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Greg H
04-14-2003, 06:30 PM
Along with the looting of the National Museum and its Thousands of years of records and artifacts, Now The National library has been burnt to the ground........What a waste.

Islamic Library Burned to the Ground
Robert Fisk, The Independent
Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2003

BAGHDAD, 15 April 2003 — So yesterday was the burning of books. First came the looters, then came the arsonists. It was the final chapter in the
sack 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 The National Library and Archives — a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents including the old royal archives of Iraq —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 Islamic Library of Qur’ans 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 who could have been no more than 10 years old. Amid the ashes of
hundreds of years of Iraqi history, I found just one file blowing in the wind outside: Pages and pages of handwritten letters between the court of Sherif
Hussein of Makkah — 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
Ottoman troops, reports on the theft of camels and attacks on pilgrims, all of them 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 Qur’anic library of the ministry, 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 Qur’anic library burning — there were
flames 100 feet high bursting from the windows — I raced to the offices of the occupying power, the US Marines’ civil affairs bureau, to report what I
had seen. 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 — of the fire, I said that 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 now shooting 200 feet into the air.

There was a time when the Arabs said that their books were written in Cairo, printed in Beirut and read in Baghdad. Now they burn libraries in
Baghdad. In the National Archives were not just the Ottoman records of the caliphate, but even the dark years of the country’s modern history,
hand-written accounts of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, an entire library of Western newspapers — bound volumes of the Financial Times were lying on
the pavement — and microfiche copies of Arabic newspapers going back to the early 1900s.

But hey, we had troops stationed at the oil Ministry, and all those records were protected from the beginning. :rolleyes:

Meerkat
04-14-2003, 06:38 PM
Nobody has ever accused the average American of having anything resembling culture, cultural sensitivity or a sense of history, especially the military. :(

Oil/money they understand.

[ 04-14-2003, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

Bruce Hooke
04-14-2003, 06:40 PM
Why, why, why didn't we protect these sites? Through the neglect of my government some of the world's greatest treasures have been lost forever. Over 5000 years of history is gone. If people are still around in 2000 years I think they will remember the destruction of Baghdad in 2003 and the treasures lost by thoughtlessness that might otherwise still be around for all of humanity to study and learn from.

Bruce Taylor
04-14-2003, 06:43 PM
:(

Wiley Baggins
04-14-2003, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
Nobody has ever accused the average American of having anything resembling culture, cultural sensitivity or a sense of history, especially the military [emphasis mine]. :(

Oil/money they understand.I think that laying this at the feet of "the military" on the ground is bit unfair. The tasking and setting of priorities resides further up the food chain, as does the allocation of resources.

gunnar I am
04-14-2003, 06:55 PM
Henny Penny! The sky is falling! For God's sake! We're liberating a country!! :eek:

Bruce Hooke
04-14-2003, 07:02 PM
Originally posted by gunnar I am:
Henny Penny! The sky is falling! For God's sake! We're liberating a country!! :eek: Yes, we are liberating a country but I COMPLETELY fail to see how that excuses us from at least TRYING to protect the cultural heritage of that country and indeed the world! I feel confident that people 500 generations into the future will curse our actions on this matter. That's as far into the future as the Chirst's birth is in the past.

Meerkat
04-14-2003, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by Wiley Baggins:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Meerkat:
Nobody has ever accused the average American of having anything resembling culture, cultural sensitivity or a sense of history, especially the military [emphasis mine]. :(

Oil/money they understand.I think that laying this at the feet of "the military" on the ground is bit unfair. The tasking and setting of priorities resides further up the food chain, as does the allocation of resources.</font>[/QUOTE]I'm not laying this particularly at the feet of the military, but they are exemplars of the typical American's attitude WRT things cultural. IMO, if it as a French or British occupying force, they would have taken immediate and urgent action to put the fire out.

We came to strip a country of it's dictator and seemed to have also stripped it of some it's cultural and historical heritage. Is neglect or failure to anticipate an excuse?

Along those lines, I don't understand how/why police and administrators where not waiting in Kuwait to maintain order in Iraq instead of having to be (seemingly) hastily rushed over from the US. One wonders if they had been in place if this tragedy might not have happened. As the occupying power, it is our responsibility to preserve and protect more then the oil fields.

[ 04-14-2003, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

Greg H
04-14-2003, 07:10 PM
The military only does what it is ordered to do. Some one at the top didn't care it seems.

Gunner, it's mankind's history, the cradle of civilization. Some archy-types were saying it was a greater loss than the burning of the ancient library in Egypt.

It was mentioned that some pieces that were over 12,000 years old were lost.

Foolishness. :confused:

Wayne Jeffers
04-14-2003, 07:40 PM
I saw an article today alleging that the departing Baathists grabbed a few souvenirs before leaving. :mad: If so, that's pretty hard to prevent. Perhaps we'll soon learn more of what happened.

Wayne

High C
04-14-2003, 07:48 PM
Originally posted by Wayne Jeffers:
I saw an article today alleging that the departing Baathists grabbed a few souvenirs before leaving. :mad: If so, that's pretty hard to prevent. Perhaps we'll soon learn more of what happened.

WayneI heard a similar story on the radio, that there was no evidence that the museum had been recently looted. It may have been stripped bare by fleeing Baathists. (Baathers? :D ) Further, the museum had been pretty much closed to the public almost thirty years ago by Hussein, and little is known about what was taken and when.

Bruce Hooke
04-14-2003, 08:02 PM
I would certainly agree that if the looting happened when the Baathists where leaving then there is not much we could have done. However, unless I am much mistaken there have been quite a few reports on the radio and in the paper of first hand witnesses to looting at the musuem taking place well after we were in nominal control of Baghdad. The reported about the library certain sounds like it was after we took over Baghdad...

Greg H
04-14-2003, 08:09 PM
Oh, I forgot...I was "too far from reality", there is no looting, it's just some "untidiness in the transitional phase." :rolleyes:

The stolen items may turn up again someday (with luck). The documentation is gone. And I saw the library in flames on tv today. I'm really disgusted.

Meerkat
04-14-2003, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
It isn't like this stuff hasn't already yielded all the 'history' we could get from it. Archy's and curator types know everything that was there, and have records of it all. No knowledge has been lost.Ok, we can burn the orginal copy(s) of the constitution then?

Greg H
04-14-2003, 08:23 PM
Isn't that like burning the USS Constitution because we have pictures of it, or the Viking ships? Or the libraries because all the books have been read?

ishmael
04-14-2003, 08:36 PM
I love to look at old 'things'. The original Constitution, in nitrogen charged case, etc., and this is a shame. But it's not something to get terribly wound about. Bounties will bring much of it back.

I'm with Donn.

And this statement, which opens the piece and references the Nazi' burning of books: "So yesterday was the burning of books," is really too much. Except for those with a peculiar twitch.

I wish these materials had not been lost. I wish we'd done more to protect them. But to liken it to fascist book burning, by not so subtle reference, is repugnant. Not to mention incredibly dishonest.

I don't even want to go there, because the author is so transparently political that it doesn't merit it.

Where did some of you learn your critical thinking?

[ 04-14-2003, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Greg H
04-14-2003, 08:40 PM
Donn, your attitude toward mankind and it's history and achievement is "remarkable"

Good Night

LeeG
04-14-2003, 09:26 PM
This is a tragedy, but waging war and protecting antiquities from the people you are shooting are two different goals. From earlier newpaper articles there have been entreaties from US and international academics and archeologists to recognize various sites and treasures but the speed of the collapse of Iraqs armies put what was probably a low priority on an even lower priority.
Contrary to the assertion by Gunnar this was not a war of liberation. These folks want us OUT as soon as possible so they can settle scores, reclaim pride and wealth. This was a war to "stabilize the region" for the benefit of oil consuming nations. A valid goal for ensuring national security given the fermentation of discontent coming out of Saudi Arabia although some may argue the methods.

Chris Coose
04-15-2003, 07:45 AM
What do these poor oppressed people need of this rotten history!!

It's their future, which began, by the way, with the first click of the explosion of the internal combustion engine, that is important.

stan v
04-15-2003, 08:03 AM
CC, there are some pygmies on Guniea that need your help.

If you leave now, you'll be there by next Monday.

[ 04-15-2003, 08:04 AM: Message edited by: stan v ]

High C
04-15-2003, 08:14 AM
Originally posted by Chris Coose:
What do these poor oppressed people need of this rotten history!!

It's their future, which began, by the way, with the first click of the explosion of the internal combustion engine, that is important.No, it's no one's future. It's a bunch of art work and old documents. I can't imagine anything less important to the future of the Iraqi people than this museum.

Garrett Lowell
04-15-2003, 08:16 AM
It's unfortunate that the library and museum were destroyed.

As far as the looting is concerned; I thought that some of you anti-capitalists were all about redistributing the wealth?

Bruce Hooke
04-15-2003, 09:40 AM
First off, I heard on the radio last night that many of these objects had NOT been fully studied -- that there was in fact much left that could have been learned from them that is now lost forever. What matters most in this context are the humble objects like clay tablets, that, once taken, will probably never be recovered because on the surface they don't look like much.

Second, the reason we go to such lengths to protect things like the Constitution and the objects in the Smithsonian are because they help define who we are as a people. The same could be said of the objects lost in Baghdad except that in many cases they help define who we all are around the world as people. Among the items that were probably lost are the first known calendar and the first known writing.

Think about the objects you care most about in your home -- they are probably things like family photos and things passed down to you from earlier generations. These are the personal objects that help you connect with your past, which is what made you who you are. The Constitution and the objects in the Smithsonian are the equivalent on a national scale here in the US. The objects lost in Baghdad are the same, except that many of them reflect not just the heritage of the people of that region but the heritage of, at the least, all who trace their roots to either Islam or Christaindom.

Sam F
04-15-2003, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by High C:
[QUOTE]]No, it's no one's future. It's a bunch of art work and old documents. I can't imagine anything less important to the future of the Iraqi people than this museum.High C. I don't mean to offend, but I'd work on that imagination if I were you.
People define themselves based on their history and a people who forget their history have no future.
In assigning blame here the obvious culprits are Iraqi looters, but from a ”winning hearts and minds” perspective this is an enormous failure of the US. It points to a serious lack of imagination in the chain of command as well.

I think it’s possible to understand why the Iraqis did this however…
Islam has typically been incurious of its pre-Islamic heritage. The Baghdad museum (like its counterpart in Cairo) was a welcome exception to that attitude. That sentiment appears to remain among the Arab common folk who likely identified the museum’s contents with Saddam who attempted to co-opt Iraq’s history for his own glory. And anything identified with that regime was fair game.

Roger Stouff
04-15-2003, 10:58 AM
With all kindness and respect...

Such sadness in some of these posts. The loss of antiquities, of history, is mournful. Because they mean little to some does not degrade their importance to most. Our history is part of what defines us. We are here on this forum because we strive to touch a bit of history, wooden boats. Perhaps we should have destroyed all the old wooden boat plans when fiberglass and metal boats came into being? To demean the historical significance of Iraq's antiquities and cultural legacy is to say losing the libraries at Alexandria, and the vast resources of writings burned by the Conquistadors in the Americas was not shameless. They are not modern Iraq's legacies per se, they are the world's. I do not understand such calousness.

Perhaps I should destroy the crown I have that was worn by the Chitimacha chief who signed the peace agreement with Bienville in 1716? Or the limbs I have from the sacred Raintree? The river cane baskets which date back to the 1850s? The pages and pages of my grandparents writing of Chitimacha history and culture?

I don't know why I should be surprised, though. It's been that way since 1492.

Wayne Jeffers
04-15-2003, 11:03 AM
Well said, Roger.

Wayne

Jim H
04-15-2003, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
I'm not laying this particularly at the feet of the military, but they are exemplars of the typical American's attitude WRT things cultural. IMO, if it as a French or British occupying force, they would have taken immediate and urgent action to put the fire out.I've been waiting for this remarkable thread and I'm suprised it took so long. IIRC I heard no complaints about Basra and the looting that took place there. In fact, there were compliments all around for the British troops who allowed the populace to "blow off steam". Basra is Iraq's "second city", the second largest city in the country. Yet not one of you spoke out against the looting there, hypocracy is ugly. It was sad to lose the artifacts, regardless of who took them and the library was worse in some respects. To have you blame this on American inaction or indifference was to be expected.

Bruce Hooke
04-15-2003, 12:16 PM
Jim - If you can't understand the fundamental difference between looters taking stuff out of government ministries and party offices, and looters walking away with the treasures of the Baghdad Museum and Library then you really are completely clueless. The impact of the looting of government ministries will last for maybe a few years, at most. The impact of the looting of the museum and library will last for thousands of years.

Jim H
04-15-2003, 12:31 PM
Lost treasures of Iraq (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,936399,00.html)

Monday April 14, 2003
The Guardian

Iraq, home to the ancient civilisations of the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, whose achievements include the first written language and the earliest cities and irrigation systems, contains countless archaeological sites and treasures.

Iraqi archaeologists have an excellent reputation for doing all that is in their power to care for sites and artefacts in terrible circumstances, but archaeologists throughout Britain are deeply disturbed by the effects that war has already had on these antiquities and are appalled at the unchecked looting now reported (Mosul descends into chaos as even the museum is looted of treasures, April 12). Letters of warning and offers of help from conservation organisations to Tony Blair and the MoD before the war even started have largely gone unanswered, and there is still no appreciation of what is at stake.

It is now clear that the most dangerous stage of the conflict will be looting of monuments and museums on a massive scale. At an official level the American Council for Cultural Policy is already persuading the Pentagon to relax legislation that protects Iraq's heritage by prevention of sales abroad, arguing that antiquities will be safer in American museums and private collections than in Iraq.

More responsible conservation bodies in America, such as the Archaeological Institute of America, are already arguing strongly against this, and Professor Lord Renfrew has efficiently exposed the origins of these proposals. At an unofficial level we are seeing exactly what happens even to unguarded hospitals and museums when law and order collapse: it needs little imagination to see the inevitable effects on heritage sites, especially when heavy machinery and vehicles are readily available and lucrative markets are already in place.

In recent days we have heard that Basra's Museum of Natural History has been thoroughly emptied, Baghdad and Mosul Museums are being looted, and Mosul's collection of ancient manuscripts has been dispersed. We have no idea what is happening to vulnerable sites in the countryside. Apart from effects on antiquities in their own right these depredations will have a long-term effect on the pride, sense of identity, and tourist economy of the whole country.

We therefore call on the American and British governments to: maintain adequate guards (Iraqi or coalition) on monuments and museums; support and protect Iraqi archaeologists and curators in performing their duties; reject any proposals to remove antiquities from Iraq, and to prevent unofficial attempts to do this; explicitly recognise in reconstruction programmes the importance of Iraq's unparalleled cultural heritage; ensure the UK does not become a staging post in the trade of antiquities illicitly obtained from Iraq; ratify the Hague convention for the protection of cultural property in times of conflict as a matter of urgency; and in the meantime to respect its protocols and abide by the measures already enshrined in the 1977 Geneva convention and the world heritage convention.

George Lambrick
Council for British Archaeology

Peter Hinton
Institute of Field Archaeologists

Robin Pellew
National Trust for Scotland

David Thackray
National Trust

Geoffrey Wainwright
Cambrian Archaeological Society

Lord Redesdale
All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group

Mark Hassall
Royal Archaeological Institute

Christopher Catling
Heritage Link

Tom Hassall
ICOMOS UK

Nicholas Carey
04-15-2003, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by Wiley Baggins:
I think that laying this at the feet of "the military" on the ground is bit unfair. The tasking and setting of priorities resides further up the food chain, as does the allocation of resources.Actually...not.

Just rack up some more war crimes against the United States.

The Hague Conventions of 1899 mandate protection of cultural properties (Articles 27, 28, and 47), as does the Roerich Pact (Washington, DC, 1935), which exclusively mandates the protection of cultural properties in time of war.

Most recently, The Hague Conventions of 1954, Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property In the Event of Armed Conflict (http://exchanges.state.gov/culprop/hague.html) (Hague 1954) requires that we protect "cultural property" during both war and occupation:
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property In the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague Convention)

Done at the Hague, on 14 May 1954

The High Contracting Parties, Recognizing that cultural property has suffered grave damage during recent armed conflicts and that, by reason of the developments in the technique of warfare, it is in increasing danger of destruction;

Being convinced that damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world;

Considering that the preservation of the cultural heritage is of great importance for all peoples of the world and that it is important that this heritage should receive international protection;

Guided by the principles concerning the protection of cultural property during armed conflict, as established in the Conventions of The Hague of 1899 and of 1907 and in the Washington Pact of 15 April, 1935;

Being of the opinion that such protection cannot be effective unless both national and international measures have been taken to organize it in time of peace;

Being determined to take all possible steps to protect cultural property;

Have agreed upon the following provisions:

Article 1. DEFINITION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY.

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "cultural property" shall cover, irrespective of origin or ownership:

(a) movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular; archaeological sites; groups of buildings which, as a whole, are of historical or artistic interest; works of art; manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest; as well as scientific collections and important collections of books or archives or of reproductions of the property defined above;

(b) buildings whose main and effective purpose is to preserve or exhibit the movable cultural property defined in sub-paragraph (a) such as museums, large libraries and depositories of archives, and refuges intended to shelter, in the event of armed conflict, the movable cultural property defined in subparagraph (a);

(c) centres containing a large amount of cultural property as defined in subparagraphs (a) and (b), to be known as "centres containing monuments".

Article 2 PROTECTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

For the purposes of the present Convention, the protection of cultural property shall comprise the safeguarding of and respect for such property.

Article 3 SAFEGUARDING OF CULTURAL PROPERTY

The High Contracting Parties undertake to prepare in time of peace for the safeguarding of cultural property situated within their own territory against the foreseeable effects of an armed conflict, by taking such measures as they consider appropriate.

Article 4. RESPECT FOR CULTURAL PROPERTY.

1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect cultural property situated within their own territory as well as within the territory of other High Contracting Parties by refraining from any use of the property and its immediate surroundings or of the appliances in use for its protection for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed convict; and by refraining from any act of hostility directed against such property.

2. The obligations mentioned in paragraph 1 of the present Article may be waived only in cases where military necessity imperatively requires such a waiver.

3. The High Contracting Parties further undertake to prohibit, prevent and, if necessary, put a stop to any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against, cultural property. They shall refrain from requisitioning movable cultural property situated in the territory of another High Contracting Party.

4. They shall refrain from any act directed by way of reprisals against cultural property.

5. No High Contracting Party may evade the obligations incumbent upon it under the present Article, in respect of another High Contracting Party, by reason of the fact that the latter has not applied the measures of safeguard referred to in Article 3.

Article 5. OCCUPATION.

1. Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property.

2. Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measures, the Occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation.

3. Any High Contracting Party whose government is considered their legitimate government by members of a resistance movement, shall, if possible, draw their attention to the obligation to comply with those provisions of the Convention dealing with respect for cultural property.

Article 6. DISTINCTIVE MARKING OF CULTURAL PROPERTY.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 16, cultural property may bear a distinctive emblem so as to facilitate its recognition.

Article 7. MILITARY MEASURES.

1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to introduce in time of peace into their military regulations or instructions such provisions as may ensure observance of the present Convention, and to foster in the members of their armed forces a spirit of respect for the culture and cultural property of all peoples.

2. The High Contracting Parties undertake to plan or establish in peacetime, within their armed forces, services or specialist personnel whose purpose will be to secure respect for cultural property and to co-operate with the civilian authorities responsible for safeguarding it.

.
.
.

Article 18. APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION

1. Apart from the provisions which shall take effect in time of peace, the present Convention shall apply in the event of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one or more of them.

2. The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.

3. If one of the Powers in conflict is not a Party to the present Convention, the Powers which are Parties thereto shall nevertheless remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention, in relation to the said Power, if the latter has declared that it accepts the provisions thereof and so long as it applies them.

.
.
.

Article 36. RELATION TO PREVIOUS CONVENTIONS.

1. In the relations between Powers which are bound by the Conventions of The Hague concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land (IV) and concerning Naval Bombardment in Time of War (IX), whether those of 29 July, 1899 or those of 18 October, 1907, and which are Parties to the present Convention, this last Convention shall be supplementary to the aforementioned Convention (IX) and to the Regulations annexed to the aforementioned Convention (IV) and shall substitute for the emblem described in Article 5 of the aforementioned Convention (IX) the emblem described in Article 16 of the present Convention, in cases in which the present Convention and the Regulations for its execution provide for the use of this distinctive emblem.

2. In the relations between Powers which are bound by the Washington Pact of 15 April, 1935 for the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and of Historic Monuments (Roerich Pact) and which are Parties to the present Convention, the latter Convention shall be supplementary to the Roerich Pact and shall substitute for the distinguishing flag described in Article III of the Pact the emblem defined in Article 16 of the present Convention, in cases in which the present Convention and the Regulations for its execution provide for the use of this distinctive emblem.

Jim H
04-15-2003, 03:33 PM
Just rack up some more war crimes against the United States.The U.S. has not commited war crimes yet. care to list what you think the others are? If so, please start a new thread, let's not hijack this one.

LeeG
04-15-2003, 03:57 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2950307.stm

progress

Nicholas Carey
04-15-2003, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by Jim Hillman:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Just rack up some more war crimes against the United States.The U.S. has not commited war crimes yet. care to list what you think the others are? If so, please start a new thread, let's not hijack this one.</font>[/QUOTE]Just for starters, aside from this case...

1. Unlawful war -- violations of Hague 1907 and UN Charter.

2. Failure to protect non-combatants and deliberate attacks upon non-combatants -- violation of Geneva Conventions, Hague 1907, etc.

Roger Stouff
04-15-2003, 04:28 PM
And other thread topic bites the dust.

Alan D. Hyde
04-15-2003, 04:32 PM
I'm sorry for the loss of ancient artifacts and documents, windows into the minds and hearts and souls of a departed people and culture.

But, there has been some suggestion in reports I have heard that departing Baath party leaders may have taken many treasures with them for later sale, and that the "looting" and fire may have been staged by their retainers to cover the theft.

Whether this is true or not, I simply don't know. Let's wait to debate the issue until the facts are better established...

Alan

Roger Stouff
04-15-2003, 04:57 PM
Nor am I blaming the military...I think they did a fine job of not destroying any archaeological or cultural sites with artillery. Their respect for the mosques was evident, too. Of course they did not foresee the result of liberation from so much oppression and the chaotic uprising that would follow...who could?

I do think that, if they had thought about it, a few armed Marines at the museums and libraries would have easily dissuaded the citizenry from going any further, and no lives would have been lost. I am most disappointed in the Iraqi people, but then, I haven't lived under Saddam Hussein for 25 years.

There really is no blame, other than perhaps the Iraqis themselves, but the cost to history is heavy.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-15-2003, 05:18 PM
I rather think that our two nations (the Australians may be excused - not enough of them) may have gotten a little out of practice at a few of the things that we used to do, routinely, in the course of a war.

This is not surprising, because we, and I mean both the USA and Britain here, have not actually invaded and occupied another nation after destroying its armed forces since 1945.

Principles like getting the utilities up and running, preventing looting by the immediate impostion of martial law and a curfew, etc. were perhaps somewhat on the back burner.....

.....BUT....

.....it is also fair to add that public expectations of what an occupying force should do have changed radically, over the years.

How many people could our forces have shot to impose a curfew, say? Not very many.

Are our forces taking better care of Iraq and its people than we did of Germany and Japan in the first couple of weeks after their surrender? Almost certainly, yes.

There is a worry about Iraqi archaeology, because Iraq has been off limits to the best European and American archaeologists for forty years now, and Iraqi archaeologists were out of the mainstream of their discipline and were at the service of a capricious dictatorship who saw archaeology as a tool of propaganda, but that worry was there before the war, and now it can be resolved.

[ 04-15-2003, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Andrew Craig-Bennett ]

Greg H
04-15-2003, 05:30 PM
Thank you Roger, I was hoping you would post to this. I believe you have a better perspective than many of us newcomers to the continent. Our roots are tenuous.

As far as blame is conserned.....It doesn't matter, the deeds are done. All we have is hindsight, I hope we learn from it.

High C
04-15-2003, 05:42 PM
Has anyone checked eBay yet? Some of the missing items should turn up there soon. ;)

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-15-2003, 06:10 PM
Here's something on the topic:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/2949439.stm

Greg H
04-15-2003, 07:13 PM
IIRC Iraq was created by the British at the end of WWI, from the remains of the Ottoman empire.

The artifacts range back for 12,000 years, fertil cresent, first recorded agricultual settlements and towns. Much more than just the state of Iraq.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-16-2003, 04:38 AM
Most of the archaeological work on the Fertile Crescent sites was done by the British, between the wars and soon after - Sir Mortimer Wheeler, et al - so in fact the very best bits have already been looted and are in the British Museum!

I must plead guilty to looting - I have a few votive animals, and a Cuneiform letter from a soldier to his wife, asking about the family and requesting some spare socks, which were more or less picked up at random by my parents in the late 1940's.

Saddam did some rather vulgar reconstructions and probably did quite a bit of damage in doing so, although Sir Mortimer's methods were not those that would be used today, either!

There are still several un-excavated tells. These will be as good as they were before.

gunnar I am
04-16-2003, 07:08 AM
Originally posted by Greg H:
The military only does what it is ordered to do. Some one at the top didn't care it seems.

Gunner, it's mankind's history, the cradle of civilization. Some archy-types were saying it was a greater loss than the burning of the ancient library in Egypt.

It was mentioned that some pieces that were over 12,000 years old were lost.

Foolishness. :confused: Just got back to reading this thread.Sorry I wasn't clearer.I thought you guys knew me well enough to know I was making fun of Rumsfeld.You did here him say that didn't you?

stan v
04-16-2003, 07:42 AM
There you go again, liberals. You confuse people with your outrage. During the beating of war drum stage, you were handwringing over the deaths of children and the innocent civilians that was sure to take place with the arrogance of this neo-con administration led by oil barons against a soverign nation. :rolleyes: Instead, I haven't read any outrage of the killing, but of the looting. You act as if these treasures were yours. This is what happens when you support dictators. Two questions. When will you learn and what are your core values? Take your time in answering.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 08:22 AM
Whoa, whoa there, Tex. In the first damn place, you'll note that I stay out of pretty much all the war discussions on this forum, so you don't have the faintest idea what my opinions about it are.

Second, these antiquities WERE ours. They were all of humanity's. Iraq is but a recent manifestation of a fraction of a people who sprung from that area. They did not belong to Iraq, they belonged to the world.

And third, I am completely sure of my core values, for they stretch back eight thousand years in small temple mounds, step-pyramids the size of two football fields dredged for the value of their shell until there was only a muddy pit left, village sites bulldozed to create boat landings and oilfields, and much, much more. And that other half of me is aware of a lineage which stretches back in no small part to the Fertile Crescent and the cultures which left behind the relics there.

Whether or not I support this war is my own business, and how I choose to stay out of the crossfire you folks are always involved in is also my own business. But when I choose to speak about something which is essentially a neutral issue in the matter -- that being the topic at hand -- and express my views on it, there's no call to start labelling and predicting what my opinion or slant on the entire war may be. All you've learned is that I mourn the loss of archaeological legacy, you know nothing of how I feel about anything else.

stan v
04-16-2003, 08:26 AM
Rog, I didn't know you were a liberal.

Greg H
04-16-2003, 08:33 AM
Originally posted by stan v:
There you go again, liberals. You confuse people with your outrage. During the beating of war drum stage, you were handwringing over the deaths of children and the innocent civilians that was sure to take place with the arrogance of this neo-con administration led by oil barons against a soverign nation. :rolleyes: Instead, I haven't read any outrage of the killing, but of the looting. You act as if these treasures were yours. This is what happens when you support dictators. Two questions. When will you learn and what are your core values? Take your time in answering.First off, the focus of this thread was about the loss and senseless destruction of HUMANITY's historical past.
You wish to talk about other losses, start another thread.
I will speak for myself, because I don't want to make the same type of generaliztions that you use, but I suspect that it will apply to many.
B.) I do not support killing of any kind, for any reason.
c.) I do not support dictators, or anything that smells of dictatorship.
Read and remember!

Gunner, I thought that statement was out of character ;) ....I was caught up doing indignation.

stan v
04-16-2003, 08:40 AM
Yep, war destroys more than lives. The emphasis on your thread is on materialistic items. Where's the cry for human loss? To me it appears more liberal hypocrisy. Furthermore, to suggest these missing treasures belong to the world is the height of arrogance. The left has already glossed over the liberation of a country. Keep searching for the faults of America, you'll keep getting hammered in elections.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 08:56 AM
There you go again, liberals. You confuse people with your outrage. During the beating of war drum stage, you were handwringing over the deaths of children and the innocent civilians that was sure to take place with the arrogance of this neo-con administration led by oil barons against a soverign nation. Instead, I haven't read any outrage of the killing, but of the looting. You act as if these treasures were yours. This is what happens when you support dictators. Two questions. When will you learn and what are your core values? Take your time in answering.
Appears to me this was directed at everyone who bemoaned the loss. It does not clarify that "this is addressed to liberals only" it implies "liberals are outraged at the loss of antiquities." Read it again.

I wrote my reply at home over coffee this morning, and on the drive to work I had time to calm down a little, but I'm going to let it stand. I don't like being categorized or lumped in.

If it wasn't your intention to post that those of us who are upset about the loss of antiquities are all liberals, very well, then. If you were targetting specific individuals who posted on this thread, perhaps based on previous altercations, please choose your words more carefully next time.

stan v
04-16-2003, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> There you go again, liberals. You confuse people with your outrage. During the beating of war drum stage, you were handwringing over the deaths of children and the innocent civilians that was sure to take place with the arrogance of this neo-con administration led by oil barons against a soverign nation. Instead, I haven't read any outrage of the killing, but of the looting. You act as if these treasures were yours. This is what happens when you support dictators. Two questions. When will you learn and what are your core values? Take your time in answering.
Appears to me this was directed at everyone who bemoaned the loss. It does not clarify that "this is addressed to liberals only" it implies "liberals are outraged at the loss of antiquities." Read it again.

I wrote my reply at home over coffee this morning, and on the drive to work I had time to calm down a little, but I'm going to let it stand. I don't like being categorized or lumped in.

If it wasn't your intention to post that those of us who are upset about the loss of antiquities are all liberals, very well, then. If you were targetting specific individuals who posted on this thread, perhaps based on previous altercations, please choose your words more carefully next time.</font>[/QUOTE]I posted that response to those that bemoaned the loss of life that would surely ensue with our war on Iraq. You read it (and jumped at the chance to mention your heritage) as an attack on those suffering the loss of treasure. You mis-read the post.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 09:07 AM
A more kindly disagreement:


Furthermore, to suggest these missing treasures belong to the world is the height of arrogance There is no Sumeria, no Assyria, no Akkad anymore. The Iraqi nation is composed only partially, probably a very small part, of descendants of those cultures.

For my own part, as a nation the Chitimacha jealousy guards it cultural sites and antiquities. We know how long we've been here, what our geographical boundaries were. Anything Paleoindian, for instance, is out of the range of our acutal organization as a nation, though we are undoubtably descended from those peoples of that time. Thus, those earlier antiquities are not necessarily the property of my tribe, but of indigenous peoples in the region as a whole.

The arrogance is on the part of the looters. Iraq did not "own" the antiquities, they were merely its modern keepers, and by all accounts I've read, the scientists there did a pretty good job at it. History is constantly being revised as new evidence, new understandings come forth, and new light is often shone on previous comprehensions of an artifact or a writing. Now we have no chance to backtrack on many of these items, no opportunity to further our understanding of the past.

Case in point: In the early 1960s, when Carbon 14 dating became widely availalbe, LSU did a sample on the Poverty Point site north of Monroe. The age came back at 1750 BC. The archaeologists there dismissed it as faulty readings, because they believed there was no organized nations capable of building such tremendous earthworks, as we were all hunter-gatherer societies and could not expend the amount of time and energy required. Later, when we understood that the Mississippi Valley was so rich an environment it didn't take so much time and energy to make a good living off the land and water, we understood that it was completely possible, and likely, that the people of 1750 BC had time to build Poverty Point.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 09:10 AM
Oh, Stan, please. "Jumped on the chance to mention your heritage" ??? I'm merely speaking of what I know best, my own experiences and my own loss, and expressing the broader legacy of the part of all of us that sprung up from the region where Iraq is now.

So are you saying that I'm just using this forum and this thread to pull out my pro-Native soapbox?

Take your time in answering.

stan v
04-16-2003, 09:12 AM
Go fishing Donn

Rog, are you endowed as being the only one in America with a heritage?

[ 04-16-2003, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: stan v ]

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 09:31 AM
Maybe I didn't have enough cofee this morning. I guess I'm not completely awake, but I'm just not following your logic, Stan.

I thought I made it clear that the antiquities in Iraq belonged to the heritage of ALL of us, but perhaps I am no more clear in my posts today than you are, and we're both misunderstanding each other completely. I also thought I made it clear that I am speaking in examples of the loss of antiquities I personally know best, but again, perhaps I was not clear enough.

Let's get back to the root of the issue, please: I interpreted your post as meaning those of us who mourn the loss of antiquities in Iraq are by definition liberals, and by example of this topic ambiguous about their stance on the war in terms of loss of human life versus loss of historical legacy. Having reread it twice, I still interpret it that way, but if it wasn't your intention, I'll take your word for it and back down.

I think you're an upstanding guy, and a passionate and tireless champion for whatever cause you adopt. I just wish you'd be a little less categorical and stop brushing with such sweeping, all-inclusive strokes.

ishmael
04-16-2003, 09:44 AM
The loss here is unfortunate, from what I can gather. But it's not monumental. Who cares if a dozen or a hundred five thousand year old artifacts disappear into a shadowy antiquities market? They'll be in private collections for a hundred years, 'till the heirs lose interest and donate them to a museum again.

What...and this is important, what information was lost? I'd wager very little.

One of the prime messages of the Hebrew Testament is not to engage in idolatry. What does this mean? Humans, by nature, tend to imbue objects with holiness. It's one of a plethora of their projections. The admonition against idolatry tells the worshiper that god is not found in objects, in matter, more concisely, not in imagining that object as sacred.

[ 04-16-2003, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 09:46 AM
*sigh*

I give up.

ishmael
04-16-2003, 09:52 AM
Giving up on me Roger? Don't do it. ;)

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 09:55 AM
Naw, never that, Jack. Just on understanding!

stan v
04-16-2003, 10:00 AM
Never, ever, give up. Here's where you missed my thoughts, Rog. My post was directed to the liberals (read the third sentence of that post again) who's primary concern with this 'illegal war' was the loss of life to innocent civilians and children. There were very few, incredibly few deaths associated to the populace who did not defend Damsad. My post pointed out the hypocrisy of historical treasures being looted, not the outrage they (the liberals) felt for the loss of life BEFORE the war started. You may have even assumed I did not feel a loss myself for the destroyed artifacts, if they were destroyed and not simply stolen. You would be incorrect. Other than that, no problem. Now, I'll take Donn's advice and go to work. Someone has to pay for freeing the Iraqi's and making America a safer place. ;)

[ 04-16-2003, 10:02 AM: Message edited by: stan v ]

High C
04-16-2003, 10:11 AM
Gotta agree with you, Jack. I'm having a hard time understanding the high level of angst over material possessions, however spectacular and important they may be, at a time and place where so much of far greater importance is taking place.

Sure it's a sad occurence, but it's not really a loss at all. These items have moved around from museum to museum, and owner to owner, for thousands of years. They are still doing that. They'll likely be sold to wealthy European art collectors, and will eventually end up back in museums, somewhere, sometime, as they have done for thousands of years. Besides, they weren't really in a "museum" in Iraq. They were in locked-down storage by the Hussein regime. That museum was closed for decades by Hussein, and who knows what he and other Baathists looted from it over the years?

It's an ancient cycle, part of our history, you might say.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 10:26 AM
Stan: Good enough. Peace.

High C: The ashes of manuscripts knee-high on the floors won't resurface, nor will the ceramics and stones smashed into dust. Just mentioning it.

High C
04-16-2003, 10:52 AM
Roger, Since I hadn't heard anything about burned books in the stories I've seen about this, I dug into today's news http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=540&e=1&u=/ap/20030416/ap_on_re_mi_ea/war_lost_treasures_7 and learned that the National Library was ravaged yesterday. I'm guessing that's what you are speaking of, and not the National Museum that was looted several days ago. My comments were directed at the National Museum, where a nearly empty building was found, and little evidence of damage or vandalism. I was a little behind on the news. Sorry about that.

The burning of the library was a horrific act, and apparently done by Iraqi citizens. Why would they do such a thing? The rumor mill in Iraq says it was Kuwaitis, bent on revenge. Who knows?
:(

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 10:59 AM
Understood, thanks for the clarification. I don't know either. But like I said, after living under Saddam for 25 years, I'm sure some hysteria resulted with unintended results.

Bruce Taylor
04-16-2003, 11:10 AM
What...and this is important, what information was lost? I'd wager very little.Scholars are constantly putting new questions to old objects.

I read, last year, of an attempt to recover lost sounds from old glassware. Somebody had the zany idea that workshop noises might have been preserved in glass objects at the moment they were made. It sounds pretty far-fetched to me, but it shows how the questions we think to pose do change from one year to the next. Maybe there was something to be learned from the glue in that gold harp, or the fibres in those ancient textiles, or the beetle larvae in a bronze age wagon tree.

I'll give a very small example, from close to home. In the 1960s, there was a sudden revival of interest in early music. People began building harpsichords again, and in order to do so they had to relearn a great many things that had been lost. In particular, nobody really had a good idea what kind of wire had originally been used. All the surviving instruments had long since been restrung.

My father-in-law -- head conservator at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, at the time--probed about in old instruments for tiny remnants of wire that had fallen between cracks. He found a few clippings of original wire, here and there, had them analyzed, researched the original wire-making techniques, and wrote a very useful monograph on the rather esoteric subject of harpsichord wire.

Those questions hadn't been asked, in 1950. If the instruments had been lost, or carelessly restored, they could never have been asked, or answered.

ishmael
04-16-2003, 11:15 AM
BTW, to actually know that matter is sacred, is totally different than idolatry.

And Bruce, don't read me wrong, I'm terribly saddened by this loss.

[ 04-16-2003, 11:18 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Ian McColgin
04-16-2003, 11:31 AM
Well prior to our invasion people concerned with the antiquities presented to the administration a list and a plea to protect the major treasures. They also reminded the administration of our international agreements to protect such historical treasures.

They were brushed off with a cultural arrogance that made their heads spin as they were told these things had little real value.

I'll not bother cutting and pasting the sourses for the above. Anyone concerned can Google on in easily enough and there's no evidence that facts matter much in this discussion anyway.

It is quite possible that Saddam's minions were stealing stuff to ensure a comfortable retirement in the flesh pots of Alexandria and the looting was a cover. But because we chose to ignore the issue, we'll not know.

Chris Coose
04-16-2003, 12:19 PM
Roger,
When the link to Mayan language, history and culture was trashed by a couple of missionaries, I'm pretty sure that in the moment and in their zeal it appeared it wasn't a big deal.
The regret has lasted centuries ...... for some of us.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 12:36 PM
Well said, Chris.

Alan D. Hyde
04-16-2003, 03:29 PM
Can you imagine the outrage if Marine or Army sentries had shot determined Iraqi looters?

Or is life less important than property?

I don't think there are many easy answers here, people... :(

Alan

Bruce Taylor
04-16-2003, 05:04 PM
Or is life less important than property?Well, I believe the guys in the Brinks truck would cheerfully gun you down if you tried to rob them.

I rather suspect I'd do the same if somebody smashed my windows and tried to set fire to my house. Wouldn't you?

This is a red herring. Of course, troops will be deployed to protect property. The only question is: what property do we consider worth protecting?

I don't pretend to know how armies should act when they take over somebody's city. I don't know the first thing about it, and I have no interest in apportioning blame.

But let's not minimize the loss, here. It's a disaster.

Alan D. Hyde
04-16-2003, 06:06 PM
It is the law in most states of the United States that a homeowner may not use deadly force to protect his property, but only to protect himself or other persons when in reasonable apprehension as to their safety.

There may be some rebuttable (not conclusive) presumptions if an intruder is within the house or curtilage, particularly at night.

I am not sure why we would be willing to provide citizens of a nation we have recently conquered with less protections (barring military and practical necessity) than we provide our own citizens, since what we provide our own citizens is deemed to arise not from statutory grants, but from unalienable natural law.

Alan

Bruce Taylor
04-16-2003, 07:17 PM
Really Alan, it wouldn't abrogate any "unalienable natural law" to post an armed sentry around a museum. It's hardly worth arguing the principle. Coalition troops are already protecting property in Iraq, as armed guards frequently do in your own country. For whatever good reason, they did not protect these particular buildings.

I'm not competent to say they should have. However, to argue that they could not have done so without violating the rights of man is, under the circumstances, surreal.

[ 04-16-2003, 07:19 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

oldriverat
04-16-2003, 08:02 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
BTW, to actually know that matter is sacred, is totally different than idolatry.

And Bruce, don't read me wrong, I'm terribly saddened by this loss.Why are you so terribly saddened? Why are any of you so terribly saddened? The loss of these artifacts, if they are indeed lost will not have any effect on any of your lives whatsoever. The ones that should be terribly saddened are the Iraqi people. It's their stuff, not yours. Frankly, I could care less. I have to agree with Stan on this. The loss of human life throughout this entire deal is a far greater tragedy than the loss of some museum artifacts that most of us will never see anyhow.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 10:07 PM
That's the most inane thing I've ever heard.

Should the things you value or deem important be lost, I hope you remember that statement.

Nobody ever compared the loss of antiquities to the loss of human life, so that is a bogus and meaningless point.

Burn all the libraries down outside of your home town, then? Destroy all the museums away from where you can't see them, right? What difference does it make, you don't care.

Absolutely incredible.

Wiley Baggins
04-16-2003, 10:13 PM
Philistines of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but the heritage of the other!

John Gearing
04-16-2003, 10:19 PM
Look people, the loss of human life in this war is very sad. Would it that it had not come to war. But it did, and people died as a result. Our troops on the ground did an excellent job overall in minimizing civilian casualties. It is irrational to demand that a war take no lives of non-combatants. Stuff happens. We did not subject Iraqi cities to saturation bombing. There were no Dresdens or Hamburgs this time. We had a very good plan to secure the oil wells, in order to minimize environmental damage, as well as any human health impacts from the smoke and fumes. And besides, not to try to protect the wells would just be to let the burning oil be wasted. But we did mess up by not securing the hospitals, museum, and the library. Granted, we do not want to get to shooting looters. We don't know how many guns are still in circulation in Baghdad, and none of us would want to see Baghdad turn into another Mogadishu-style battle. We should have put up a good show of force around those facilities, and organized an unarmed civilian guard to help. Not all the people in Baghdad were looting. I saw footage of Iraqis beating looters, being outraged at the looting that was going on.

I guess those of you who think it was okay to loot the museum must be just waiting for a breakdown in govt here so you can go loot the Smithsonian, or the Met, right? If that's your attitude I'm ashamed to see you on this forum.

As for the library, it is wrong to think that all the information there has duplicates elsewhere. If you would bother to study history instead of denigrating its importance, you would know that the destruction of other libraries has meant the irretrievable loss of much history and literature. Study the extant Greek and Roman texts and you'll find many references to masterpieces that were long ago lost to the forces of destruction. Baghdad was long a center of learning in the middle east, and included scholars (and communities) of Jews and Christians as well as Moslems. The potential loss to scholars and our cultural heritage is incalculable.

Ish, do you recognize the difference between idolatry and history? Between beauty and iconoclasm? No one here has suggested that we should worship any of the stolen items or burned books, only that we mourn their loss in terms of both the information they contained and for the physical connection they give us to our roots, our common ancient past; the historical context they give our lives.

Stan, I hope that there is some room in your heart for something besides politics.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 10:44 PM
Thanks, John, but save your breath. Some are only interested in being combative. (Not you, Jack.)

It's like a parody of Farenheit 451. A bad parody

stan v
04-16-2003, 10:58 PM
Let's put this in perspective. Are these losses such that the coalition should have never occupied the country? In other words, do you that 'feel' for the loss to mankind regarding these material items are so valuable that you would on hindisght have rather not freed the Iraqi people? Listen to yourselves, no mention of the people. You sound like the capitalists you think of when you think of us! Outrageous.

Roger Stouff
04-16-2003, 11:16 PM
This is not a topic about loss of human life. This is not about whether or not the coalition should have done what it did.

What does it take to get through to you, Stan? Can't people discuss ONE topic alone? There are plenty of threads on this board about loss of life and whether or not we did the right thing. You're waltzing in here and accusing things which are groundless and moot. Who called you a capitalist in this thread? Not I. Or were you generalizing again? Who said the antiquity loss was more important than the human life? Not I. Who said we were wrong to go to Iraq? Not I. Or were you generalizing AGAIN?

If I have something to say on those topics, I'll go to those threads. I have not done so, because of just this kind of bulls**t. You can't have an opinion around here without being labeled, generalized, lumped and stamped.

If you don't care about the loss which is the topic of this thread, go preach somewhere else and quit the name calling and belittling. If it were up to people like you, we'd still be in the stone age and never learn a thing.

[ 04-16-2003, 11:19 PM: Message edited by: Roger Stouff ]

Bill Perkins
04-17-2003, 12:28 AM
Stan NEEDS to get a reaction from you Roger .It doesn't mean anything . That's just the way the internet is .Oh , the joy of this perfect freedom !

LeeG
04-17-2003, 01:14 AM
a couple thoughts to get off my chest but I'll start from personal experience.
I remember my dad saying something to me about his upbringing and childhood when I was around 10yrs old. It told me who he was and where he came from, in the same sense for me. Ten years later I heard the same story with some variation, but I was 20yrs old and he was 53. Ten more years I was 30 and he 63, same story but the story is deeper. Ten more years I'm 40 and he's 73. Same story but heard by a 40 yr old and not a ten year old. Told by a 73 yr old and not a 43 yr old. He's 80 now and I'm 47.
Any of you have that experience? For me the words/story line expanded a bit but pretty much the core data remained the same, except for what he could reveal as time went what I perceived grew considerably as I grew.
Ok,, imagine there's a 5,000 yr old "thing" that tells a story. It survived 5,000 yrs and is destroyed in a moment of looting/raging.
To me that "thing" is like being able to hear that story throughout your life and to have the chance to learn from it as you grow older.
Having that "thing" destroyed is like hearing a family story at age 10 but lose it to amnesia at age 16 not to understand it as a 40 yr old or pass it on to ones own children.

stan v
04-17-2003, 07:10 AM
Ladies, nice rants, all. But this is the cost of dictatorships. This is the cost of ridding Iraq of Damsad. You see the loss to mankind, I see the freeing of man. Now, you're not agreeing with me is no surprise. The only thing worth the value you're placing on these treasures is freedom itself. Which of us are the more insensitive?

[ 04-17-2003, 07:30 AM: Message edited by: stan v ]

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 07:38 AM
Bill, you're quite right. He only sees what he wants to see and ignores the rest. I won't rise to his dribble anymore.

Wiley Baggins
04-17-2003, 07:43 AM
stan v,

You have an intellectually unhealthy need to put things into a zero sum equation where one does not exist. It is useful to prop up your position and allow you an unwarranted smugness, but it is of little value otherwise.

stan v
04-17-2003, 07:56 AM
No, I prioritize. Human life vs material gain. I always pick life. Especially when enjoyed with freedom. Life is worthless, no matter what surrounds it, without freedom.

LeeG
04-17-2003, 08:06 AM
Originally posted by stan v:
No, I prioritize. Human life vs material gain. I always pick life. Especially when enjoyed with freedom. Life is worthless, no matter what surrounds it, without freedom.Stan,,folks are telling you something about your behaviour on these boards. Consider they spent the time and that you are worth the time.

stan v
04-17-2003, 08:09 AM
?

Sam F
04-17-2003, 08:28 AM
Originally posted by Chris Coose:
Roger,
When the link to Mayan language, history and culture was trashed by a couple of missionaries, I'm pretty sure that in the moment and in their zeal it appeared it wasn't a big deal.
The regret has lasted centuries ...... for some of us.Chris, The actions of those missionaries were a big deal at the time and they knew it. From what I've read, they were consciously stamping out a religion. That raises several questions: Did they do the right thing? Is it ever the right thing? Would the Mesoamerican peoples be better off today if they had not?

LeeG
04-17-2003, 08:36 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Chris Coose:
Roger,
When the link to Mayan language, history and culture was trashed by a couple of missionaries, I'm pretty sure that in the moment and in their zeal it appeared it wasn't a big deal.
The regret has lasted centuries ...... for some of us.Chris, The actions of those missionaries were a big deal at the time and they knew it. From what I've read, they were consciously stamping out a religion. That raises several questions: Did they do the right thing? Is it ever the right thing? Would the Mesoamerican peoples be better off today if they had not?</font>[/QUOTE]of course not,,infectious diseases rendered the utility of these artifacts to these native people moot.

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 08:50 AM
Well, with all kindness and respect, I'm not sure about that, Lee. Disease did not wipe out 100% of the population. In fact, in the case of the Aztec for example, Cortez had many hundreds of thousands to kill.

When de Landa burned the Mayan books, there was such a mourning that many of the people committed suicide in despair. I would imagine it would be the same thing if a Christian nation were conquered, and the victors burned down all the churches, bibles and what-not. The survivors would be devestated, some beyond the desire to live, but many would persevere on their faith and oral tradition.

I'm also not sure that such things have a utility so much as they have a meaningfulness. An American History textbook has no real utility, but if we didn't have them, who would remember Washington and Jefferson? Few would recall the Gettysburgh Address or the Pilgrims.

And speaking on my own behalf, I would love to go stand atop the temple mound at Marsh Island, in Cote Blanche Bay, at look out over its flat top two football fields in size and marvel and feel. It has no utility to me, of course, other than feeding my intellect, spirit and soul.

Best,
R

stan v
04-17-2003, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
feeding my intellect, spirit and soul.

EXACT same feeling when driving my 450SL

Greg H
04-17-2003, 09:07 AM
Stan
Are you objecting to the topic if the post?
There is no life vs anything here, it's not an equasion. It is not about prioritising, blame, Left vs. right. It's not about materialism or value in the monitary sense, it's about loss of knoledge and connections to our roots. Art, writing, things we make with our hands and minds are what make us human and unique. We can record what we think, we can abstract and make representations of what we see and feel, and these things become physical, they exist. I can look at something thousands of years old and it's the same and as full of meaning as it was then. But to understand it's full meaning, we need to study the objects and writings and put them in context.Because with all it's similarities it's not our world.
We will never now what we could have learned. Every person killed, every bit of history lost, every artwork destroyed, diminishes us a little.

If you want to argue other stuff, start another thread please.

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 09:12 AM
Cast it out again, Stan. I still won't take the bait.

Chris Coose
04-17-2003, 09:33 AM
Life is worthless, no matter what surrounds it, without freedom.
So I take it, you'd suggest, that the accumulated lives of slaves throught the course of time has been worthless?

I am told that goldfish have a 12 second memory.
They seem OK with that historical reference.

Sam F
04-17-2003, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:

And speaking on my own behalf, I would love to go stand atop the temple mound at Marsh Island, in Cote Blanche Bay, at look out over its flat top two football fields in size and marvel and feel. It has no utility to me, of course, other than feeding my intellect, spirit and soul.

Best,
RJust curious... How would you feel standing atop an Aztec or Mayan pyramid?

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 09:52 AM
Humbled and grateful.

Sam F
04-17-2003, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
Humbled and grateful.Grateful that you weren't one of their captives? Right?
Humbled?... sorry I don't get that one.

Chris Coose
04-17-2003, 10:18 AM
Cortez commissioned a church to be built atop the ruins of what was once known was the largest pyramid built by man at Cholula. Four cultures had built on it.

This pyramid sits near the foot of the volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. I wonder if the natives built the temple in a humble recognition of the immense natural structure. If that were the case, Cortez appeared a bit short sighted. Which proves you can be very short sighted if you have the biggest club.

Bruce Taylor
04-17-2003, 10:26 AM
sorry I don't get that one. I do.

It's exactly the same feeling I've had in the vaults of Hagia Sophia, the megaliths of Carnac, the ruins of Knossos and Mycenae. It's the same feeling I've had in the rare books rooms at various university libraries. It's the feeling the early Saxons had when they looked on the Roman ruins at Bath and pronounced that they were "eotena weorc" -- the "work of giants."

Joe (SoCal)
04-17-2003, 10:29 AM
Roger, careful I heard SamF's spring loaded trap set from his first post. Don't step in it. This is nauseating to twist a very simple thread to serve everyone's own personal agenda. Its a simple collective "howl" over the loss of a part of HUMAN history. That's all nothing more than a sigh in the universe of man. It has little to do with liberal, conservative, Damsad, neocon. Those were not issues when the artifacts where created and they are not now that they are gone. Stan & Sam think how your very life's are imbedid with the history of those that went before you. Just about everything you touch or do has a linage to the preceding history. We as a global society living off the backs of previous generations. Is has nothing to do with the minor collisions of incredibly small subsets of societies in conflict with one another. It has nothing to do with Idolatry. Its a part of the human story that is gone. That's all.

Stan I really wish you could be a multidimensional person on this forum instead of the 2 dimensional neocon spouting Limbal cut out you have become. It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts on art on beauty on what you love, Your emotional contact with those around you. But instead you turn any conversation into a Liberal vs. Conservative debate, in looking from a distance its actually very sad that your only perspective on life is from that tiny viewpoint, and you are unable to think outside of that little box you have painted yourself into. You argue your point with some conviction so I know you have passion I would love to see it reflected in other topics. WoodenBoats perhaps :D

[ 04-17-2003, 10:33 AM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 10:34 AM
Cast again, Sam. You're better than Stan. I actually nibbled.

Sam F
04-17-2003, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by Bruce Taylor:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />sorry I don't get that one. I do.

It's exactly the same feeling I've had in the vaults of Hagia Sophia, the megaliths of Carnac, the ruins of Knossos and Mycenae. It's the same feeling I've had in the rare books rooms at various university libraries. It's the feeling the early Saxons had when they looked on the Roman ruins at Bath and pronounced that they were "eotena weorc" -- the "work of giants."</font>[/QUOTE]I don't.
Not that I'd ever get the chance to go… but the Pantheon or the Parthenon would create very different feeling from the Circus Maximus or the Coliseum. I find it impossible to ignore the structure's purpose no matter how magnificent. If it were built for mass murder as the Aztec pyramids, or mass entertainment via mass murder as in the Coliseum or the Auschwitz camp built for mass murder in the service of a totalitarian and racist ideology, I'd feel primarily sadness and disgust.
Is that so very odd?

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 10:45 AM
(Nibble-nibble)
Actually, Sam, I understand what you're saying in that regard. It's then preservation as a matter of "lest we forget". I would be humbled by the presence of the dead and their spirits, and grateful for the opportunity to honor them. Were the cross erected at Golgotha extant I would feel no less humbled and grateful.
(Nibbling ends, darting back to cover)

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-17-2003, 10:46 AM
I believe that most mass executions of Christians took place in the Circus Maximus.

I have not been there but I have been in the Coliseum and the Acropolis. One does get a different feeling in the latter, partly because of its nobler purpose and history (mind you, the cost of its construction may have precipitated the Pelopponesian War!) and partly because of its noble site, but the Coliseum is still an impressive feat of architecture.

One can admire the builders and still dislike their purpose.

A Spitfire is the most beautiful aircraft ever made, but its purpose was to shoot down German bombers. This is not a very good parallel, because the bombers were killing civilians.

A Samurai sword is a wondeful work of craftsman- ship - for killing people.

Sam F
04-17-2003, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
Cast again, Sam. You're better than Stan. I actually nibbled.Roger, Give me a little credit will ya? :rolleyes: I don't get much of a kick out of just stirring people up.
I have better things to do.
But I genuinely don't understand the reasoning behind most of the beliefs and attitudes I see here... and everywhere else too! :eek:

Sam F
04-17-2003, 11:17 AM
Originally posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett:

One can admire the builders and still dislike their purpose...
A Samurai sword is a wondeful work of craftsman- ship - for killing people.True on both counts. One can even admire, from a "strictly business" point of view, the German efficiency in carrying out the holocaust under what were trying circumstances. The excellent (IBM aided) record keeping and the amazing scrounging of rail cars and coal that would have otherwise gone to the war effort. It was a genuine accomplishment of sorts.

Your sword reference reminded me of a co-worker who kept an antique sword (of nowhere near Japanese quality) in his office. I know what it was capable of doing and thought it insane to keep it there. I was grateful he was an unimaginative pacific sort of fellow. Had he "lost it" one day, none of us nebbishes would have had any option but to run for our lives.

The Spitfire has some relevance to the sword. Both are weapons, but are not inherently evil. Both can save life and country as well as be misused.
I wonder however, if the function of a structure or weapon can’t be, of it’s nature, either outright evil or at least fatally compromised. Isn’t that really why the world condemns genocide, terrorism and bio/chemical attacks? Aren’t these techniques irredeemable precisely because they always disproportionately kill innocents and are useless for defense?

Sam F
04-17-2003, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
(Nibble-nibble)
Actually, Sam, I understand what you're saying in that regard. It's then preservation as a matter of "lest we forget". I would be humbled by the presence of the dead and their spirits, and grateful for the opportunity to honor them. Were the cross erected at Golgotha extant I would feel no less humbled and grateful.
(Nibbling ends, darting back to cover)Don't worry about cover. You don't need it. smile.gif
You've raised another point worth exploring. Recently some of the SS bunkers and parts of Hitler's bunker were destroyed in Berlin. The stated reason was a fear that they would become Neo-Nazi "shrines". I don't know enough about current German society to assess the risk but the principal is, I think, sound.
If a defeated evil ideology (like the Nazis) or religion (ala Aztec) still has dedicated followers, if the embers are still capable of being fanned back to life, is it better to preserve that belief's relics or to publicly destroy them?
Is today's risk greater than any future benefit?

Bruce Taylor
04-17-2003, 11:30 AM
The Japanese sword brought this to mind. Pertinent, I think.

A DIALOGUE OF SELF AND SOUL

W. B. Yeats

I

My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?

My Self. The consecrated blade upon my knees
Is Sato's ancient blade, still as it was,
Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass
Unspotted by the centuries;
That flowering, silken, old embroidery, torn
From some court-lady's dress and round
The wooden scabbard bound and wound,
Can, tattered, still protect, faded adorn.

My Soul. Why should the imagination of a man
Long past his prime remember things that are
Emblematical of love and war?
Think of ancestral night that can,
If but imagination scorn the earth
And intellect its wandering
To this and that and t'other thing,
Deliver from the crime of death and birth.

My Self. Montashigi, third of his family, fashioned it
Five hundred years ago, about it lie
Flowers from I know not what embroidery
Heart's purple-and all these I set
For emblems of the day against the tower
Emblematical of the night,
And claim as by a soldier's right
A charter to commit the crime once more.

My Soul. Such fullness in that quarter overflows
And falls into the basin of the mind
That man is stricken deaf and dumb and blind,
For intellect no longer knows Is from the Ought, or Knower from the Known—
That is to say, ascends to Heaven;
Only the dead can be forgiven;
But when I think of that my tongue's a stone.

Ii

My Self. A living man is blind and drinks his drop.
What matter if the ditches are impure?
What matter if I live it all once more?
Endure that toil of growing up;
The ignominy of boyhood; the distress
Of boyhood changing into man;
The unfinished man and his pain
Brought face to face with his own clumsiness;

The finished man among his enemies?
How in the name of Heaven can he escape
That defiling and disfigured shape
The mirror of malicious eyes
Casts upon his eyes until at last
He thinks that shape must be his shape?
And what's the good of an escape
If honour find him in the wintry blast?

I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man's ditch,
A blind man battering blind men;
Or into that most fecund ditch of all,
The folly that man does
Or must suffer, if he woos
A proud woman not kindred of his soul.

I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action, or in thought;
Measure the lot to forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.

oldriverat
04-17-2003, 11:45 AM
Who are any of you to be so self righteous and begrudge a man his own personal viewpoint?

If you want to howl about something howl about the fact the Iraqi people have no food, water, shelter, medicine or electricity. I bet the loss of the artifacts and library are the furthest thing from their minds at this point.

With any luck, the poor got the treasures and can sell them to provide a better life for themselves.
After 25 years of oppression, God knows they deserve it.

[ 04-17-2003, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: oldriverat ]

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 11:52 AM
(Wary nibble)
Sam, I understand your point. But artifacts don't make people crazy. They'll believe and act as they choose no matter whether they exist or not. The same examples you cited could be made for Egyptian and Chinese dynasties, the United States Cavalry during the Indian Wars, etc.

I respect your viewpoint though we disagree. I do not respect others viewpoints who do not respect mine.

Best,
R

(Darting back to cover, still unconvinced) smile.gif

[ 04-17-2003, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Roger Stouff ]

Sam F
04-17-2003, 11:52 AM
Originally posted by oldriverat:
Who are any of you to be so self righteous and begrudge a man his own personal viewpoint?
I never! How unendurably dull that would be.

A paraphrase from the "Get Smart" movie "The Nude Bomb":
"When I'm in charge everyone will have his say.
I won't listen, but everyone will have his say. :D

LeeG
04-17-2003, 11:54 AM
Roger, good point, I was working on a narrow view there.

Chris Coose
04-17-2003, 12:10 PM
But I genuinely don't understand the reasoning behind most of the beliefs and attitudes I see here... and everywhere else too! So I enter the church built on the Olmec pyramid in Cholula and I don't feel particularily spiritual, considering the bloody deeds that brought the sacrificers to their knees.

But the view from outside the church is quite refreshing.

Is that understandable?

I guess if I didn't know of the written history, I could just be happy happy, like the goldfish.

Some folks enjoy being at a racetrack watching cars go round and round, then they drive home feeling good.

Sam F
04-17-2003, 12:15 PM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
(Wary nibble)
Sam, I understand your point. But artifacts don't make people crazy. I hope not! But I fear you're wrong on that one.
Look at the recent looting of museums of Iraq. (Hey! That's On Topic! smile.gif )

But what I was pointing to was a still living evil. There's not much chance of Aztec human sacrifices or the lethal ball games of the Mayans reappearing in Mexico, or even of the US cavalry murdering Native Americans anytime soon either. In those cases, it's perfectly safe to preserve, interpret and even after a fashion, cherish historical relics... but if such things were connected to active living evils, destruction of artifacts might be the best and safest approach. No?

Often (and I’m at least as guilty of this as anyone) in our relatively secure existence we can’t imagine what it must have been like to witness some past system’s atrocities and how we would have reacted to it. Imagine for a moment the headlines and society's reaction if some wacko resurrected Aztec religious practices… The cult would be ruthlessly stamped out. Not later but NOW… and no one would complain a bit. There'd be no hand wringing about preserving cultural diversity and the destruction of artifacts. Such a reaction would be simply crazy.
I’m willing to extend that understanding (to the limits of my ability and knowledge) to our forefathers as well.

Chris Coose
04-17-2003, 12:22 PM
I guess maybe what we'll be left with is the Hussein boy's porno collection.

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 12:42 PM
Well, the museums and libraries were not if I understand correctly shrines to Saddam's regime, but collected disoveries of Mesopotamia. Granted, there were some violent societies represented in them. I think that the looting was more a product of poverty and oppression than of cultish zealotry, or perhaps temporary insanity. Perhaps the common Iraqi viewed those majestic halls as some bastion of Hussein's rule. But again, I was never pointing blame or accusing, merely mourning the loss.

And I certainly hope the Cavalry doesn't come after us again. :rolleyes:

[ 04-17-2003, 12:43 PM: Message edited by: Roger Stouff ]

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 12:47 PM
PARIS (AP) - Some of the looters who ravaged Iraqi antiquities appeared highly organized and even had keys to museum vaults and were able to take pieces from safes, experts said Thursday at an international meeting.

One expert said he suspected the looting was organized outside the country.

The U.N. cultural agency gathered some 30 art experts and cultural historians in Paris on Thursday to assess the damage to Iraqi museums and libraries looted in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion.

Although much of the looting was haphazard, experts said some of the thieves clearly knew what they were looking for and where to find it, suggesting they were prepared professionals.

"It looks as if part of the looting was a deliberate planned action," said McGuire Gibson, a University of Chicago professor and president of the American Association for Research in Baghdad. "They were able to take keys for vaults and were able to take out important Mesopotamian materials put in safes."

"I have a suspicion it was organized outside the country, in fact I'm pretty sure it was," Gibson said. He added that if a good police team was put together, "I think it could be cracked in no time."

Cultural experts, curators and law enforcement officials are scrambling to both track down the missing antiquities and prevent further looting of the valuables.

The pillaging has ravaged the irreplaceable Babylonian, Sumerian and Assyrian collections that chronicled ancient civilization in Mesopotamia, and the losses have triggered an impassioned outcry in cultural circles.

Many fear the stolen artifacts have been absorbed into highly organized trafficking rings that ferry the goods through a series of middlemen to collectors in Europe, the United States and Japan.

Officials at the UNESCO (news - web sites) meeting at its headquarters in Paris said the information was still too sketchy to determine exactly what was missing and how many items were unaccounted for.

The experts, which included Iraqi art officials, said some of the most valuable pieces had been placed in the vault of the national bank after the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites), but they had no information on whether the items were still there.

Sam F
04-17-2003, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ):
Roger, careful I heard SamF's spring loaded trap set from his first post. Don't step in it. This is nauseating to twist a very simple thread to serve everyone's own personal agenda. Joe,
This is my "first post" on this thread:
“High C. I don't mean to offend, but I'd work on that imagination if I were you.
People define themselves based on their history and a people who forget their history have no future.
In assigning blame here the obvious culprits are Iraqi looters, but from a ”winning hearts and minds” perspective this is an enormous failure of the US. It points to a serious lack of imagination in the chain of command as well.

I think it’s possible to understand why the Iraqis did this however…
Islam has typically been incurious of its pre-Islamic heritage. The Baghdad museum (like its counterpart in Cairo) was a welcome exception to that attitude. That sentiment appears to remain among the Arab common folk who likely identified the museum’s contents with Saddam who attempted to co-opt Iraq’s history for his own glory. And anything identified with that regime was fair game.”

In that post I was trying to do two things.
1. To deplore the stupidity of the US leaders in not protecting a world heritage site and
2. To offer a possible explanation for why the Iraqi’s did this deeply irrational and self-destructive thing. I could be wrong about that, but the explanation seems at least plausible.

There’s no trap that I can see. If you see one, can you please explain it to me?

But I think I understand why you think that I’d set a trap. I just don't agree with your premise that it’s somehow unfair to expect someone to explain and justify his views.
If someone can’t or won’t do so, silence works… if he wants to engage in conversation I’m willing and can be convinced by sound argument. It’s happened before and no doubt will again.

Besides that, in this particular case, I value Roger’s unique point of view and as a journalist he’s well qualified to write on this and many more subjects. Something that can’t be said of many of us!


Originally posted by Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ):
... Stan & Sam think how your very life's are imbedid with the history of those that went before you. Just about everything you touch or do has a linage to the preceding history. We as a global society living off the backs of previous generations. Is has nothing to do with the minor collisions of incredibly small subsets of societies in conflict with one another. It has nothing to do with Idolatry. Its a part of the human story that is gone. That's all.
We agree. Everything we do is embedded in history. Everything I am is embedded in history. As I’ve said before here on this forum, a people without a history is a people with no future. No society benefits from collective amnesia.

I suppose do have a personal “agenda”, if by that you mean a personal point of view.
I've got one alright but who doesn't? I'm sorry you find my use of it "nauseating". But I want to remind you that I'm thoroughly non-partisan. To me the only thing worse than a Democrat is a Republican or is it the other way around? smile.gif If you can find where my views support the “agenda” of any US political party please do so. I'm dying of curiosity to know the outcome so I can join the party!

I also strenuously object to your grouping of a notorious liberal like Stan in the same sentence with me! :D :D :D :D

Sam F
04-17-2003, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by Roger Stouff:
PARIS (AP) - Some of the looters who ravaged Iraqi antiquities appeared highly organized and even had keys to museum vaults and were able to take pieces from safes, experts said Thursday at an international meeting. One expert said he suspected the looting was organized outside the country...
That may be true. It's possible that outsiders are responsible. It seems even more likely that those with the keys were Saddam's lackeys out to enrich themselves. They had the time, the access and the knowledge to pull it off, almost certainly in co-operation with outsiders acting as fences. The Baathists have a lot in common with the Nazis. What did they do with art as they fled? If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the Baathists.
Someday it may be known... until then it's a police matter that I hope is pursued vigorously.

James R
04-17-2003, 02:36 PM
According to The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/login?URI=%2Farticle%2F0%2C%2CSB105053292455773900 .html) (requires subscription) the looting wasn't as bad as early reports made it out to be. Donny George, the director-general of restoration at the Iraqi Antiquities Department, said his staff had preserved the museum's most important treasures, including the kings' graves of Ur and the Assyrian bulls. These objects were hidden in vaults that haven't been violated by looters. Which explains why in earlier videos of the aftermath of the looting at the museum many of the cases, although empty, appeared undamaged.

Asked why American soldiers didn't stop the looting, Lt. Col. Eric Schwartz of the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division "said he couldn't move into the museum compound and protect it from looters last week because his soldiers were taking fire from the building--and were determined not to respond."

One thing I've learned from this war is to wait two or three days before either accepting or trying to put into context early reports from the battlefield.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-17-2003, 02:58 PM
I also think we will find that the looting was not as bad as feared. Any museum curator would place antiquities in his/her care in safe keeping in the event of war - the contents of the British Museum, National Gallery and so on spent WW2 in dry, worked out, galleries of Welsh and Cornish mines.

President Hussein certainly sought, in his propaganda, to associate his regime with the glories of the Mesopotamian past - consider the names of the battalions of his Republican Guard - just as Mussolini tried to assimilate the glories of the Roman Empire. It might be that there was some reaction to this.

Roger Stouff
04-17-2003, 04:27 PM
And CNN reported it? Wow... :D

John Weigandt
04-17-2003, 05:11 PM
The subject of protecting a document vs people was most eloquently covered in the Gene Wilder/ Harrison Ford movie "Frisco Kid"

check it out... we can occasionally learn from art.

John

Joe (SoCal)
04-17-2003, 06:32 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Joe,
This is my "first post" on this thread:

I also strenuously object to your grouping of a notorious liberal like Stan in the same sentence with me! :D :D :D :D [/QB]I knew it was your first post. I was making a collective statement of all those that posted before you creating a History of incorporating there own agendas. You layered yourself into that History with your Aztec or Mayan statement. I knew as soon as I saw you ask Roger about Aztec or Mayans you would lead him into the trap that the Aztec and Mayan societies killed and tortured native Americans.

I do apologize for grouping you with Stan - you actually think about what you post :D

Greg H
04-18-2003, 06:52 AM
Aye, Captain. The kids are our best chance.

Sam F
04-18-2003, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by Ironmule:

My earlier post is still worth thinking about: Criminal behavior I think; is first the responsibility of the criminal, and only periferally the responsibility of those who MIGHT have been able to prevent criminal activities.
You bet. There is some very strange alchemy going on when the perpetrator is ignored and the enforcer is condemned for not being omnicompetent.

On another level there is also a terrible condescension. The underlying assumption is that our "little brown brothers" (to use an antique term) are hopelessly undeveloped and therefore can't really be held accountable for their actions. I wonder if this attitude doesn’t border on racism.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-18-2003, 09:07 AM
Yes, but this attitude is common.

In Britain we are just about to be swept away by a flood of crocodile tears, because a very long, very painstaking, Police investigation has shown that two Irish Catholics, murdered by Protestant paramilitary organisations in the late 1980's, were probably "fingered" to the murderers concerned by an informer who was being "run" by an Army intelligence unit.

There are of course demands for a full Public Enquiry but, as has been pointed out the Republicans will only be satisfied if such an enquiry were not only held, but found that the not only were the targets selected, but orders for the murders came straight from Downing Street.

Which would hardly have been the case.

The idea that the junior Army officers running the unit concerned apparently had was that since their agent's cover would be blown if he stopped all such assassinations, if possible, only people who were actually involved with Republican terrorism should be murdered, rather than innocent citizens who just happened to be Catholic. It seems they might have been mistaken...

The double standard - well Gerry Adams, to name but one, was on the IRA Army Council and was therefore personally responsible for authorising a large number of murders of members of the security forces. But....he's met President Clinton and he is a "respectable politician" now....

(Please excuse some of us whilst we quietly throw up.)

stan v
04-18-2003, 09:14 AM
In mentioning Clinton, how could you quietly throw up?

Sam F
04-18-2003, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ):
[QUOTE]
I was making a collective statement of all those that posted before you creating a History of incorporating there own agendas. You layered yourself into that History with your Aztec or Mayan statement. I knew as soon as I saw you ask Roger about Aztec or Mayans you would lead him into the trap that the Aztec and Mayan societies killed and tortured native Americans.
Joe, There are lots and lots of traps out there but I don’t set them. I do sometimes point it out when I notice people falling into them. Oddly I’m seldom thanked for this service but I suppose that’s to be expected. ;)

In this society we are surrounded by… no, we are submerged in, junk ideas. We are in a barrage of idiot notions: everything from the certainty that if we buy the coolest car, live in the “right” neighborhood or get the best cosmetics, we’ll have a wonderful life to the I’m OK your OK swamp of pop-psychology and the moral relativism of academia. It all has consequences and most of it is a complete lie.
The study of history, good honest history is a valuable antidote for all this junk.
And history teaches both ways… with honest research, we have before us a history that stands in judgment of our actions and values. We can study the past’s failures and successes, atrocities and blessings and measure ourselves against it. History is humanity’s collective life story.
What if you woke up this morning with no memory of your own personal past? You wouldn’t even know that touching the hot stove was going to burn. You’d be in deep trouble. A society that forgets or willfully misreads its own history is doing just that. It is going to get badly hurt.

I routinely see folks attack the roots of our culture as oppressive, paternalistic and intolerant. Sure it’s all that, but it a lot more as well. Such selective blindness to our heritage is folly. When I point out that those “evil” missionaries did exactly as we would do were we in their position, that’s not a trap. It’s just pointing out the truth… and Joe, the truth is never a trap. Only lies entrap people.

LeeG
04-18-2003, 12:25 PM
right Sam, and lies start with a self deception.

Sam F
04-18-2003, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by LeeG:
right Sam, and lies start with a self deception.Some do some don't. Ever bought a used car?

LeeG
04-18-2003, 01:00 PM
all the time,,want an '84 Olds Delta 88? runs great!

Sam F
04-18-2003, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by LeeG:
all the time,,want an '84 Olds Delta 88? runs great!You wouldn't be leading me down the road to self-deception would you? :D

LeeG
04-18-2003, 07:09 PM
$500 with a $250 stereo, can go freeway speeds AND have the airconditioner on.

High C
06-07-2003, 05:02 PM
"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Customs agents, working with military and museum experts at the National Museum in Baghdad, have recovered nearly 40,000 manuscripts and about 700 artifacts, government officials announced in Washington Wednesday, leaving perhaps only a few dozen key pieces missing."

CNN Story (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/07/sprj.nilaw.iraqi.artifacts/index.html)

Meerkat
06-07-2003, 07:23 PM
Hey Sam - while you're busy decrying the alleged mass murders of aztecs and mayans while practicing their religions (and this is a first for me to hear it characterized as "mass murder"), do you have a tear to spare for the millions of aztec and mayans worked to death by the spanish in the silver and gold mines after the conquest of the new world? One estimate is that 10 million aztecs died in the mines in Mexico in the 20 years following the conquest. Oh my! - that's more than died in WW II in the concentration camps, and all done with the willing cooperation of the Catholic Church and the Spanish government!

Also, when you're busy decrying the "mass murders" in ancient Rome, are you conveniently overlooking that most of them where condemned crimminals according to the laws and mores of the time? Can you think of any other society that executes condemned prisoners - or are you going to argue over trivia like methods and numbers?

Sam F
06-09-2003, 08:54 AM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
Hey Sam - while you're busy decrying the alleged mass murders of aztecs and mayans …

Also, when you're busy decrying the "mass murders" in ancient Rome, are you conveniently overlooking that most of them where condemned crimminals according to the laws and mores of the time? Can you think of any other society that executes condemned prisoners - or are you going to argue over trivia like methods and numbers?Meerkat, Your anti-Christian bias has blinded you to such an extent that you undermined your own argument!
Aren’t you conveniently overlooking the fact that according to the “laws and mores of the time” it was perfectly OK to enslave Indians and work them to death?
And by the way, mentioning that Spanish colonialists killed 10 million is also according to your own standards arguing over “trivia like methods and numbers”.

I’m not busy decrying any “alleged mass murders” but real ones. There is nothing “alleged” about Aztec murders. Human sacrifice was in integral part of their religious practices and you wouldn’t lift one finger to help them if were they around today. Did you ever wonder how a handful of Spaniards managed to conquer a huge highly organized society? There are many factors but there are two basic reasons, both rooted in Aztec religion: 1. The Aztecs regularly raided their neighbors for sacrificial fodder. For some reason, these neighbors resented this and eagerly helped the Spanish. 2. Aztec war tactics never sought to kill an enemy but to capture him. He was too valuable as a sacrifice to waste killing in battle. These are the tactics of terror and were remarkably ineffective when used against real soldiers.

But you and I agree that it is objectively wrong to enslave people for any reason. What the Spanish did in their lust for gold was evil. . (btw, that lust was at least partly motivated by a government deep in debt and desperate to make the interest payments, a situation not unknown to the average American) It was also evil that slavery propped up a sizable portion of the Caribbean (Spanish and English) colonies and US’s economy.
And why were Blacks imported as slaves? Because the Indians lacked the necessary disease resistance and simply died on the job. That was bad for business and they had to be replaced with hardier stock. So while you’re correctly condemning slavery and Christian’s participation in it, save a bit of blame for business interests.

A bit of innocent fun with an unfortunate last roll down a long flight of stairs:

http://history.smsu.edu/jchuchiak/sacrifice4.gif

Then a variation with a snack:
http://history.smsu.edu/jchuchiak/sacrifice.gif

Followed by the ever popular skull rack:

http://history.smsu.edu/jchuchiak/fig20z.jpg

But maybe I'm just making all this up. :rolleyes:

[ 06-09-2003, 08:59 AM: Message edited by: Sam F ]

Keith Wilson
06-09-2003, 09:42 AM
If one studies history, one finds that there's plenty of blame to go around. :(
It's an interesting balance. On one hand, judging past people by modern standards often gets in the way of understanding - for example, focusing exclusively on Washington and Jefferson's slave owning, the sort of "Coloumbus was a racist imperialist genocidal brute" stuff we heard all the time in 1992 - but OTOH, one can't abandon one's morals altogether; the religious practices of the Aztecs were every bit as awful as SamF says, and the way the Spanish treated them after the conquest wasn't much better. Makes one appreciate modern civilization, despite all its flaws.

[ 06-09-2003, 09:42 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]