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A Country Torn Apart (Hot Topic)

Iraq War Tragedies

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#41 Drew

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 08:14 PM

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Considering the amount of "stuff" that's already hitting the auction houses in France. . .

France, eh?
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#42 AnneZo

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 08:55 PM

Drew, on Apr 17 2003, 04:58 PM, said:

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Considering the amount of "stuff" that's already hitting the auction houses in France. . .

France, eh?
Heh.  I knew someone would jump on that. :)  

It's not an Evil Plot on the part of France. Just that some of the world's leading auction houses work from Paris, okay?  And those auction houses aren't controlled by the government of the country.

#43 Drew

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:03 PM

Iraq museum looting called a planned theft; Mob got office furniture; artifacts stolen by knowledgeable thieves

Excerpt:

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Museum officials have determined that most of the spontaneous looting at the museum, home to more than 170,000 artifacts of human civilization, was focused on office machines and furniture (as it was at other government buildings) and that only select antiquities were taken.

"The people who came in here knew what they wanted. These were not random looters," Donny George, the director general of Iraq's state board of antiquities, said Wednesday in front of the museum as he held up four glass cutters ó red-handled with inch-long silver blades ó that he found on the museum floor.

He pointed out that replica items ó museum pieces that would have looked every bit as real to an angry mob as authentic items ó were left untouched. The museum's extensive Egyptian collection, which is valuable, but not unique to the world, also was left alone.

. . .

American soldiers on guard duty here said that while the damage in the museum areas seemed bad, the appearance was deceiving.

"It looked pretty bad inside, much worse than it was," said 2nd Lt. Erik Balascik, 23, of Allentown, Pa. "The administration building, the library, they are a mess. In the museum, there is broken glass and papers on the floor, but a lot of the collection was pulled before the war. And not as much is missing as first thought."

In fact, in the main collection, it now appears that few items are missing, and very little seems to have been the victim of mob violence.

See the link for the full story.
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#44 Drew

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:04 PM

AnneZo, on Apr 17 2003, 12:39 PM, said:

Heh.  I knew someone would jump on that. :)
Couldn't resist. ;)

But, hey, how'd it get to France so fast? This "looting" was clearly more organized than some are making out.
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#45 GiGi

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 09:32 PM

I was watching Larry King Live a couple of days ago.  Queen Noor had some intersting things to say about it.  

A very good interview the rest is here - http://www.cnn.com/T.../15/lkl.00.html

KING: What about the looting? And the obvious...

NOOR: That's what I'm talking about. That is the -- that the looting is a very disturbing...

KING: Understandable, isn't it?

NOOR: The looting took place because there was a security vacuum that existed. And we've seen that take place after World War II. We've seen it take place in Afghanistan most recently, and various other conflicts. It should have been filled immediately. And it's why one of the lessons, I think, that needs to have been learned from this war is that with all the high-tech military resources that were focused on this war, there should have been matching security and humanitarian resources integrated into that approach. As there weren't at the time, we've seen so much destruction of public facilities, of history and heritage. It takes a few seconds, you know, to destroy what has taken thousands of years, or even hundreds of years, or decades to construct. The lives and livelihoods of these people depend upon it.

And the history, by the way, the museum, everyone is aware now of that tragedy, that's considered not only a collective history of the Arab and Muslim world, because Baghdad was a center for learning and for culture for thousands of years, but also that's part of world heritage. And that's a tragedy that can't be restored.

KING: But the coalition would say Baghdad brought this upon itself. It didn't happen in a vacuum.

NOOR: It happened in a security vacuum that was the result of the military conflict. And I'm not going to debate the -- or judge...

KING: You think they were surprised at the looting, maybe they didn't expect this to happen?

NOOR: They have been warned.

KING: They had been?

NOOR: Oh, yes. International organizations had warned them. Refugees International, which I work with, had paid special emphasis, placed special emphasis on this particular issue. Archaeologists and people here in the United States and elsewhere who have been working in Iraq were very conscious of the repository of civilization in the museum in Iraq, had specifically discussed these issues with the administration.

So what I'm focusing on simply is, this must be a lesson we learn for the future. There's no point in focusing backwards on what happened over the last week or so, but on how can we learn from it and ensure that it doesn't happen again.
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#46 jon3831

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 10:48 PM

AnneZo, on Apr 17 2003, 08:55 AM, said:

The entire world is a poorer place for the loss of those clay tablets.
Did I say that it wasn't?

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Unlike museums and libraries, which hold historical and cultural records, Ministry buildings hold surveys, assay reports, and copies of business correspondence.  That is what the soldiers were protecting, not any oil, okay?

I'd say that protecting the surveys and assay reports *is* protecting the oil. Drilling for oil isn't as simple as drilling a hole in the ground and waiting for the oil to pop up. We need to know where the hotspots are, rather than wait years for new surveys to be made.

(And FTR: We do have soldiers in the oilfields protecting the wells themselves.)

The objective here is to get the Iraqi people up on their feet as rapidly as possible. The oil is the way to do that.

Edited by jon3831, 17 April 2003 - 10:48 PM.

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#47 jon3831

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 10:52 PM

Javert Rovinski, on Apr 17 2003, 08:46 AM, said:

-- If somebody runs in and makes it inside, you can't run in after him.
Yep. That's a Geneva Convention violation.

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-- You can't shoot any of the looters, obviously. You'd have to run them down on foot.

Yep. Hence my "the military is not a police force" remark earlier

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-- Your heavy hardware-- bradleys, abrams, etc.-- is useless, because you can't very well fire on civilians

Yep. It might be a deterrent to start with, but once those looters realize that they're not going to be fired on, it'd be a free-for-all

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-- All of this will be played in the Arab media as American opression. And when an Iraqi looter gets killed-- as he would inevitably would-- it would be our fault too.

Especially considering the fact that under the Geneva Convention, we shouldn't have been there.

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To do it effectively, we'd have to fire at civilians and/or violate the Geneve Convention.

All the while putting Coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians at undue risk.
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#48 Ilphi

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 11:28 PM

^ US troops have shot into crowds before.

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MOSUL, Iraq (April 16) -- A shooting in this northern city killed three people and wounded at least 11 Wednesday, a day after seven Iraqis died when American troops opened fire, U.S. officials said, to keep an angry crowd from storming a government complex.

Few details of Wednesday's incident were immediately available, but some Iraqis blamed U.S. troops. The shooting appeared to have taken place at an open-air market about 300 to 400 yards from the governor-general's office.

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#49 G1223

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 11:40 PM

If I have the right situation in mind this was becasue the crowd had started to throw rocks and break throught the perimiter the marines had set up while they were examing the buildings for records of the Saddam government.

It's sad but to protect ourselves deadly force may need to be used.
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#50 AnneZo

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Posted 17 April 2003 - 11:56 PM

jon3831, on Apr 17 2003, 07:32 PM, said:

I'd say that protecting the surveys and assay reports *is* protecting the oil. Drilling for oil isn't as simple as drilling a hole in the ground and waiting for the oil to pop up. We need to know where the hotspots are, rather than wait years for new surveys to be made.
Ummm...I'm thinking that's sort of wrong. :) It's Iraq, okay?   Drill and ye shall find oil.

In any case, the country is littered with up-and-running oil wells which, if the profits actually were spent on the people of Iraq, are more than enough to provide every Iraqi citizen with more wealth than they've most of them ever had.  

And a new survey, or a new assay, is a lot easier to produce than reconstructing a few hundred or thousand years of historical documents and artifacts.

Quote

The objective here is to get the Iraqi people up on their feet as rapidly as possible. The oil is the way to do that.

I'd imagine that a lot of them would settle for a drink of water and a decent meal at this point. But this Administration doesn't think it's the job of soldiers to act as charities or aid providers, nor will they let most of the non-partisan, international aid organizations into the country yet, so it's all pretty much theory.

Don't think this Administration isn't sensitive to criticism, though.  Now that they've been widely criticized for allowing the looting of the museum and the burning of the library, it looks as though a photo-opphotoshoot was staged, announcing that the museum is now being protected.  (I say "photo-op" because if this were a real warning and if there were anything left to steal, the blasted sign would have been in Arabic, wouldn't it? I doubt the average Iraqi reads English.)

(FWIW, everyone, note the report indicating that much of the looting was done by organized gangs of professional artifact thieves, which pretty much tells you what the experts, and these guys are experts, think about the possibility of those artifacts being fakes.)

#51 jon3831

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 12:10 AM

And [Edited] before posting because I thought better of it.
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#52 Palisades

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 01:23 AM

Several people are framing it as protect the Oil Ministry or protect the museum. How does protecting the Oil Ministry preclude protecting the museum? In fact the original invasion plan called for thousands (tens of thousands?) of military police, but Rumsfeld decided they were unnecessary. To answer TT's question, tear gas, sticky foam, rubber bullets, and barbed wire come to mind as ways to prevent people from looting without using lethal force.

The intent of the Geneva Convention articles is to keep troops from using hospitals and museums as shields. The Geneva Convention also charges the occupying power with maintaining law and order. Once the Iraqi forces in the area had been routed, it would have been perfectly permissible for contingents of U.S. troops to take up positions necessary to protect hospitals, museums, water sanitation plants, power plants, and other important buildings. Since the U.N.'s cultural agency UNESCO (along with many others) had asked the coalition to protect the museum along with other Iraqi cultural and archeological sites, Iím sure the international community would have forgiven U.S. forces if they went inside the museum to protect it. Also, it seems silly to worry about the world being displeased with us for taking up positions inside a museum we had been told to protect when most of the world is already pissed at us for invading Iraq.

Also, I ran across this article: Bush Cultural Advisers Quit Over Iraq Museum Theft.

[minor edits]

Edited by QuantumFlux, 18 April 2003 - 01:37 AM.

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#53 Rov Judicata

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 01:37 AM

First:

Fakes: I saw something in Arch. Magazine last December about this. I'll try to dig it up.

I also think it strains credulity that Saddam Hussein would have this huge source of income and leave it untapped. Even the humblest of these items could obtain a large price on the black market.


I think the Geneva Convention should be altered (or a new one drafted) to reflect the new face of warfare. If our troops were able to be in the museum, we would have had a shot at defending it.


It appears that a lot of the looting was done by people with keys, and professionals. The fact that a lot of this stuff has made it to France so quickly proves that this wasn't done by your run of the mill Iraqi citizen.


I'm glad we're offering rewards for the artifacts.
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#54 Bad Wolf

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 01:39 AM

*reads QF's post*

WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!

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#55 Palisades

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 01:56 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Apr 17 2003, 10:21 PM, said:

I also think it strains credulity that Saddam Hussein would have this huge source of income and leave it untapped. Even the humblest of these items could obtain a large price on the black market.


I think the Geneva Convention should be altered (or a new one drafted) to reflect the new face of warfare. If our troops were able to be in the museum, we would have had a shot at defending it.


It appears that a lot of the looting was done by people with keys, and professionals. The fact that a lot of this stuff has made it to France so quickly proves that this wasn't done by your run of the mill Iraqi citizen.


I'm glad we're offering rewards for the artifacts.
Would you please quote the Geneva Convention articles which say museums may not be entered, even if the sole purpose of entering them is to maintain law and order?

You keep saying the looters were professional thieves and not ordinary citizens. Professional thieves would probably be easier to deter than a raging, unreasoning mob. Professional thieves wouldn't go through such an effort to steal fakes.
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#56 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 05:04 AM

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AnneZo: No one here advocated putting a tank inside a museum or library. But a tank or two on the street outside would have helped quite a lot. People run rampant when law breaks down. That's just a fact of life. And a mob doesn't have a lot of intelligence. That's another fact of life.

Arguably you are getting into a hazy position even there in regards to the Geneva Convention.  Given sometime and a little more research Iím pretty sure I could construct it as a violation.*  By parking a tank outside we are fortifying the immediate location and thus drawing fire to the area around the museum.  Secondly again it is an untenable military position.  What do you expect that tank to do?  It isnít exactly like a Bradley could level the Bushmaster cannon and hose down looting civilians with sausage sized DU shells.  Iím sure the first time that an Iraqi civilian was blown apart like a ripe melon for looting that the headlines would be just as predicted about the evil US stealing Iraqi artifacts.

Short of physically putting troops fortified in the building with orders to shoot to kill there is no practical way militarily to stop that type of looting in that situation.  In order to stop it through nonlethal means that would mean surrounding the building with a numerically larger American force and then chasing down on foot of violators.  Again drawing in this number of troops is impractical and dangerous to the civilians and troops.  Youíre dealing with a civilian population that has combatants intermixed with it and suicide bombers.  Thus US troops would have to go into every situation expecting every looter to be a potential illegal combatant.  You have another recipe for disasters for innocent civilians or when a suicide bomber decides posing as a looter would be a great way to get near US troops without getting shots..  Besides this surrounding the building with troops even to just hunt down looters in foot races would be a violation of the Geneva Convention.          


Quote

AnneZo: Considering the amount of "stuff" that's already hitting the auction houses in France, I'd say a lot of the "cream" probably left the country before the war, yes.

The FBI is dispatching agents to Iraq to track down artifacts and coordinating with Interpol to pick them off as they show up on both the legal and illegal markets.  We can track down looted artifacts we couldnít though replace lives that were lost in a foolish, misguided, and illegal bid to protect those artifacts.  

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AnneZo: It's an unjust and unlawful war based on the Administration's public reasons for waging it.

Iíve been over the legality of this war left and right in regard to cease-fie obligations so Iím not even going to get into that again.  I am curious though if you think this war is so unlawful then how is it anymore lawful to violate the Geneva Convention in the manner that you have proposed?  

*

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Geneva Convention on the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts:
Article 53: Protection of cultural objects and of places of worship
Without prejudice to the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954, and of other relevant international instruments, it is prohibited:
(a) To commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples;
(b) To use such objects in support of the military effort;
© To make such objects the object of reprisals.

Quote

Ilphi:  ^ US troops have shot into crowds before.
Ah typical media spin.  The article neglects to mention that US forces had rocks being thrown at them by the crowd and members of the crowd were physically attacking the troops.  On top of that they started to take fire from several nearby locations while the crowd was attacking.  

  

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AnneZo: Ummm...I'm thinking that's sort of wrong.  It's Iraq, okay? Drill and ye shall find oil.
You might want to check up on your information here a tad bit.  It isnít as easy as just picking a spot and digging.

Quote

AnneZo:And a new survey, or a new assay, is a lot easier to produce than reconstructing a few hundred or thousand years of historical documents and artifacts.

Tell that to the people who are starving and dieing in the meantime.

Quote

AnneZo: In any case, the country is littered with up-and-running oil wells which, if the profits actually were spent on the people of Iraq, are more than enough to provide every Iraqi citizen with more wealth than they've most of them ever had.

Oil fields that without documentation we have no clue how much of the reserve is left, the extent of the reserve, type of equipment being used, and technique being used to extract the oil.  Iím not an oilman but the process is sufficiently complicated that one could really screw thing up without that information.  It isnít just drilling a hole and sticking a pipe down it

Quote

QuantumFlux:  Would you please quote the Geneva Convention articles which say museums may not be entered, even if the sole purpose of entering them is to maintain law and order?

See the above I said on the Geneva Convention and now for:

Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict:

Quote

CHAPTER II: SPECIAL PROTECTION: Article 8. Granting of special protection
3. A centre containing monuments shall be deemed to be used for military purposes whenever it is used for the movement of military personnel or material, even in transit. The same shall apply whenever activities directly connected with military operations, the stationing of military personnel, or the production of war material are carried on within the centre.

Quote

CHAPTER II: SPECIAL PROTECTION:  Article 9. Immunity of cultural property under special protection:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to ensure the immunity of cultural property under special protection by refraining, from the time of entry in the International Register, from any act of hostility directed against such property and, except for the cases provided for in paragraph 5 of Article 8, from any use of such property or its surroundings for military purposes.

By garrisoning troops around the museum we violate both the conditions of The Hague and Geneva Convention.  On top of that all protection those building have under those Conventions are then void.  Think of the propaganda value the Iraqis would have for blowing up a museum because the US had violated international law by stationing troops in the location.  

Quote

To answer TT's question, tear gas, sticky foam, rubber bullets, and barbed wire come to mind as ways to prevent people from looting without using lethal force.

All of them are a violation of The Hague and Geneva Conventions because it requires a garrisoning of the site.  Secondly as Rov noted many of these sites have underground passages entering them.  Thirdly the use of nonlethals in such a scenario puts the troops at great risk to Iraqi Illegal Combatants would could be intermixed with the looters.  Try getting close enough to use sticky foam on the guy who has an Ak-47 under his coat.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 18 April 2003 - 05:06 AM.

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#57 Rov Judicata

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:20 AM

CJ pretty much covered it.

Thanks for saving me the research time....
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#58 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:22 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Apr 18 2003, 03:04 AM, said:

CJ pretty much covered it.

Thanks for saving me the research time....
OoOoW My head and International Law.....  :D  :o  

Your Welcome
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#59 Rov Judicata

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:32 AM

QuantumFlux, on Apr 17 2003, 03:40 PM, said:

You keep saying the looters were professional thieves and not ordinary citizens. Professional thieves would probably be easier to deter than a raging, unreasoning mob. Professional thieves wouldn't go through such an effort to steal fakes.
I missed this before.

And I disagree.

A pro thief would know every way in, every way out, and would be aware that our troops weren't allowed to follow them into the museum. A pro would be able to find out the best way in, the best way out, and do it all silently. A thief is harder to stop, IMO.... and, again, our troops aren't trained to be a police force.

<Also, I'm not sure if a time frame has been firmly establishd.. if it was done before our forces entered Baghdad, this is all moot..>
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
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~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. ß 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#60 Drew

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Posted 18 April 2003 - 06:34 AM

QuantumFlux, on Apr 17 2003, 05:40 PM, said:

You keep saying the looters were professional thieves and not ordinary citizens. Professional thieves would probably be easier to deter than a raging, unreasoning mob. Professional thieves wouldn't go through such an effort to steal fakes.
The replicas were left alone. Only the real artifacts were stolen. A riotous mob wouldn't know the difference. They'd just grab whatever they found. The people who robbed the Baghdad museum KNEW the difference.

Also, it's hard to deter them if they got there *before* the U.S. troops did.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."



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