It seems strange, in the face of the human carnage of war, to be so concerned with the looting of 7,000 years of art and artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq. But this was not Saddam’s treasure, or even Iraq’s. This was humanity’s treasure, and it may be lost forever.
Is this the result of the ingorance of the US war planners? Probably not, since they consulted intensively with archaeology experts to ensure the bombers spared valuable antiquities sites. Their callousness? (Rumsfeld’s comment about post-war “untidyness.”) Their ineptitude? You decide. But it is tragic, a tragedy that does not yield well to measure.
(I remember my earliest reaction to the war drums last fall: Saddam has got to go, but I sure doubt the competence of this US government to do the job well.)


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