Saturday, April 12, 2003

Cultural Casualties of War

The looting in Baghdad is really starting to piss me off. (note: I've been told recently that I'm always pissed off about something. Perhaps Plucky is a misnomer?) We were immediately able to secure the oil wells in Iraq. The president even specifically asked Iraqis not to destroy them, because they were "wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people". But stores, offices, hospitals, schools? Even, god help us, the museum? Go ahead, angry mob, help yourself.

Robbing history itself, thieves pillaged the Iraq National Museum, stealing or destroying artifacts going back 7,000 years predating even Babylon. The loss resonated through Baghdad and around the world.

"This is Iraq's civilization," said a tearful museum employee. "And it's all gone now." At Emory University in Atlanta, historian Gordon Newby said: "This is just one of the most tragic things that could happen for our being able to understand the past."

The looting isn't just annoying. It's also, if I may put on my tinfoil cap for a moment, suspiciously convienent.

The looting of the Baghdad bureaucracy raised concerns that any documents tied to Iraqi chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs might disappear along with all the treasures.

Our "unoccupying force" (you know, like 7up is the "unCola") needs to take care of this. Perhaps we are finding out that rebuilding a nation is not entirely as easy as we thought it would be?

No comments: