The Lie That Won’t Die

Liberals are still talking about how the evil US allowed thousands of artifacts to be looted from the National Museum in Baghdad despite the fact that museum officials have found only 33 artifacts missing, not the 170,000 that had been reported.

…the director general of research and study of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and the source for the original number, said the theft of 170,000 pieces would have been almost impossible: "No, no, no. That would be every single object we have!"

Moreover, many of the artifacts reported as having been looted were in fact stocked away for safekeeping prior to the war. Those objects that were taken were also taken by more than just common looters – the theives knew exactly what to take in the musuem.

Naturally, none of these facts will dissuade leftists from criticizing the US for failing to prevent a widepspread looting that never happened. While the losses of those 33 artifacts are regrettable, it is likely that they will turn up on the black market sooner or later and will be returned for Iraq. Meanwhile, US officials are providing instrumental help in rebuilding the National Museum, which hopes to reopen in July.

2 thoughts on “The Lie That Won’t Die

  1. “Most of what is known about the present state of Iraq’s archives and libraries comes from the scant two-page summary produced in May by the British Library’s Graham Shaw. It condenses a report…The picture that emerges from these reports, and what information can be gleaned from websites like H-Islam and H-LEVANT, is a grim one. They confirm the destruction and looting of major collections and, what is nearly as worrying, that there are so many depositories about which nothing is known.”

    “Far more of the Iraqi patrimony, especially that which was unlucky enough to be housed adjacent the Iraqi Defense Ministry, has been lost ­ whether stolen or wantonly destroyed.
    The 500,000 or so volumes in the National Library ­ including some 5,000 rare books ­ were lost to looting. Sadder still is the unknown loss entailed in the looting of the National Archives; the size and extent of its holdings (dating from the beginning of the Ottoman era) are uncertain for want of an extant catalogue.

    The 5,000 Islamic manuscripts stored in the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Awqaf Library were looted. The collections of the University of Baghdad’s Central Library (some 600,000 volumes) were looted. The library of Bayt al-Hikma social sciences research center is also believed to be completely destroyed.

    Nothing is known about the Mustansiriyya University Library, the Education Department Library, the Scientific Documentation Center Library, or the Library of the Iraqi Academy of Sciences.
    Information becomes more sketchy about collections outside Baghdad. The library holdings of both the University of Mosul and Mosul Museum were gutted. Nothing is known about the 6,500-manuscript collection that was lodged in Mosul’s other three libraries. The same can be said about the collections in Suleimaniya.

    Nothing whatever is known about the holdings in Basra ­ the libraries of the University of Basra, the Center for Arab Gulf Studies and the Archives of the Court of Justice. Though the six collections of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala were probably untouched by the most recent fighting they are believed to have been heavily pillaged during the Baath regime’s suppression of failed Shiite rebellion of 1991.”

    International cooperation urgently needed to save libraries, archives, museums from further devastation

  2. On that I would agree. Once Iraq is stabilized to the point where it is safe, there should be a full effort to recover and restore as much of Iraq’s history as is possible.

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