The Looting of Iraq's Heritage

Click here for a website that is acting as a clearinghouse for information about the looting of the Iraq museum.

 Illustration by Joshua Brown.  Click here to see his full series: Life During Wartime
(Illustration by Joshua Brown.)


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Clarence Mills - 10/14/2003

To me it is clear that you are the immature paranoid one, not Leckie. Infact, there are right wing propoganda machines, often called thinktanks. And to blame Sadam for the looting of the artifacts is absurd. Is he supposed to hang around in the capital waiting to be captured or killed by the U.S. army? Bill use a little common sense before resorting to using Bush's all purpose scapegoat.


Robert Smith - 5/17/2003

I know I'm a tad late on this thread, but I had to comment on Mr. Gallatin's comment. This country was not founded by academics. People well educated, yes. Academics, no. If you'd bother do study a little history, you'd find that one of the concerns of the founders (members of the Constitutional Convention), was avoiding the problem of the philosopher-king. Furthermore, the failure of Marxism/Socialism proves that the "Ruling Class," are incapable of making the appropriate decisions at the appropriate times to the appropriate degree.
Conversely, Federalism places the majority of the decision making at the level for which it is most appropriate. Also, while the members of the Convention were the elites of their time, the decision to accept or reject the new offering was made by the various state's legislatures. And these tended to be filled with farmers, tradesmen and "mechanics." Again, not academics.
Maybe, Mr. Gallatin should go back to class.


Thomas Gallatin - 4/24/2003


Thanks for taking time out from your courageous duties with the troops in Baghdad, Patricia, to make your uplifting and inspiring remarks. Incidentally, America was founded by academics who respected antiquities and ancient wisdom, not by Rush Limbaugh or Halliburton, Inc..


Frank Lee - 4/24/2003


I saw an article today which suggests that Rumsfeld didn't send in MPs to protect hospitals and museumms because they would have had to have been soon replaced by reservists and doing that would have been an admission that he (Rumy) had underestimated the size of the force needed for the mop-up phase. But if "commanders in the field" knew better, no doubt this news story was just a Bolshevik plot, a plant to give hired undergrad hacks a target to practice on.


Ebeneezer - 4/24/2003


I like your theory, even if the particular instance at hand may not support it. If true it would explain a good deal. Pray provide any available evidence, with web addresses, if possible. It is high time for the forces of truth to rally against propaganda and deception. If you've got some silver bullets, go ahead and fire off a few.


Bill Heuisler - 4/23/2003

Mr. Leckie,
Don't worry, it's a natural reflex: The mentally overmatched often blame forces beyond their control rather than admitting they lack the weight and substance to compete. Washed up Marxism is an oxymoron you seem to personify; try some new (post 1917) ideas and you may become capable of playing with adults again.

Also, mites can be avoided by washing your hair once in a while.
Bill Heuisler


John Moser - 4/23/2003

Is this a joke? Or, perhaps, did Mr. Leckie receive this information from space, from the transmissions he picks up via his tinfoil hat?


Patricia McCarthy - 4/23/2003

Only in academia are people so much more concerned with the fate of antiquities than with the fates of people. Those of you for whom this is the case should be ashamed. Try to think more of those children US troops rescued from one of Saddam's many horrific prisons. Reality is more important than theory. This site is in serious danger of becoming hopelessly irrelevant. Give me Ron Radosh or David Horowitz any day.


Derek Catsam - 4/23/2003

Though to be fair, there have been criticisms from military officials present and former who also might have an idea where to place tanks whop have been critical.
In any case, folks, this is no zero sum game. It is saddening and shameful that we did not do more to protect the museum and other cultural sites. But people who think they are making some grand zinger when they point out that we are protecting the oil ministry are off base as well. like it or not, oil is a vital resource, it is the key to postwar Iraq's stability and prosperity, and while I'll be the first one to line up with those who are wary of this administration's sometimes unseemly ties to business and willingness to synchronize policy goals with the interests of said business, it would be foolish in this case not to ensure that the oil ministry and the infrastructure are protected. hell, anyone who claims to be an environmentalist should be happy that we are placing the tanks where they are -- it would be a disaster of the worst sort were loose cannons among Saddam's former henchmen to get unfettered access to Iraq's oil reserves or the ministry.
By the way, Steve, you may as well get used to ad hominem attacks, making fun of your name and so forth. It usually does not take long for the nastiness to come out on HNN from left and right.


Stephen Tootle - 4/22/2003

You replied to my question with a question of your own:
Did we go to war in order to give thieves a better chance to
steal ?

The answer is:
No. We did not go to war in order to give thieves a better chance to steal.

The looting of the Iraqi museum is not a laughing matter, but the reactions of the writers on HNN certainly is funny. I am sure most historians would be shocked, shocked to learn that professional thieves might take advantage of the chaos of war to fatten their rucksacks with ill-gotten booty. Likewise, I assume many historians will deem this war a failure if peace, prosperity and rule of law do not blossom within another week or so.
The commanders in the field know where to put tanks. You do not.



William H. Leckie, Jr. - 4/22/2003

Dear Ebeneezer--

There is no "Bill Heuisler." The name is one of the limited number of pseudonyms allotted to undergraduates who are paid a pittance (an "opportunity wage") to bang out right-wingnut messages on various listservs accommodating fiendish but deluded liberals and such. They're sort of like wingnut equivalents of those guys who call soliciting, from cheesy boiler rooms in run-down storefronts, for phony charities just when you've set yourself down for dinner. The money to finance this small part of a massive right-wing operation, to make neo-fascism US corporate style mainstream, probably flows from the usual suspects, who also fund such things as the Arkansas Project on one level, to a kalaidescope of Astroturf campaigns--all with Rovian implausible deniability--against Evils ranging from abortion to the occlusion of the Confederate flag. The uniformity of the messages betrays their source--they're all alike, and will all be the same, even as the munckins succeed each other into various law schools and business schools. Whatta way to make kick-around change in college! I guess it's better'n waitin' tables. Like eyelash mites, you can't really get rid of'em, the little reactionary peckerwoods. They're pesky little critters, though.


Frank Lee - 4/21/2003


"We did not go to war to stop thieves from stealing."

Did we go to war in order to give thieves a better chance to
steal ?

The looting of the Iraqi museum is not a laughing matter, even if the Washington Post were to report that posting one of the thousands of available U.S. tanks there a few days earlier would not have helped prevent the plundering.


Ebeneezer Scrooge - 4/21/2003


Rats, I thought we had finally gotten rid of our resident chickenhawk Heuisler instead.


Bill Heuisler - 4/19/2003

This series of History News Network articles is grossly one-sided and bears no resemblance to reality or to history.

Twelve articles about looting Iraqi's Heritage? What nonsense. HNN has evidently lost all sense of perspective by playing to sore losers like Juan Cole who dislike Bush and want to blame the US for something even after a great victory over tyranny.

First, "The Looting of Iraq's Heritage" is loaded, sloppy and wrong on two out of the five title words.

"Iraq's" Heritage?
The heritage is Human; Iraq doesn't have a heritage. Iraq is a bastard of Britain whose ethnic roots span the globe from Macedonia to Arabia to the Gobi desert. Sumerian artifacts are not Iraqi or Arab or Shiite or Sunni, they define us all.

Looting?
With keys? With museum staff missing? Only certain pieces? No time frame for the crime...except after the US arrived?
None but the dumbest could believe this scenario. No one except those who want to blame the US for something could see all the evidence and then write "looting". This was an organized grand theft of priceless art. If there was looting and vandalism it occurred after the good stuff was miles away. Do you think Saddam's bureaucracy were stupid enough to leave priceless artifacts to be stolen by their own people? Remember where they found that gold statue? It was not in some farmer's house.
The stolen statue was not even in Iraq. A clue, perhaps?

Lastly, when you blame our troops, ask yourselves: would you have liked it better if our Marines machine-gunned all Iraqis going in and out of the museum and library? Just like the Police decisions in many US urban riots: either arrest, kill or ignore. The Marines didn't have the men or facilities to arrest and hold anybody during the final fire-fights and Marines do not ever deliberately kill civilians. So try a little combat, Mr. Cole and Ms. Mariner before you complain about the legal niceties.

These articles are a disgrace for a History site.
Bill Heuisler



Stephen Tootle - 4/19/2003

Is this some kind of joke-posting? These articles sound like the stuff on the onion. The Washington Post reported that the looting of historical treasures was the result of professional criminals. We did not go to war to stop thieves from stealing.