Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Iraqi Museum, and the casualty count

Arvin posts about the looting of the Iraqi Museum, here.

referencing this Asia Times article(via Invisible Library.)

The plunder of Iraq's treasures
By Humberto Marquez
CARACAS - One million books, 10 million documents and 14,000 archaeological artifacts have been lost in the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq - the biggest cultural disaster since the descendants of Genghis Khan destroyed Baghdad in 1258, Venezuelan writer Fernando Baez told Inter Press Service (IPS).
"US and Polish soldiers are still stealing treasures today and selling them across the borders with Jordan and Kuwait...

Which reminded me:

I have occasionally wondered if perhaps the reason that the US plan for establishing order in Iraq in 2003 was so lackadaisical was because they were getting feedback from the field that civilian casualties were much, much worse than they'd expected, and they decided that the only way to avoid being made to account for this was to allow the ministry of information to be ransacked. And in order to not have that seem too obvious, they'd just have too appear short-handed all around. (Well, except when it came to the oil ministry, of course.)

I have to believe that Saddam probably kept pretty good records, and if they still existed, sooner or later the foreign press would've asked about them, embarassing the US press into (eventually) asking for a reckoning of who was missing too.

additional link: "Uday Hussein and the ministry of Culture and Information"