From Al Jazeera: Rumsfeld Cracks Jokes, But Iraqis Aren't Laughing
If ever an Oscar was deserved for minimizing catastrophic reports coming out of Iraq with jocular "henny penny" disbelief, then Rumsfeld has a date with Hollywood.
"Television is merely running the same footage of the same man stealing a vase over and over," he joked, adding he didn't think there were that many vases in Iraq. [Need to confirm--did he actually say "There can't be that many vases in Iraq"?] The US may be the strongest nation in the world, but their history is incomparable to that of Iraq – a region that has been described as the cradle of civilization.
Flippant remarks cannot replace priceless artefacts that have disappeared from the National Museum in Baghdad, or the books of the University of Mosul – one of the oldest and best universities in the whole of the Middle East.
The NY Times report on the gutting of the National Museum is just unbelievable. Why wasn't this immediately secured by "coalition" forces--if for no other reason than to protect a multimillion dollar asset? Is it farfetched to imagine that professional art thieves participated in the "looting"? This really goes beyond Bush and Co being a bunch of art-hating philistines. It was gross negligence.
Yes, Rumsfeld questioned whether Iraq has more than 20 vases.
In all fairness to the d***head, he may not have known how badly the Museum had been ransacked at the time he made those remarks. But he should have known some of them thar "vases" cost quite a bit of money, aside from whatever mere historical value they have. They should have secured the building. Let's hope these "jokes" come back to haunt him .
Another quote from the Al J article you cited. Mr Bush: "I reminded them that war in Iraq is really about peace." Mr. Orwell, paging Mr. George Orwell.
Anyone care to wager that some of these artifacts won't be "acquired" shortly by museums in this country?
But, but, Fox News said most of the good stuff had been locked away for safekeeping before the war started. If that solid gold Sumerian harp dated to 3300 B.C. wasn't part of the good stuff then...?
From the Washington Post:
In the months leading up to the Iraq war, U.S. scholars repeatedly urged the Defense Department to protect Iraq's priceless archaeological heritage from looters, and warned specifically that the National Museum of Antiquities was the single most important site in the country.