View Full Version : Things lost (Iraq)

04-18-2003, 01:45 PM
From Independent.co.uk:
Iraq's scavengers have thieved and destroyed what they have been allowed to loot and burn by the Americans and a two-hour drive around Baghdad shows clearly what the US intends to protect. After days of arson and pillage, here's a short but revealing scorecard. US troops have sat back and allowed mobs to wreck and then burn the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information. They did nothing to prevent looters from destroying priceless treasures of Iraq's history in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and in the museum in the northern city of Mosul, or from looting three hospitals.

The Americans have, though, put hundreds of troops inside two Iraqi ministries that remain untouched and untouchable because tanks and armoured personnel carriers and Humvees have been placed inside and outside both institutions. And which ministries proved to be so important for the Americans? Why, the Ministry of Interior, of course with its vast wealth of intelligence information on Iraq and the Ministry of Oil. The archives and files of Iraq's most valuable asset its oilfields and, even more important, its massive reserves are safe and sound, sealed off from the mobs and looters, and safe to be shared, as Washington almost certainly intends, with American oil companies.
More (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=396997)

Robert Fisk: Library books, letters and priceless documents are set ablaze in final chapter of the sacking of Baghdad
15 April 2003

So yesterday was the burning of books. First came the looters, then the arsonists. It was the final chapter in the sacking of Baghdad. The National Library and Archives _ a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq _ were turned to ashes in 3,000 degrees of heat. Then the library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowment was set ablaze.

I saw the looters. One of them cursed me when I tried to reclaim a book of Islamic law from a boy of no more than 10. Amid the ashes of Iraqi history, I found a file blowing in the wind outside: pages of handwritten letters between the court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the Ottoman rulers of Baghdad.

And the Americans did nothing. All over the filthy yard they blew, letters of recommendation to the courts of Arabia, demands for ammunition for troops, reports on the theft of camels and attacks on pilgrims, all in delicate hand-written Arabic script. I was holding in my hands the last Baghdad vestiges of Iraq's written history. But for Iraq, this is Year Zero; with the destruction of the antiquities in the Museum of Archaeology on Saturday and the burning of the National Archives and then the Koranic library, the cultural identity of Iraq is being erased. Why? Who set these fires? For what insane purpose is this heritage being destroyed?

When I caught sight of the Koranic library burning _ flames 100 feet high were bursting from the windows _ I raced to the offices of the occupying power, the US Marines' Civil Affairs Bureau. An officer shouted to a colleague that "this guy says some biblical [sic] library is on fire". I gave the map location, the precise name _ in Arabic and English. I said the smoke could be seen from three miles away and it would take only five minutes to drive there. Half an hour later, there wasn't an American at the scene _ and the flames were shooting 200 feet into the air.

More (http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=397350)

From Billingsgazette.com:

Experts from museums, universities and research institutes in the Middle East, in London, Paris and Chicago, have tried to make the world understand the magnitude of what has been lost.

Add to their ranks a parish priest from the plains of Eastern Montana. The Rev. Joseph Ponessa, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Glendive and St. Peter and St. Philip churches in Wibaux, said the cultural losses in Iraq should be of concern to everyone, not just the people of Iraq...

...Ponessa said some of the looting was the work of professional art thieves, while much of the destruction and wanton pillaging was done by Kurdish allies of the United States and by Shiite Muslims, the victims of persecution under the reign of Saddam Hussein, now exacting their revenge.

From the perspective of Iraqis and other Arabs, Ponessa said, the worst of the damage was probably the burning of Baghdad's National Library, home to one of the oldest surviving copies of the Quran. The American equivalent would be the destruction of the Library of Congress, he said...

...The greatest damage might have been done by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who referred to the looting and rioting in Iraq as "untidiness." By pooh-poohing the problem, Ponessa said, "Rumsfeld incited the country to riot."

...The New York Newsday reported in mid-March that leading scholars had urged armies and governments to protect archaeological sites and museums in Iraq, and they specifically warned of the dangers of looting.

Ponessa said the troops aren't to blame because they were doing the best they could in a huge country at war. But their commanders, he said, "failed to follow through on the rules of engagement" recommended by scholars and archaeologists.
More (http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2003/04/17/build/war/32-robbed.inc)

Add to this: The hospitals have been looted and stripped; the educational infrastructure of Iraq has been destroyed (for the first time since A.D. 1230, no one will graduate from college in Iraq this year); the banks have been robbed, looted and all of the hard and electronic records have been lost. This unnecessary war has cost the Iraqis nearly everything. War as philanthropy my foot.

04-18-2003, 02:23 PM
well, all i can say is: you are absolutely right, i think the americans didn't think the iraqi people would start stealing and destroying (the museum) stuff

04-18-2003, 02:51 PM
I find the title of that first source rather amusing... "Independent" :lol: Sure, no bias there... :rolleyes: