June 16, 2003

More on the non-looting in Baghdad

David at Cronaca features an article in the Washington Post wherein a Professor James Russell bemoans the effect the exaggerated accounts of the looting of the Baghdad Museum is having, but he sidesteps the question of why so many of the museum officials basically lied. (As a matter of fact, you should be visiting Cronaca for all your updates on this and other reports from the archaeology world.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at June 16, 2003 11:00 AM

The thing that REALLY got me from Russell's article was the way it flowed.

--Heard that Baghdad Museum was looted. Can't believe US forces were so slipshod and didn't care about humanity's treasures.
--Heard that Baghdad Museum wasn't looted. Can't stop admiring how well the Iraqi administrators protected their holdings. Include quote about how I still unequivocally trust them.
--Heard that southern Iraq still has looting. Can't believe that US forces are so incompetent.

Between the "I stand w/ Iraq" and the "I can't believe American incompetence," there's both a subject switch (Baghdad--->southern Iraq) and more than a little "I'd sooner trust Iraqi Ba'ath party members who administer museums than American occupation troops."

Yeah, thanx Professor Russell.

Posted by: Dean at June 16, 2003 at 03:40 PM

"In mid-May I visited the museum as part of the first U.N. cultural mission to Iraq after the war. As I walked through the empty galleries with the museum's director, Nawala Mutawalli, I would point to familiar display cases and ask about favorite objects they once contained. Usually she would smile slightly and say, "It's safe." I wondered why we hadn't seen those pieces when we visited the storerooms, but I didn't pursue it."

Why the &^*( not? Especially since weeks later, Donny George was still not revising the 170K figure and going along with "American soldiers were seen entering the museum and leaving with objects?" [1st week of June in London]

Posted by: John Anderson at June 17, 2003 at 09:18 AM