Today the New York Times web site reports that the National Museum of Iraq, which once boasted the greatest collection of artifacts in the Middle East (some 7,000 years old), has been completely looted. Big deal, Rumsfeld would say. This is what happens when a tyrannical government is overthrown. People celebrate, and go a little bit crazy. Except, Mr. Rumsfeld, this isn’t a matter of looters taking some office chairs from the Information Ministry. It is people taking priceless irreplaceable treasures, which by rights belong to all humanity, while U.S. troops stood by and did almost nothing to stop this cultural disaster.
This story probably won’t be featured on the jingoistic Fox News, but I dare you to read this article about the looting without feeling more than a little outrage. (you might need to register with the site to read the article, but the New York Times on the web is worth the free registration). With all the planning our Defense Department put into the war, including identifying sites of archeological significance that needed to be protected, isn’t it more than a little suspicious that no effort was made to protect 170,000 Middle Eastern artifacts stored in the museum. It is this sort of “who gives a shit?” behavior that causes so many people around the world to hate the United States. Right now, I’m not feeling so good about being an American myself.