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Politics is therefore at the centre of this book, not archaeology.

Rothfield, Lawrence - The rape of mesopotamia by Alejandro Zerpa - Issuu

Rothfield fingers politicians, government officials and military planners, inevitably, but also archaeologists, museum officials and antiquities dealers and collectors. On the American side, and to a lesser extent the British side, this is a sorry tale of philistinism, incompetence and greed. President George W. Bush made only one public comment on the looting of the Iraq Museum.

Thus, the American military did nothing to prevent the looting of the National Museum on 10 April They could probably have stopped it without much difficulty, but they had been instructed to engage only with Iraqi military forces, not with civilians. Peter Zarcone, the civil affairs officer for the First Marine Infantry Division, that he should right away return to the museum and await the imminent arrival of an army unit.

Zarcone immediately scribbled a handwritten pass for George reproduced in the book to help him get through the security checkpoints. However, the military did not reach the museum until three days later, on 16 April. Steps were immediately taken to try to retrieve looted art objects before they left the country.

For the most part, however, those involved in the disaster were acting in good faith and with the best of motives. It is contemporary history with a critical edge, or if you like, political journalism.

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National Museum of Iraq

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