Thursday, July 07, 2011

I Hate The War

Lily Kuo (Reuters) reports, "An ancient bead necklace, terra cotta tablets from ancient Babylonia depicting Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, and posters of deposed leader Saddam Hussein were among artifacts that U.S. officials returned to the Iraqi government on Thursday." Jason Ukman (Washington Post) explains, "An estimated 15,000 pieces were stolen from Iraq’s National Museum in pillaging after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and many more are believed to have been smuggled out since then by U.S. military personnel and contractors. More than half of the items that have turned up in the United States or elsewhere have been repatriated to Iraq, but treasured items remain missing."

Reading the full stories linked to above is sort of off-putting and I'm sure that's me and not the reports or reporters. But the article itself clearly is the problem with Marieke van der Vaart's "Iraqi antiquities looted in war returned: U.S. helps restore cultural heritage" (Washington Times) the problem's right there in the subtitle (and parading through the article): "U.S. helps restore cultural heritage."

There is no victory lap here.

The antiquities were looted not because the giant looters, armed to the tooth, battled US forces in downtown Baghdad and managed to whisk various artificats out of Baghdad and then out of the country.

The US military refused to protect the museum. It was right next to the oil ministry. That got protected. The Bush White House decided that was a priority. The museum?

Donald Rumsfeld made jokes about it.

And don't just blame Rumsfeld. Blame the suck up press too.

Rumsfeld declared, at a press conference, "The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over and over and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times and you think, 'my goodness, were there that many vases?' Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?" And when he was saying this, the press was chuckling, eating it up. People in New Orleans take needed food -- which would have spoiled quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- and a segment of the US press wants them shot and killed. But Iraq's museum is looted, treasures are taken, possibly lost forever, and the US press thinks it's cute and funny and finds Donald Rumsfeld endearing. Boy, did they turn on him quick when he was no longer Secretary of Defense. So they're not only suck ups, they're disloyal ones at that.

There are no bragging rights to "We found them!!!" The US government should have made the Iraqi museum a priority, it should have been a secured site. The refusal to do what was required aided the looting.

And here's your second clue that's there's nothing to brag about here, Eric Fiegel (CNN) reports, "Some of the items were recovered in Jacksonville, Florida; El Paso, Texas; and Little Rock, Arkansas, during investigations by the FBI and ICE. In Jacksonville, U.S Custom and Border Protection agents say while examining military containers they discovered AK-47 rifles and colorful painting's hidden behind medical equipment."

Did you catch that? Before chanting "We're number one!," grasp where the artifacts were recovered: Florida, Texas, Arkansas, etc. US hands are all over these crimes. There's nothing to brag about here.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4469. Tonight it remains [PDF format warning] 4472. (Today's reported deaths are not in that count.)

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