9780226729459

The Rape of Mesopotamia

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780226729459

  • ISBN10:

    0226729451

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-04-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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Summary

On April 10, 2003, as the world watched a statue of Saddam Hussein come crashing down in the heart of Baghdad, a mob of looters attacked the Iraq National Museum. Despite the presence of an American tank unit, the pillaging went unchecked, and more than 15,000 artifactssome of the oldest evidence of human culturedisappeared into the shadowy worldwide market in illicit antiquities. In the five years since that day, the losses have only mounted, with gangs digging up roughly half a million artifacts that had previously been unexcavated; the loss to our shared human heritage is incalculable.WithThe Rape of Mesopotamia, Lawrence Rothfield answers the complicated question of how this wholesale thievery was allowed to occur. Drawing on extensive interviews with soldiers, bureaucrats, war planners, archaeologists, and collectors, Rothfield reconstructs the planning failuresoriginating at the highest levels of the U.S. governmentthat led to the invading forces' utter indifference to the protection of Iraq's cultural heritage from looters. Widespread incompetence and miscommunication on the part of the Pentagon, unchecked by the disappointingly weak advocacy efforts of worldwide preservation advocates, enabled a tragedy that continues even today, despite widespread public outrage.Bringing his story up to the present, Rothfield argues forcefully that the international community has yet to learn the lessons of Iraqand that what happened there is liable to be repeated in future conflicts. A powerful, infuriating chronicle of the disastrous conjunction of military adventure and cultural destruction,The Rape of Mesopotamiais essential reading for all concerned with the future of our past.

Author Biography

Lawrence Rothfield is director of the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Cultural Heritage Protection in Iraq before 2003: The Long Viewp. 4
"Nobody Thought of Culture": War-Related Heritage Protection in the Early Prewar Periodp. 21
Getting to the Postwar Planning Tablep. 34
The Meetingsp. 56
A Punctual Disaster: The Looting of the National Museum of Iraqp. 81
The World Respondsp. 101
The Slow-Motion Disaster: Post-Combat Looting of Archaeological Sitesp. 124
Deathwatch for Iraqi Antiquitiesp. 136
Codap. 153
Appendix: Interviewsp. 159
Notesp. 161
Bibliographyp. 189
Indexp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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