Loss to the world

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by hii a_ooiioo_a, Apr 12, 2003.

  1. Irreplaceable losses

    Officials with crumpled spirits fought back tears and anger at American troops, as they ran down an inventory of the most storied items that they said had been carried away by the thousands of looters who poured into the museum after daybreak on Thursday and remained until dusk on Friday, with only one intervention by American troops, lasting about half an hour, at lunchtime on Thursday.

    Nothing remained, museum officials said, at least nothing of real value, from a museum that had been regarded by archaeologists and other specialists as perhaps the richest of all such institutions in the Middle East.

    As examples of what was gone, the officials cited a solid gold harp from the Sumerian era, which began about 3360 B.C. and started to crumble about 2000 B.C. Another item on their list of looted antiquities was a sculptured head of a woman from Uruk, one of the great Sumerian cities, dating from about the same era, and a collection of gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, also from the Sumerian dynasties and also at least 4,000 years old.

    But an item-by-item inventory of the most valued pieces carried away by the looters hardly seemed to capture the magnitude of what had occurred. More powerful, in its way, was the action of one museum official in hurrying away through the piles of smashed ceramics and torn books and burned-out torches of rags soaked in gasoline that littered the museum's corridors to find the glossy catalog of an exhibition of "Silk Road Civilizations" that was held in Japan's ancient capital of Nara in 1988.

    Turning to 50 pages of items lent by the Iraqi museum for the exhibition, he said that none of the antiquities pictured remained after the looting. They included ancient stone carvings of bulls and kings and princesses; copper shoes and cuneiform tablets; tapestry fragments and ivory figurines of goddesses and women and Nubian porters; friezes of soldiers and ancient seals and tablets on geometry; and ceramic jars and urns and bowls, all dating back at least 2,000 years, some more than 5,000 years.

    "All gone, all gone," he said. "All gone in two days."

    An archaeologist directed much of his anger at President Bush. "A country's identity, its value and civilization resides in its history," he said. "If a country's civilization is looted, as ours has been here, its history ends. Please tell this to President Bush. Please remind him that he promised to liberate the Iraqi people, but that this is not a liberation, this is a humiliation."
  2. yabz


    Earlier this year I had been thinking of going to Baghdad for a holiday, just to see what it was like before its possible destruction. Now I'm really regretting that I didn't.

    Perhaps now is a good time to go Tehran or Damascus which also have important museums, as it is looking increasingly likely that the same thing may happen there.
  3. talk about sour grapes

    is it a loss, yes- but have some perspective, for crying out loud.

    would you rather have museums fully intact and torture chambers fully intact right along side them?

    if a medic saves your life but has to amputate your leg below the knee in the process, do you curse him for the loss of your foot?

    and the same thing is NOT likely to happen in Tehran or Damascus because of a little thing called the learning curve. Other Arab dictators- ahem, I mean leaders- in the region aren't that stupid. State sponsorship of terrorism is on its way out the door, no thanks to those who would have us do nothing and let predators attack with greater and greater boldness.
  4. Where are all you militaristic altruistic heroes supposedly so vehemently opposed to regimes that commit torture when the United States and the CIA are supporting, arming and training those regimes?

    Pinochet is just one name, the tip of the iceberg. The Shah of Iran was propped up by the United States while he committed torture on his own people for 20 years. But when the people of Iran finally managed to overthrow the Shah, and wanted to bring him back to their own country to be put on trial for his crimes against his own people, the United States gave him assylum, and refused to return him to Iran to face trial for his crimes of torture. This is what caused the Iran Hostage situation in 1980. The Iranians didn't want to hurt any hostages. They just wanted the Shah to be brought back to stand trial.

    But when the United States makes an unsubstantiated allegation that a certain person is suspected of having planned an attack, and claims we want him captured "Dead or Alive", and the country allegedly harboring him says they refuse to release a man under those conditions without at least some concrete evidence linking him to the crime, what do we do? We fly in there with bombs, killing thousands.

    So, we can grant assylum to a man that we supported for 20 years in committing torture on thousands, perhaps millions, and we're the Good Guys and anyone who dares to demand that tyrant to be returned to stand trial is The Evil Guys. But if anyone other country dares stand firm in their rights of assylum until at the very least some real evidence is produced, well, guess who's the Good Guys, of course, justified to take any action they wish to achieve their ends. (p.s. after all that bombing and killing us infallible Good Guys still never managed to find the Dude)

    And where were you when Milosevic was committing undeniable systematic holocaust of the Bosnians? You were saying: "It doesn't concern us. It's not in the United States' national interest to get involved. We have no business intervening in a civil war of that country, it's their internal affair."
  5. I've heard of at least one case, a malpractice suit, where the doctor amputated the wrong leg.
  6. It's a shame, and I don't have any difficulty, as a war supporter, acknowledging that we probably could have done a lot better on this one. If the reports are accurate, a large number of items will remain irreparably damaged, or have been destroyed or lost forever. A small detachment of Marines could probably have prevented the events. On the other hand, it's not as though the Marines themselves did the looting - and it's also not clear whether the "mob event" hasn't, in effect, worked as a cover for a more sophisticated form of thievery, perhaps by fleeing Iraqi officials. An orderly surrender by the Iraqi army and government, or even by local authorities, might have prevented unnecessary harm to the Iraqi people and their possessions. This option had been available for days, if not months and years.

    In a satirical column, Andy Borowitz had Bush responding to the sacking of the museum with regret, but adding, “Together with our coalition partners, we will help the people of Iraq create new antiquities.” There's actually may be some truth to the joke, in that it's quite possible that many of Iraq's hundreds of important archaeological sites will be re-opened to excavation and research with modern techniques - not to mention tourism. I also suspect that, as order is restored, and systematic investigation becomes practicable, many items will be returned, recovered, or ransomed. Hospital equipment and other stolen items have already begun to be collected and returned.
  7. Some of them will be returned. Some of them were taken by those who cared to preserve them in hiding until they can be returned.

    Some of them are obviously destroyed, all the smashed ceramics on the ground, which might at best be glued together.

    Some of them will never be found.

    Some of them will be melted down for their gold and silver content.

    And some of them will end up through an international black market in the hands of wealthy collectors. Some of those wealthy collectors may be residents of the United States of America.

    What kind of safeguards or penalties do you propose for any American trafficking in looted Iraqi antiquities?
  8. Don't you mean to ask where we "were": Your iceberg is a generation old. As for where I was: I was organizing and participating in protests, and supporting and participating in Amnesty International, among other groups, and I don't regret it, although I realize I was frequently wrong, especially when accepting and spreading one-sided descriptions and analyses of particular situations. Where were you? Where have you been recently other than organizing protests on behalf of a regime whose crimes make Pinochet's and the Shah's look like minor league stuff.

    Keep on pushing that line, and see how far your movement gets in this country. Try to persuade us that, even before 9/11, Al Qaeda wasn't already responsible for crimes against America and its allies, and hadn't literally declared war on the U.S. Try to persuade Americans that U.S. intelligence pointing clearly to Al Qaeda's responsibility for 9/11, and its intentions to perform additional acts, hasn't been borne out far beyond a shadow of a doubt in the public record, including public statements by Al Qaeda members and 9/11 conspirators. While you're at it, try to explain why leaving the Taliban-Al Qaeda in charge in Afghanistan, with a huge segment of the population in danger of starvation and the rest surviving under almost unimaginably harsh and brutal repression, would have been better.

    Good luck.

    Hmm... let's see how did that one go again? Who was pushing for intervention, and who was staking their hopes on the UN and the European powers? Who finally got involved militarily and finally got Milosevic thrown out?

    Let's see if I've got this right: We're criminals for not having intervened in the Balkans early enough, but we're also criminals for having intervened in Iraq. We're criminals for having protected the Shah and Pinochet, but we're also criminals for having deposed the Taliban-Al Qaeda and Saddam. I suppose we're now criminals wherever we seek to engage and help to reform regimes with bad human rights records, but we're equally criminals where we refuse to deal with them, and, obviously, we're criminals when we act against them.

    You keep on re-fighting the battles of a generation ago, and using every historical event you can find in order to cast the worst possible light on US policy, no matter how insanely you contradict yourself, no matter how obviously you're merely seeking to attack the US, whatever it does, and see how far it gets you. Keep it up. Eventually, those who might be sympathetic to your cause will learn to ignore you completely, and help create a more useful opposition in this country, one that has more to offer than spite.
  9. While I regret the loss of these priceless historic treasures, I find it quite ironic that the same liberals/hippies/communists that so adamantly predicted a horrible military failure/quagmire/ second Viet Nam, are now moaning that we should have anticipated this quick victory, and should have made better plans to deal with Saddam's swift collapse.
  10. "it is regrettable" LIP SERVICE

    I'd rather have the museums intact and the torture chambers shut down. 1/2 a platoon could have gaurded that museum.

    That Iraq had countless archeological treasures and sites was not a secret. The museums and sites were carefully noted by military planners to avoid in airstrikes. So that they would not look bad. But there was no value to them in the aftermath of victory.

    Art and culture is unconnected to power for the Washington, especially under the control of republicans, who favor a trip to McDonalds over a trip to the museum, just like a lot of traders. The oilfields were properly protected and now gaurded. Why not the museum?

    It is reasonable to lament the loss of great cultural treasures. Looting of National treasures has been a hallmark of every conquest and invasion in history. That Rumsfeld, Bush, Franks and Assoc. did not take pains to safegaurd the Nationaal treasures reflects thier lack of concern for it. I think that the US should plan invasions and regime changes with full attention to history and posterity.
    #10     Apr 13, 2003