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News :: DNC
Spoils of War: the Antiquities Trade and the Looting of Iraq
06 Jan 2004
Archaeological destruction throughout Iraq
Spoils of War: The Antiquities Trade and the Looting of Iraq

by Gregory Elich

It has been called the worst cultural disaster to happen since the Second
World War, and one archaeologist has likened it to a "lobotomy of an entire
culture." To the dismay of archaeologists throughout the world, the
toppling of the Iraqi government by U.S. troops unleashed a wave of looting
and destruction of Iraq's national patrimony. Despite pleas for action from
outraged scholars, the culturally blinkered Bush Administration remained
indifferent, belatedly acting only when media coverage mushroomed into a
public relations fiasco that threatened to upend the manufactured image of
benign liberation. Although the scale of loss from the looting of the
National Museum in Baghdad was less serious than initially indicated, it was
nevertheless a crippling blow, while elsewhere in Iraq the situation ran
alarmingly out of control.

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