AT WHAT COST?
Re: Francis X. Rocca’s Pillage People:
Mr. Rocca’s article about the pillaging and destruction of treasures from Iraq’s National Museum of Antiquities speaks for me and to me.
I was devastated when I heard what had happened. I found it difficult to believe that no one thought to guard the hospitals, banks, and museums.
When I learned that DoD was advised prior to the start of hostilities to take measures to protect the museum and did not do so, I was dumfounded. How could we be so negligent?
Like Mr. Rocca, I was more in disbelief of the museum’s destruction than the war’s however unfortunate but nevertheless expected casualties.
We couldn’t get a 1,000 or so additional troops into Baghdad to cover these sites? Most of the 4th I.D. is still in Kuwait. What about them? What about the thousands of military police who were never even sent to the Iraqi theater?
The TV news media spend a nauseatingly inordinate amount of time talking about the saving of Private Lynch and very little on why we didn’t guard the museums and hospitals.
It’s way out of proportion.
During the course of the war, a friend e-mailed relating the British claim that their military academy at Sandhurst produces better educated, better spoken, and more cultured officers than the American military academies.
I told her I was inclined to agree with the premise but replied that although John Wayne may not have been well-spoken, he did get the job done.
Unfortunately, John Wayne proved more sophisticated than the American military.
I have a sneaking suspicion that if the Brits had been assigned occupy Baghdad the looting of the museum would not have occurred.
I am a veteran of the Vietnam era. That experience partially forms the basis of my strong support of the military and an assertive foreign policy.
But a number of the shortcomings of our foreign policy thinking and planning have been made painfully clear by the museum looting.
As if foreign leaders and the press really needed another excuse to hammer U.S. policy and actions, we had to go show them what dunderheaded cowboys we really are.
We don’t want to be French, but a little culture and an appreciation of the finer things would go a long way towards improving our image.
Wonder just how much of the booty we’ll manage to ever recover? A great deal, perhaps most, is forever lost. And that is a pity beyond words.
— Dennis Sevakis
Former Air Force Captain and F-4 driver
Is it indeed such a loss that the Baghdad museum was looted? Consider: What else were Nebuchednezzar, Hammurabai, Sargon, etc. but brutal conquerors, plunderers and dictators under the title of god-king? Sound familiar? Like Saddam’s model Stalin. It is on record that they attacked and destroyed cities for no other reason than gain and glory, enslaved and transported whole populations, silenced all dissent, and flayed alive anyone who dared oppose them. Sounds like they would have been right at home in Saddam’s Baghdad, ministry level jobs at least. If he tried to identify with them, it was a sound instinct on his part. Is this a chapter of the human story we should be in a hurry to remember and celebrate?
After all, what has the world lost, at the end of the day? A few dusty artifacts and tablets that have been catalogued and re-catalogued, and made the center of meaningless articles and arguments in a particularly obscure corner of the ivory tower. What have the Iraqis gained? Maybe a little self-respect.
I call it a fair trade. Let the academics write their Ph.D. theses on something else for a while.
— Martin Owens
Guarding a museum was not worth even the chance of losing one American life. Based on the sniper attacks, it would be foolish to even suggest a tank and two soldiers would have worked. Mr. Rocca properly identifies this assumption. I doubt the Iraqi people will soon miss a museum when food, water and personal safety will be their concerns for quite a while. One major point I think Mr. Rocca missed was how little damage was done to the historical religious sites throughout the country. This is the true amazing story of the war. In balance, the museum doesn’t even tip the scales.
— Aftan Romanczak
Mr. Rocca, the American Army is not responsible for the actions of the Iraqi people in regards to the looting of their own museums. Had we chosen to place guards at the entrance to the museum, we would have been accused of imposing a police state. We were damned if we did and damned if we didn’t. You’ve no doubt been to museums before and experienced their tight security. It should have taken more than sledgehammers to raid 5,000 years of history.
— Dalene Hodnett
The United States has been criticized for guarding the oil fields, but as we know that is Iraq’s income into the feature. My question is, what ever happened to the contents of Kuwait’s Museum during the first Gulf War?
— Barbara Barrett
RUSH TO JUDGMENT
Re: The Washington Prowler’s A One-Term Wonder:
As The Prowler points out, retiring Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R-Illinois) hasn’t been a team player. That’s true. He is unpopular in many circles, both Republican and Democrat. He certainly deserves to be unpopular in Illinois — when he recognized that the entire state stunk of corruption, he brought in a prosecutor with no links to Mayor Bugsy Daley (D) or former Governor George Ryan (R). Every crooked politician in the state (from both sides of the aisle) now lives in fear. Fitzgerald also opposed the insane $7 billion O’Hare expansion program and has criticized other insider deals (Millennium Park, Soldier Field, etc.) that are costing the taxpayers needless billions while reaping jillions to the insiders. Fitzgerald’s legacy is that he tried to clean up the Republican Party in Illinois, and Illinois government. We will have to watch the activity at the office of the U.S. Attorney in Chicago to see if he succeeded.
— Jack Hughes
The item about Sen. Peter Fitzgerald mistakenly identifies former Sen. Carol Moseley Brawn [sic] as a Republican.
Where are your proofreaders? If she’s a Republican, I’ll change my party membership.
The Prowler replies: In the spirit of compassionate conservatism, we called Moseley Braun a “Republican favorite,” not a Republican.
TWIST AND SHOUT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell’s Jr.’s Dealing With the Corpus Delicti:
The unsafe or hostile disposition of chemical and biological weapons could certainly be a very big story; but it is in no way a “twist” on the French, German and Russian defiance of the United Nations resolutions proscribing weapons sales to Iraq, which (as you have so eloquently pointed out) is also a very big story
It’s bad enough we have to watch our backs at the U.N. but sometimes it seems as though our own State Department is as much of a problem. Sometimes I think State operates like a fifth column in our country. And there is nothing we can do about it because it is staffed by unelected bureaucrats who do not appear to be accountable to anyone. That place needs a major overhaul.
— Dick Melville
Ozone Park, NY
THAT WAS CNN
Re: John Corry’s Pressing the War:
When you think about it, CNN also had a lot to hide as the papers documenting their collaboration will soon be revealed. They have “come forward” to detail their tolerance of the brutal regime to keep ahead of the story breaking from Baghdad. They joined with France and Germany in their efforts against the war, in my opinion.
— Joan Cain
ROADS NOT TAKEN
Re: Jed Babbin’s Kill Ratios:
I hope President Bush does not make the mistake of his father — who failed in 1991 to take Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein — by failing in 2003 to address and undress the evil empires in Damascus and Tehran.
— Sam Levine
San Diego, CA
There are so many good ones that I couldn’t read them all for the tears in my eyes from laughter. How about “Out, Damned Spot”?
— Richard Renken
I realize that I am probably much too late, but a title just came to me: “Hillary, Dillary, Dock: How I Ran Out the Clock.”
— Robert Murphy
How about the title “Ricochet” (oops, pardon my French)?
— Larry Niemotka
BATTLE OF THE BULGER
Re: Michael Craig’s The Lawful Truth:
Michael Craig’s comments in “The Right to Shut Up” are every bit as traitorous as anything coming from the Anti-American Left or Koranic Islam, perhaps worse. While the Left and Koranic Islam are eternally at war with Western Civilization, he attacks the very basis of civilization itself!
If the 21 dead are part of a “faceless mass” to Mr. Craig, I can assure him that they are not to their families. I would also like to point out that if these families despair of obtaining justice through the process of law, they will reclaim that right for themselves. Surely the execution of William Bulger by one of these families would settle the score — for that family, other families would of course have to hunt down other members of the Bulger clan.
Does he not recognize that the lawlessness of the mob is entwined with its “omerta”? That it is precisely this silence which gives the members confidence to operate as if there were no law — and fear to do otherwise?
As a veteran, I can assure him that the families of soldiers, police, and firemen constantly sacrifice on behalf of that “faceless mask”. So he presumably is the one man in America that does not “support the troops”? After all, to him, since they are not family, they are part of that “faceless mass.”
Mr. Craig would to well to examine the various parts of the world where central authority has weakened in favor of clan loyalties, to build a nice summer home — I hear that pretty much every one is now desperately in need of hard currency. Moreover, I expect that he could repeat the process at least annually, as the locals tend not to be particularly concerned about the rights of the new non-family member on the block.
— Nathan Zook
Michael Craig replies:
Dear Nathan: You misunderstood my argument, which has nothing to do with the families of the victims, the Koran, being anti-American, or support for our troops. I’m saying that if it was me, I’d go to prison before ratting out my brother. Either you don’t have a brother, or he’s very, very careful about what he lets you know about himself.