On looting in Iraq

On looting in Iraq

It looks like the looting of Iraq’s museums and libraries was done by professional thieves who planned the robbery. Perhaps even Saddam was behind it. In any case, those who were quick to blame the US military for allowing the plundering of the museums should re-think their criticism. It wasn’t random looting, but an organized plundering that they likely wouldn’t have been able to stop, at least not without heavy destruction of the artwork. Soldiers aren’t police after all. It’s their job to break stuff and kill people.

As for the charges by some people that we should have done more to protect the artifacts, I just have to say, “The Army and Marines were a little busy fighting the enemy, trying not to kill innocents, and keeping themselves alive.” There were also reports that soldiers were seen guarding the Ministry of Oil while allowing other nearby buildings to be looted, apparently an attempt to revive the ridiculous notion that this was all about oil. Of course, they were guarding the Ministry of Oil—as well as all the other major government buildings—in order to safeguard potential deposits of information that would lead us to WMD or to members of the regime. At the time, there were only so many soldiers to go around and even they couldn’t protect all the government buildings from looting.

But now it appears that in about a week’s time, the general lawlessness has been brought under control and all the hand-wringing—often by the same people who fretted about a quagmire when we were “stalled” in the desert—has again proven to be baseless.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli