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harping on

This was the first post about the looting, in which I take people to task for claiming that the artifacts lost were more important than the lives of human beings.

Then there was this post, which linked to several other people writing about the same thing and in which a person was quoted as saying that they would choose saving a piece of ancient clay over a baby.

This morning there was this post, also linking to other stories about the same subject, including an article from Counterpunch which likened Americans to the Mongols.

Then the one below this one, linking to another good blogging piece on the looting.

Now that all of the posts are gathered in one place, I will go on finding more shallow, materialistic, self-centered people who are going on and on about golden harps being more valuable than human lives.


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» More on the Baghdad Museum looting from Too Much To Dream
Michele is tying all her posts on this together. She also links to this post (for April 14th, 11:58pm --... [Read More]


I'm glad I'm not the only one stuck on this. I was a kid in Berkeley during the Vietnam riots, -- those were riots. The majority of what I'm seeing coming from Iraq is pretty happy looking people taking stuff from Saddam's government. I don't remember happy faces in Berkeley.

Well, a golden harp IS pretty cool.

Plus, golden harps are forever and people die at some point anyway. And you can think the loss of ancient antiquities is a bad thing and still not want people killed?

Look, I think what's needed here is some perspective. Humanity is more than the sum of its dust collecting knick-knacks and effluvium; it is the divine spark that lies within each of us, the infinite potential that exists in every new life, the aspiration to greater purpose and the ability for near infinite compassion and grace. A single human life is more valuable than the extant archives of the Vatican and the Popes entire collection of troll dolls - and this from a practicing Catholic mind you.

Second, let’s not forget we’re talking about things here, not people. These are simply things, antiquities yes but still just objects that represent a decayed history, a civilization long since passed from this earth. You cannot rob a culture of its greatness by robbing it of artifacts; a culture so easily hobbled lost its greatness long ago. And at no point is this a crime against humanity – to say so cheapens the charge. children’s prisons are a crime against humanity, institutionalized rape and torture is a crime against humanity, Water World was a crime against humanity – but not looting a museum.

That said I must admit that I believe it was a profoundly criminal act to have sacked the museum, and I’m sure the Ba’ath party officials who did so will be brought to justice, assuming France plans on honouring it’s extradition treaty with the U.S., otherwise they’ll be stuck sipping café au lait at a second rate bistro on the banks of the Seine…on second thought leave ‘em there just get the goods back. At least that way all of our enemies are in one easy to swat spot.

how much of the angst and wailing distress over the bits ... or just another thing to blame on bush?

it's rarely about the issues so much as a chance to bash america or policy or the president.

and it's not, at the heart of it, so much about that as it is about their problems with their parents.

/cheap psychoanalysis

Hey, I consider myself shallow and self centered and I resent being compared to the Museum Mob!

My only beef with the whole looting thing was the way it seemed to be condoned by us. The things looted from the government buildings does not belong to the looters ... it belongs to the people of Iraq. And it should have been one of the responsibilities of the new government to determine the proper disposition of such material. Letting the biggest and most aggressive grab the lions share of spoils was exactly what I thought we went over there to prevent.

Anyway, it was more the appearance that looting would be tolerated that bothered me, more than the actual looting.

You know, what many people I talked to say about this attitude "just a bit looting of old stuff"? They say that one has to be a society with this huge lack of culture like the US oftenly seems, to see it that cool and even have fun about it. It seems, some people don't really get, that it's not just "some old stuff" like Apache-tents or so. There went a part of human history. Not iraq history not white people history - history of mankind. And please, don't try on me this whining about the "poor children".

Lilli, please explain what you mean by whining about the poor children. Do you mean that I should not be upset that there are people who would choose clay pots over the life of a child?

I am very upset over the loss of these pieces of history. Iraq is where civilization began and those artifacts represent that.

But I do have my priorities. Freedom for millions of people, human life and dignity...those are things I choose over the museum pieces.

And you can bet your last dollar that Saddam and his regime had a whole lot to do with most of the missing loot.

"I will go on finding more shallow, materialistic, self-centered people who are going on and on about golden harps being more valuable than human lives."

Which human lives are you talking about, dear?

The Iraqis? The soldiers and civilians who have been slaughtered in the last few weeks? You care a lot about them, don't you? Those humans?

Obviously, to you at least, "materialists" don't include the people protecting oil wells rather than the priceless artifacts of human culture. Those materialists just don't get it. Unlike you, of course.

Like "saving a human baby over saving a piece of clay" is even a real choice, outside of your own mind.

Who says we can't do both?


You did, apparently. After all, those Iraqi soldiers we "slaughtered" were defending a regime that justified, among other things, making a CNN stringer watch his wife be torn to bits in front of him.

Sorry, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim that we "slaughtered" enemy troops, as though it was somehow a bad thing, then claim that you value the lives of the Iraqis who didn't die this week, thanks to Saddam.

I'm curious, btw, do you always consider defeating enemy forces "slaughter"?

They say that one has to be a society with this huge lack of culture like the US oftenly seems, to see it that cool and even have fun about it.

Yeah, we're so bereft of culture that, when I spent last April living in Frankfurt, nearly every movie playing in the city was American, nearly every bit of music in the Top 10 was American -- or at least on an American label, and half of what was on TV was either an American export or a German version of an American-generated product (say, MTV or CNN). So unless one accepts the tenuous notion that "pop culture" and "culture" are two different things, it looks like we Americans are awash in it, and that you Germans are on it like white on rice, Lilli.

Next time around, I'll tell you about all the German tourists I see around town every year -- I live just outside of Washington, DC -- making trips across the Atlantic to take in our cultural amenities. Like, you know, the Smithsonian Institute museums.

What is it with this incessant European need to lecture us on how uncultured and vile we are?

I agree with edub. Who is actually making the choice between saving Iraqi children or protecting relics from the world's oldest civilizations? Please. This administration isn't intelligent or humane enough to do either.

What ARE we choosing to 'protect'? The answer sure isn't "the people of Iraq" ...

What is it with this incessant European need to lecture us on how uncultured and vile we are?

It feeds a sense of superiority threatened by other aspects of America.

Besides, some people need another emotionally-charged issue to use since their other ones didn't quite work or have been proven wrong in a rather embarrassing manner. "Quagmire", "Supply lines cut", etc.

Combine the looting with the "why hasn't incriminating WMD evidence popped out of the ground like powerups from a video game boss monster" complaint might actually work, if repeated loudly and stridently enough.

I'm seeing more and more speculation that the Baathist honchos had already ripped off most of the valuable exhibits and just came back for one last hit on their way out of town.. an inside job

That just sounds like an excuse for our misplaced priorities ...

With the whining I don't mean that one should not be happy that the children are free. As a mother (and as a human being) I'm happy for that, too. But in so many posts it sounds like this loss of some old pots it's kinda the price for freeing the children. This is not true and it never will be true, how often it will be repeated. The USA did not go to war with Iraq to free children, This was a side-effect, but never the main reason. And I get angry when the far right people try to sell it that way. And when I'm furious about US officials making "funny" comments about "a bit of looting", this does not mean I want to have Saddam back and I get angry about anyone who tries to put this in my (or anyones) mouth. You know, what I mean?

Oops..a couple of Bush's cultural advisors have quit over the looting...they must have been "America Hating Liberals", eh?



And was this before or after UNESCO found that the museum was looted by Iraqi insiders?

Or does that matter, since Saddam would've kept the trains running on time and the museum not looted (exc. by him, of course)?