Rarely do I post the lede to a story that I’m posting a link to, but I think that you’ll find the lede gets one’s blood to the proper temperature. Salon today reports on the destruction of Iraq’s cultural history. Despite Donald Rumsfeld’s “can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs” attitude, the potential loss of Iraq’s cultural history was a well known risk before US Marines moved into Iraq:
On Jan. 24 at the Pentagon, a small group of accomplished archeologists and art curators met with Joseph Collins, who reports directly to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and four other Pentagon officials to talk about how the U.S. military could protect Iraq’s cultural and archeological sites from damage and destruction during the impending war in that country. McGuire Gibson, a professor at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, gave the officials a list of 5,000 cultural and archeological sites. First on the list: the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad.
Salon also has an interview about the lost antiquities as well with Linda Komaroff, an expert on Islamic art. (It should be pointed out that much of the collection that was destroyed or stolen predates the Islamic era, in many cases by thousands of years.)
Update: Loyal readers know that I’m always thrilled when someone resigns in protest. Well, two Bush advisors stepped down because we failed to prevent the looting and destruction of Iraq’s cultural artifacts.