Saturday, April 19, 2003

Two week delay:

American Airlines is on the ropes. Management convinces the unions to give up 15% (or more) in pay. Then comes the news that top executives secured for themselves generous bonuses and a stronger pension plan. The unions are outraged and the agreements are in jeopardy. Management has now retreated (a bit, they gave up the bonuses but are keeping the pension). But did you know this? (from Congressman James Oberstar's [D - Minn] letter)
It is especially disturbing that the new executive benefits wefe not disclosed until the employees had agreed to reductions in their pay and benefits, and that the non-disclosure was made possible by the company obtaining a two week delay in its obligation to report the new ex:ecutive benefits to the SEC on April 1.


Friday, April 18, 2003

Holy week (part 2):

As promised, we follow our diagram of the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament) with one for key elements found in the Gospel according to St. Mark. This is mainly an exercise in presenting information in a compact format. Our interest in religion is strictly academic; we don't believe in any of this stuff. But we do think it helps to understand what millions of other people believe in, and thought it was appropriate to present it the week of Passover / Easter.


It's simply a matter of time:


Just a reminder:

On 10 April 2003, the first day the Baghdad Museum was looted, President Bush said this in his message to the Iraqi people:
Coalition forces will help maintain law and order, so that Iraqis can live in security. We will respect your great religious traditions ...
The next day, looting continued at the museum, and three days after that, the Iraq National Library and Archives was burned along with the Islamic Library of Qur'ans.

So much for respecting religious traditions.


Thursday, April 17, 2003

It's about time for this historical reference, don't you think?

Source: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - William Shirer (page 532)



From the White House Fact Sheet about taxes and their proposals we read:
A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 under the President's plan.
Is this ($45 income tax) something to be proud of?

Let's do a little back-of-the-envelope figuring.
$45 is 0.1% of $40,000 - down from the 3% the family currently pays. A reduction of 96%. If that's applied to all taxpayers (and remember, people at the Cato Institute think they should be abolished entirely), the total revenues from income taxes falls from $869 billion dollars to $33 billion - reducing the total revenues from $1.891 trillion to $989 billion - but there is $1.332 trillion of mandatory spending + interest on the debt, which means that even if all discretionary spending was eliminated, there would be an annual deficit of $343 billion.
What's discretionary spending, you ask? Well, just about everything other than Social Security and Medicare. It's:
National defense
International affairs
General science space and technology
Natural resources and environment
Commerce and housing credit
Transportation Community and regional development
Education training reemployment and social services
Health Medicare (Administrative costs)
Income security Social Security (Administrative costs)
Veterans benefits and services
Administration of Justice
General government
NOTE: While processing the data from the CBO, our spell-check highlighted the following:
Natural resources and envirnoment
Eduction, traning, remployment, and social services
Looks like something George Bush might have typed!


Dear Leader:

We are pleased to note that the hard-working scribes at The Temple of George W. Bush have penned additional Holy Writ. (First time pilgrims are advised to begin at the bottom of the cyber-vellum.)


Food for thought:

Michal Lind writes How Neoconservatives Conquered Washington – and Launched a War

Excerpt: (+emphasis)
The neocons took advantage of Bush's ignorance and inexperience. Unlike his father, a Second World War veteran who had been ambassador to China, director of the CIA, and vice president, George W was a thinly educated playboy who had failed repeatedly in business before becoming the governor of Texas, a largely ceremonial position (the state's lieutenant governor has more power). His father is essentially a northeastern moderate Republican; George W, raised in west Texas, absorbed the Texan cultural combination of machismo, anti-intellectualism and overt religiosity. The son of upper-class Episcopalian parents, he converted to Southern fundamentalism in a midlife crisis. Fervent Christian Zionism, along with an admiration for macho Israeli soldiers that sometimes coexists with hostility to liberal Jewish-American intellectuals, is a feature of the Southern culture.

The younger Bush was tilting away from Powell and toward Wolfowitz ("Wolfie," as he calls him) even before 9/11 gave him something he had lacked: a mission in life other than following in his dad's footsteps. There are signs of estrangement between the cautious father and the crusading son: Last year, veterans of the first Bush administration, including Baker, Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, warned publicly against an invasion of Iraq without authorization from Congress and the U.N.

It is not clear that George W fully understands the grand strategy that Wolfowitz and other aides are unfolding. He seems genuinely to believe that there was an imminent threat to the U.S. from Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction," something the leading neocons say in public but are far too intelligent to believe themselves. The Project for the New American Century urged an invasion of Iraq throughout the Clinton years, for reasons that had nothing to do with possible links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. Public letters signed by Wolfowitz and others called on the U.S. to invade and occupy Iraq, to bomb Hezbollah bases in Lebanon, and to threaten states such as Syria and Iran with U.S. attacks if they continued to sponsor terrorism. Claims that the purpose is not to protect the American people but to make the Middle East safe for Israel are dismissed by the neocons as vicious anti-Semitism.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003


While campaigning in 2002, President Bush said the following:
1   OCT 14 Michigan September the 11th changed the equation, changed our thinking. It also changed our thinking when we began to realize that one of the most dangerous things that can happen in the modern era is for a deceiving dictator who has gassed his own people, who has weapons of mass destruction to team up with an organization like al Qaeda.
2   OCT 28 Colorado [Saddam is] a person who claims he has no weapons of mass destruction, in order to escape the dictums of the U.N. Security Council and the United Nations -- but he's got them
3   OCT 28 New Mexico He's got weapons of mass destruction.
4   OCT 31 South Dakota There is a threat in Iraq. And the threat exists because a leader there not only has denied and deceived the world about whether or not he's got weapons of mass destruction, but this is a guy who's used weapons of mass destruction. He not only has them, he's used them.
5   NOV 01 New Hampshire We know he's got chemical weapons, probably has biological weapons.
6   NOV 02 Tennessee We know that this is a man who has chemical weapons, and we know he's used them.
7   NOV 02 Atlanta, Georgia He's a man who has said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them.
8   NOV 02 Florida He's a man who has said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them. ... You know, not only does he have weapons of mass destruction, but, incredibly enough, he has used weapons of mass destruction.
9   NOV 03 Minnesota This is a man who not only has got chemical weapons, I want you to remind your friends and neighbors, that he has used chemical weapons.
10   NOV 03 Illinois I see the world the way it is. Saddam Hussein is a threat to America. He's a threat to our friends. He's a man who said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, yet he has them.
11   NOV 03 South Dakota Saddam Hussein is a man who told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them.
12   NOV 04 Texas He said he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction -- he has weapons of mass destruction. ... Not only has he got chemical weapons, but I want you to remember, he's used chemical weapons.
13   NOV 04 Arkansas This is a man who told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, promised he wouldn't have them. He's got them. ... He said he wouldn't have chemical weapons, he's got them.
14   NOV 04 Missouri He said he wouldn't have chemical weapons; he's got them.
And from the "leave within 48 hours" address of 17 March 2003:
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
And while we're at it, Bush also made claims for an Iraqi - al Qaeda connection at least 11 times on the campaign trail last year.


We've reached the tipping point here at uggabugga:

Only a criminal mind-set ...
  • Would allow utility companies to rig markets in order to extort billions from consumers.

  • Would bring back into government former officials who lied to Congress.

  • Would sit back and do nothing while thieves loot and pillage museums and libraries.

  • Would promote a crook to be the new leader of Iraq.


Baghdad Museum destruction round-up:

Here are some editorials about it: (excerpts + emphasis)

The Hartford Courant
This is a public relations disaster for the United States as well as a cultural one for the Iraqis. American troops apparently were nearby during the looting. Why they did not secure the Baghdad museum until it was too late remains unanswered.

Safeguarding Iraq's museums and its archaeological sites is a U.S. obligation, especially while anarchy reigns and until a new government is in place. It is at least as important as protecting the oil fields that fuel Iraq's economy.
Boston Globe
And the awful truth is that the US government bears a shameful responsibility for not preventing this crime against history. Archaeologists and art historians made strenuous efforts before the war to warn the Department of Defense that there had been looting after the 1991 Gulf War, that looting could be expected again, and that the one site above all which had to be protected from looters was the National Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was indulging in misleading public relations when he said on ''Meet the Press'' Sunday, ''We didn't allow it. It happened. . . . We don't allow bad things to happen. Bad things happen in life, and people do loot.''
Korea Herald
American and British forces, their commanders and ultimately George W. Bush and Tony Blair, cannot avoid the blame for their negligence in protecting cultural assets of the nation they invaded. If some of the effort that they expended in winning control of Iraq's many oil fields had been allocated to protecting cultural assets, they would have successfully guarded the precious contents of the Baghdad museum.

In their extreme frustration, critics charge that the coalition forces would have done better if these were Christian sites, comparing the damage with what the crusades did a millennium ago. We also cannot but suspect that ignorance, and possibly cultural disdain, among commanders and troops may have kept them from being more proactive in protecting the antiquities of Iraq, which they also own as members of humanity.
North Jersey Herald News
What is inexcusable about the looting and the destruction of museums and libraries is the lack of visible concern by the Bush administration. Clearly, there was a plan for rebuilding oil fields long before the first precision-guided bomb was dropped. What resources were and are more valuable to the administration: Oil or the Iraqi culture?

What the bombs did not destroy, a lawless populace has. Looting is only abating because there is little left to loot. The administration cannot take cover under platitudes, that free people also are free to break the law. The Iraqi revolution is not homegrown. Saddam was overthrown by the order of the president of the United States. The commitment to change regimes came with a complex price. It is not enough to remove the dictator and his minions; an effective form of law and order must take its place simultaneously.

The loss of priceless works of antiquity could have been prevented. The loss of property and damage to Baghdad's infrastructure could have been prevented. U.S. taxpayers will bear the brunt of paying for rebuilding Baghdad and other large Iraqi cities.
History News Network
The looting of the museum is all the more tragic because so many of the objects were still unpublished. Almost everything that was officially excavated in Iraq since the twenties of the last century was deposited there.

... it is the duty of an invading army to preserve not only the lives of civilians, but also their cultural heritage. With this in mind, archaeologists had supplied our military and civilian authorities with a ranked list of cultural sites that were to be protected once the war broke out and it was our understanding that the authorities agreed to guard these sites once they were under their control. It is both a tragedy and a disgrace that our forces were not prepared to control Iraqi cities once they had abolished local power, and hence did not fulfill that promise.

The public reaction of our government officials has been shameful, to say the least. Rather than express remorse and horror to the looting of hospitals and cultural treasures, our secretary of defense has made merry at the site of looters carrying pottery and excused the plunder as "untidiness." In our democracy administrations come and go, with a shelf life or four or eight years, but the consequence of their actions in the name of us all sometimes last forever. Such callousness is unworthy of our country, and no matter what opinions one holds on the justification and legality of this war, one should expect more from out public servants. There is little shame in admitting miscalculations and mistakes; the whole world is watching us and unless we want to be viewed as the great barbarians of the twenty-first century, we must demand that our elected government take responsibility for what has happened and pledge to do its best to repair the damage and prevent any reoccurrence of these horrific events. The fact that this looting took place on our watch is bad enough, but such statements reveal an utter disregard for other peoples' achievements and for our common global cultural patrimony.
Sacramento Bee
American archeologists warned the Pentagon before the war that some of the world's oldest treasures would be at risk, either from U.S. bombing or the kind of collapse of order that ensued. And Iraqi curators said they had been assured by U.S. officials that their antiquities would be protected as soon as U.S. forces were able to do so.
John Nichols / Madison Newspapers
... when rioters were tearing up the U.S.-controlled city of Baghdad last week, Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld responded by saying, "Stuff happens." Echoing statements by other Bush administration apparatchiks, Rumsfeld described the looting of the city as an "untidy" display of freedom.

Marble carvings, stone tablets, clay pots and tablets containing some of the earliest known examples of writing were destroyed or stolen. The pillaging of the Baghdad museum represented far more than an Iraqi loss. John Russell, an archeologist at the Massachusetts College of Art, described the destruction as a blow to "the world's human history." Noting that the museum's collection included some of the earliest examples of mathematics and some of the first legal codes ever written, the British Museum's Dominique Collon described the damage in Baghdad as "truly a world heritage loss."

Thousands of the finest soldiers in the world were in and around Baghdad. They could have protected government buildings, hospitals and the world's great archeological and historical treasures. ... But the troops were busy elsewhere - pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein for the TV cameras and defending the building that houses the Iraqi ministry of, you guessed it, oil.

When U.S. and allied troops took charge of the great cities of Europe during World War II, they proudly defended museums and other cultural institutions. They could have done the same in Baghdad. And they would have, had a signal come from the Pentagon.

But the boss at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, who had promised to teach the Iraqi people how to live in freedom, was too busy explaining that rioting and looting are what free people are free to do.


Of interest:

Tim Robbins address to National Press Club.


Evil Mr. Rogers:

Background story and interview here. pdf of the poster is here (we shrunk it down as much as possible while trying to maintain readability on our page).


Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Simmer down:

For a more civil discussion on the destruction of museums and libraries in Iraq, we recommend Body and Soul*. We, on the other hand, are outraged at what appears to be one of the most significant destructive acts of history. Up there with the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria (642) and the sack of Constantinople (1204). Thus, our harsh tone this week.

* permalinks broken at present

ALSO CHECK OUT: This extensive and scholarly review of the damage (via



Inspired by


For the record:

  • Iraq Museum of Archaeology (National Museum)

  • Iraq National Library and Archives

  • Islamic Library of Qur'ans (at the Iraq Ministry of Religious Endowment)
Question 1: Does President Bush - bachelor's degree in history in 1968 from Yale University - give a damn?

Question 2: How bad do things have to get before Ralph Nader admits that his presidential run was a big mistake?


Can you believe it?

After the international uproar over the looting and destruction of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad on Friday - which got plenty of press by Sunday - we now learn this:

Dateline Tuesday 15 April:
Ancient archive lost in Baghdad library blaze

As flames engulfed Baghdad's National Library [Monday], destroying manuscripts many centuries old, the Pentagon admitted that it had been caught unprepared by the widespread looting of antiquities, despite months of warnings from American archaeologists.

But defence department officials denied accusations by British archaeologists that the US government was succumbing to pressure from private collectors in America to allow plundered Iraqi treasures to be traded on the open market.

Almost nothing remains of the library's archive of tens of thousands of manuscripts, books, and Iraqi newspapers, according to reports from the scene.

It joins a list that already includes the capital's National Museum, one of the world's most important troves of artefacts from the ancient Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilisations.
Rumsfeld is a goddamn motherfucker.

An eye-witness account by Robert Fisk is here. And the associated FreeRepublic thread is here. Comments we noted:
  • Tsk, tsk, Fisk. Robert, you just don't seem to grasp the historic nature of this operation, it has often been said to destroy a country you must first destroy it's history. I call this a good start.

  • You mean that 1400 years of the records of one oppresive, murderous regime after another has gone up in smoke? That sounds liberating to me as if the burden of centuries of repression is lifted from one's shoulders. Too bad it couldn't have been done symbolically, but maybe this is the only way to do it.

  • You know... I didn't think there was anything in the world that could cause me to rationalize the burning of a library.

    But the image of Fisk silhouetted against the flames, howling dismally like a kicked dog over the loss of the sacred written treasures of his beloved Islam, is delectable enough to make me think it *might* be something for which it *would* be worth burning a library...
Oh, and while we're on the subject of wanton destruction, here are some thoughts from Rush Limbaugh (specifically about the museum looting):
  • If anything, the Iraqis have engaged in "targeted looting," taking back what the Baath Party and other Saddam thugs have stolen from them in the past three decades.

  • [Soldiers are] not there to "arrest" people. They're there to kill people and break things.

  • I don't buy this "great treasures of Iraqi culture," anyway. Saddam ruined their culture.

  • It's also possible that the media simply seeks to find fault in anything the government does - that is, when Republicans are in power.

  • As I told many of you e-mailers who objected to my statement that Iraq has no culture: it was looted and destroyed by Saddam these past 30 years.
Every statement by Limbaugh is False.

This is the ultimate triumph of anti-intellectualism.

Richard Hofstadter wrote about this phenomenon 40 years ago, but surely he didn't think it would get this bad.

ADDENDUM: Not to be outdone, Jonathan Foreman writes this in the New York Post: (excerpt, emphasis added)
Yes, even the most benign and directed looting can quickly turn ugly - and some of it is indeed quite awful (obviously, the looting of the National Museum and Library is a tragedy). Still, you can surely forgive the people of Baghdad for taking advantage of the disappearance of a brutal and oppressive state to (in the words of Col. Willie Williams) "take back some of what had been stolen from them."

For the first time in three decades, they are breathing the fresh air of freedom. They may take their new liberty too far. But there's definitely something creepy and cruel about the cry for order. And it's to the credit of the U.S. Army that it's not leaping to defend the possessions and privileges of the old regime.
The commentary above was linked to by Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review over at The Corner, who agreed with the "creepy and cruel" characterization and thought the fuss was the result of the "media's hysterical looting coverage".


Monday, April 14, 2003

Thief of Baghdad?

From Salon and the Guardian, we learn the following about Ahmad Chalabi - the man favored by the Pentagon to succeed Saddam Hussein:


Fred "know nothing" Barnes:

In an editorial in The Weekly Standard mostly devoted to encouraging Bush to continue a hard-line foreign policy, The Tempting of the President, Fred Barnes has this to say: (emphasis added)
The United States has allowed France to exert influence that far exceeds its economic or military strength. One source of this power, France's U.N. veto, will be curtailed quite naturally as Bush turns away from the U.N. as a vehicle for American foreign policy. But it will take boldness to dash French power in another arena, the G8 summit of industrialized democracies. The G8 is antiquated. Neither France nor Canada has an economy that warrants membership. What's needed is a new organization that includes representatives of the dollar (U.S.), yen (Japan), pound (Great Britain), and euro (Germany), plus Italy and nations with rising economies (India, China, Russia).
We are amazed that so many people consider France to be some sort of extremely minor country. It's not. Here, for example, are the military and economic figures for the countries mentioned by Barnes: (source CIA World Factbook, except for Russia military)
by GDP
country GDP
$ trillions
$ billions
United States $10.08 $300.0
China $6.00 $55.0
Japan $3.55 $40.7
India $2.66 $12.0
Germany $2.18 $38.8
France $1.54 $46.5
United Kingdom $1.52 $31.7
Italy $1.43 $20.2
Russia $1.27 $50.0
Canada $0.92 $7.8
Since when did 6th place disqualify a country for membership in the G8?


Sunday, April 13, 2003


Friday 21 March: British and American troops pushed northward Friday into Iraq as amphibious Marine units spread out over the southern tip of the country, securing oil-pumping stations and pipelines - and suffering the first casualties of the war.
Tuesday 1 April: US Marines sent on mission to secure oil wells

Washington has said a top priority is to protect Iraq's oil wealth for its people.
Monday 7 April: U.S. forces in tanks and armored vehicles stormed into the center of Baghdad on Monday, seizing one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in a bold daylight raid aimed at demonstrating the Americans can come and go as they please.

In the heart of Baghdad, American soldiers who reached the gold-and-blue-domed New Presidential Palace used the toilets, rifled through documents in the bombed-out compound, and helped themselves to ashtrays, pillows, gold-painted Arab glassware and other souvenirs. The Americans also blew up a statue of Saddam on horseback in the center of the city.

"I do believe this city is freakin' ours," boasted Capt. Chris Carter of Watkinsville Ga
Wednesday 9 April: At first Iraqis, armed with only rope and a sledge hammer, attempted to bring down the statue - erected less than a year ago to mark Saddam's birthday. But it proved to be too tough for them.

The US army then sent in an M 88 tank recovery vehicle which, once a chain was placed around Saddam's neck, made short work of pulling down the statue.
Wednesday (cont.) Abdul Rehman Mugeer, a senior guard, was shaking with anger ... at the destruction. He praised the US for at least parking four tanks in front of the museum when they took control of Baghdad ... Wednesday. But they were later removed, leaving the museum to the mercy of rampaging Iraqis.
Thursday 10 April: An Iraqi archaeologist who has taken part in the excavation of some of the country's 10,000 sites, Raid Abdul Ridhar Muhammad, said he went into the street in the Karkh district, a short distance from the eastern bank of the Tigris, about 1 p.m. on Thursday to find American troops to quell the looting. By that time, he and other museum officials said, the several acres of museum grounds were overrun by thousands of men, women and children, many of them armed with rifles, pistols, axes, knives and clubs, as well as pieces of metal torn from the suspensions of wrecked cars. The crowd was storming out of the complex carrying antiquities on hand carts, bicycles and wheelbarrows and in boxes. Looters stuffed their pockets with smaller items.

Mr. Muhammad said that he had found an American Abrams tank in Museum Square, about 300 yards away, and that five marines had followed him back into the museum and opened fire above the looters' heads. That drove several thousand of the marauders out of the museum complex in minutes, he said, but when the tank crewmen left about 30 minutes later, the looters returned.

"I asked them to bring their tank inside the museum grounds," he said. "But they refused and left. About half an hour later, the looters were back...
Thursday (cont.) Much of the looting occurred Thursday, according to a security guard who stood by helplessly as hoards broke into the museum with wheelbarrows and carts and stole priceless jewelry, clay tablets and manuscripts.
Thursday (cont.) U.S. troops occupied the Oil Ministry. But the nine-story Ministry of Transport building was gutted by fire, as was the Iraqi Olympic headquarters, while the Ministry of Education was partially burned. Near the Interior Ministry, the office building of Saddam Hussein's son Odai stood damaged, its upper floors blackened.
Friday 11 April: ... 48-hour rampage at the museum ...
Sunday 13 April: U.S. Army troops and armor blocked access to the main palace grounds. The Oil Ministry also appeared intact with a heavy U.S. military presence inside. Also intact were some of the power installations, power stations and power grids.

And over at FreeRepublic, these comments:

This was not "their civilization" - it was rather the common heritage of humanity. No doubt there's more in the ground to be dug up.
This experience demonstrates why antiquities should never be left in just the home country - as discovered they need to be spread around so that a single event can't destroy all of the materials.
The looters will probably take as good care of the antiquities as did the museum keepers - maybe better! All we have here is a change of ownership - not the destruction of the materials, and appropriate funding plus information from the catalogs will enable the exhibits to be put back together (in time).
I'm of the opinion that if it was in that Museam and Saddam left it had zero value to anyone.
"Pillagers"- at last the reporters are referring to the Baath Party accurately.
Or perhaps the reporters have never heard of a planned museum robbery.
Ancient history museums are by definition traffickers in stolen property. Now somebody else has stolen the stuff. Turnabout is fair play. Life will go on, the sun will come up tomorrow.
When did it become a job description of our military to protect Iraqi property?
"This stuff is all plunder, many times over."
I second that
All that great stuff isn't worth the life on one soldier who might have died to protect it. Fini
Yup. Its our fault. The whole thing. < /sarcasm>
If the damned museum was so concerned, they could have moved the stuff someplace else. I am sure everybody there saw what was coming
CNN had a WINER on TV a few minutes ago talking about the loss of thousands of years of historical Items.
Please Liberal Whiners GIVE US A BREAK!
LIBERAL WHINERS DESPERATE to find something wrong.
Ever since Gulf War 1, the totalitarian-left dominated Cultural Anthropology establishment in the United States has cited possible damage to antiquities as a reason for avoiding any kind of decisive action against the Saddam regime. This has been a regular and very shrill theme in Archeology magazine and many others. Given that background, and with Al Reuters as the source, I think a healthy dose of skepticism is called for here.
The loss of the antiquities collection will be Saddam's one lasting legacy
The museum director and top staff should be prosecuted for failure to protect such national treasures.
More like Baghdads Iniquities museum
8 million pictures statues plaques and autobiographies of Saddam Hussein...
Shove it up your arse... our troops have more important things to do.
We must have our reasons to allow this lawlessness for awhile. When it ceases to serve our purposes, we'll stop it.
I'd guess we can find most of these treasures resting at the museum director's villas in Syria and France.
After most wars the troops of the victorious side would have looted the museum and returned the treasure to their home country and put a bullet hole in the head of the museum director.
This woman should count her blessings.
The treasures remain in country and will help to jump-start the economy when they are sold. ;-)
In any event I'm not particularly bothered by this.
This article makes it sound obvious that stories of all 170,000 items being looted or smashed are total BS. Should have been obvious from the get go.
I still think the Museum Directors are probably guilty.
But no worries, these artifacts were stolen to be sold and they will slowly make it back to collections, galleries and museums of the world.
Besides, not very many archaeology professors vote Republican ANYWAYS, so we're safe.
Yes, it will reverberate for 1000 years that we failed to act. The reason won't matter. It did not take a rocket scientist to anticipate the looting of this museum and prepare for it. Rummy and Myers have lost some of their luster in my mind and it grieves me to say that because I have been in total support of this war. I don't want to see Rummy's face for a while. This is bad.
>>>>>The Americans and British didn't raid the Museum, the Iraqi people did<<<<
True. But it is also true that occupying force is responsible to establish order and prevent exactly such events. From the article it seems that it was provided for 30 minutes and it did have effect.

1907 Hague Convention
Article 43
The authority of the legitimate power having actually passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all steps in his power to re-establish and insure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

Article 56
The property of the communes, that of religious, charitable, and educational institutions, and those of arts and science, even when State property, shall be treated as private property. All seizure of, and destruction, or intentional damage done to such institutions, to historical monuments, works of art or science, is prohibited, and should be made the subject of proceedings.
Rummy and Myers have lost some of their luster in my mind and it grieves me to say that because I have been in total support of this war. I don't want to see Rummy's face for a while. This is bad.
I agree.
Priceless? They are rocks. Whoever took them isn't interested in having a "priceless" rock sit on his kitchen table. He's going to sell 'em on the black market, and they will eventually make their way back to a museum, where they can continue to collect dust.
There was far more than just "rocks" at that museum. Did you see the destruction in the pics?
Why do you think we preserve the original Declaration of Independence in Washington DC? Heck there is a picture of it in every civics book. Those artifacts dated back to the very beginning of civilization. In my book, this is a true disaster for all of us.


Angry man:

Before reading this Op-Ed about Conservative Crybabies, know this word:
flense; flensed; flensing
transitive verb
Etymology: Dutch flensen or Danish & Norwegian flense
Date: 1820
to strip (as a whale) of blubber or skin


Holy week:

This is off-topic for uggabugga, but considering that Passover begins on Wednesday, and Easter Sunday is next week, we thought this might be of interest to some of our readers. Partly as an exercise in the visual display of information, partly as an exercise in rationalizing the Bible, and partly to get a quick overview of the material, we decided to diagram the Hebrew Bible (aka "Old Testament"). We're new to this subject, being atheists and all, but figured that it would be useful to understand something that influenced (and continues to influence) history and social trends. One thing that bothered us when tacking this project was the organization of the books of the Bible. We were quickly confused. Since the Hebrew Bible is largely a historical narrative, we decided to present the key elements within a time-and-space context. We are not making any judgments about the material. We are working strictly from the text - especially in the early period - and only letting scholarly views (which would relegate anything prior to Samuel as myth) influence some book dating.

That said, here is an overview of the Hebrew Bible:

Next week: some of the New Testament.

ADDENDUM: While we're on the subject of history and heritage, we can only express our disgust at this story of the looting of the Baghdad museum. (And also reported here in the LATimes)

And if that wasn't enough, consider this story from Thursday, 10 April: (excerpts)
Apparent lobbying by American art dealers to dismantle Iraq's strict export laws has heightened fears about the looting of the country's antiquities as order breaks down in the last stages of the war.

For poor Iraqis the temptation to sell stolen antiquities will be greatly increased if it is known there is a ready market in the west.

Dominque Collon, assistant keeper in the department of the ancient near east at the British Museum, said today that alarm bells had been set ringing by reports of a meeting between a coalition of antiquities collectors and arts lawyers, calling itself the American Council for Cultural Policy (ACCP), with US defence and state department officials before the start of the war. The group offered help in preserving Iraq's invaluable archaeological collections, but archaeologists fear there is a hidden agenda to ease the way for exports post-Saddam.

The ACCP's treasurer, William Pearlstein, has described Iraq's laws as "retentionist", and the group includes influential dealers who favour a relaxation of the current tight restrictions on the ownership and export of antiquities.

Dr Collon said: "This is just the sort of thing that will encourage looting. Once there is American blessing they have got a market for these antiquities and it becomes open season. The last thing we want is condoned looting."

The ACCP denied accusations of wanting to change Iraq's treatment of antiquities and said at the January meeting they offered post-war technical and financial assistance and conservation support.
And more. This remarkable exchange on Meet The Press:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the situation, the non-military situation, if you will, in Iraq and that is the whole issue of looting. This was the scene with the Museum of Antiquities, which housed treasures dating back thousands and thousands of years from the beginning of civilization. And it was ransacked and destroyed, about 170,000 items. The head of the museum said, "Our heritage is finished." What happened there? How did we allow that museum to be looted?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: "How did we allow?" Now, that's really a wonderful, amazing statement. No, let me...

MR. RUSSERT: But, how are we...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: ...just say a word, here.

MR. RUSSERT: No, no. Wait, wait.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

MR. RUSSERT: No, let me be precise, 'cause it's an important point.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: But we didn't allow it. It happened. And that's what happens when you go from a dictatorship with repressed order, police state, to something that is going to be different. There's a transition period, and no one is in control. There are periods where-there was still fighting in Baghdad. We don't allow bad things to happen. Bad things do happen in life and people do loot. We've seen that in the United States. It's happened in every country. It's a shame when it happens. I'll bet you anything that if they - when order is restored, and we have a more permissive environment, that there will be opportunities to ask people to return some of those things that were taken. We've already found people returning supplies to hospitals.

MR. RUSSERT: What the heads of the museum will say is that they actually asked for the U.S. to help protect it, and that the U.S. declined. Is that accurate?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness. Look, I have no idea. We've got troops on the ground, and who do you know who he asked, and whether his assignment that moment was to guard a hospital instead? Those kinds of things are so anecdotal. And it always breaks your heart to see destruction of things. But...

MR. RUSSERT: The Red Cross said hospitals were also looted. Does that surprise you? I mean, it's one thing for the Iraqis to ransack, loot Saddam's palaces, and steal his faucets, it's quite another to loot their own museum and their own hospitals. Did that surprise you?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Surprise me? I don't know. Disorder happens every time there's a transition. We saw it in Eastern European countries when they moved from the Communist system to a free system. We've seen it in Los Angeles, here in our own country, we've seen it in Detroit, we've seen it in city after city when there was a difficulty. And it always breaks your heart. You're always sorry to see it.

And it isn't something that someone allows or doesn't allow. It's something that happens.

We know that people - there are people who do bad things. There are people who steal from hospitals in the United States. So does it surprise me that people went into a hospital and did something? I guess it doesn't surprise me. It's a shame. It's too bad. And we're trying to get medical supplies in to the hospitals that were robbed, and we're doing it, and we're having good success at it.