Marines departed and cleaned up the job, devastating the museum.

    "The extent of damage still not known, but there is a lot of anger, because as Dr. Donny George, the director of antiquities said, there were promises it was going to be otherwise."

    Site consulted on February 20, 2006.

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