Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Barbarism: Baghdad Museum sacked as US Marines guard Oil Ministry
'The United States was fiercely criticized around the world yesterday for its failure to protect Baghdad's Iraq National Museum where, under the noses of US troops, looters stole or destroyed priceless artifacts up to 7,000 years old... In Iraq itself, art experts and ordinary demonstrators made clear they were far angrier at President George Bush than they were at the looters, noting that the only building US forces seemed genuinely interested in protecting was the Ministry of Oil.'

'Not a single pot or display case remained intact, according to witnesses, after a 48-hour rampage at the museum – perhaps the world's greatest repository of Mesopotamian culture.'

'Dr Jeremy Black a specialist on ancient Iraq at Oxford University, said: "What has befallen Baghdad and Mosul museums was foreseen by archaeologists worldwide. Meetings were even held with the American military before the war to warn of the extreme likelihood of looting should an invasion occur. Sadly, however, the occupying forces failed to implement in practical terms the measures to protect Iraq's and the world's cultural heritage"... A Chicago law professor, Patty Gerstenblith of the DePaul School, said the rampage was "completely inexcusable and avoidable".'

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