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Code of Hammurabi Destroyed by U.S. Troops!

First Written Human Law Code,4600 years old,Among Artifacts Destroyed
Remember when they were angry about the Taliban destroying those Buddhas? Well, what the US has done is Baghdad is much, much worse. Even most idiots have heard about the Code of Hammurabi.]
 http://www.counterpunch.org/madsen04142003.html

April 14, 2003

Was Saddam Right?

Are Americans the New Mongols of the Mideast?

by WAYNE MADSEN

Earlier this year, Saddam Hussein appealed to his countrymen to defeat the "new Mongols," his euphemism for the American military poised to attack Iraq. Hussein appears to have been correct in his prognostication concerning the after effects of an American invasion of Iraq. In 1248, the forces of the Mongol chieftain Hulagu Khan invaded Baghdad and laid waste to the city. Sumerian, Babylonian, Mesopotamian, Assyrian, Ninevehan, Islamic Arab, and other historical relics of Iraq's storied past were destroyed by the invading Mongols. Baghdad's irrigation system was also destroyed and the effect of that action on the population of the country lasted for more than a century.

Compare the invasion of Hulagu Khan in 1248 and America's invasion of 2003 and stark similarities quickly emerge. Like the Mongols, the United States has severely disrupted the water supply system of Baghdad. This has drastically affected public health, medical care, and sanitation in a city of over 5 million people. If such a calamity were to occur in a city of similar size from a natural disaster, international aid would quickly arrive. Yet, the United States is barring international relief efforts for Iraq unless it can control humanitarian workers and administer the distribution of assistance.

And like the Mongols, U.S. troops stood by while Iraqi mobs looted and destroyed artifacts at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. They also reportedly joined looters who pillaged other lucrative targets like office buildings, stores, and private homes. The Bush regime ignored calls from Koichiro Matsura, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who appealed to the United States to provide protection for Iraqi museums. His calls, like those from the governments of Jordan, Russia, and Greece, went unheeded by Bush regime war officials.

The looting and wanton destruction of the Baghdad museum not only deserves international condemnation but falls well within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for a full investigation and the issuance of indictments against perpetrators, both Iraqi and American.

One could feel the pain experienced by the museum's deputy director when she tearfully told Western journalists that 170,000 priceless artifacts dating back thousands of years to the very cradle of human civilization in the Tigris- Euphrates Valley, the fabled home of the biblical Garden of Eden, were looted or destroyed. She said one tank and one or two American soldiers would have been sufficient to protect the museum from the vandals. But instead, American troops stood idly by while 7000 years of Iraqi history was cleansed. Even irreplaceable archaeological files and computer disks were destroyed. Museum employees blamed U.S. troops for the carnage. The Bush regime seems intent on remaking Iraq in the same sense that it is turning American democracy into a corporate fascist entity.

The fact that looters were permitted to destroy and burn rare Islamic texts at a time when fundamentalist Christian aid workers are poised to arrive in Iraq with water and revisionist Bibles raises the possibility of a future bloody clash of religions. Giving a free rein to fundamentalist Christians missionaries working for the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell with the full support of a future neo-conservative U.S. civil administration led by the pro-Israeli Likud retired U.S. Army General Jay Garner, gives many the awful feeling that George W. Bush's past references to "crusades" may, in part, be influencing America's current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and potential future wars in Syria, Iran, Palestine, and Lebanon.

Among the artifacts that may have been carried off by looters are the tablets containing Hammurabi's Code and the 4600-hundred year old Ram in the Thicket from Ur. The 4300-year old bust of an Akkadian king was destroyed by vandals. What was not destroyed by the Mongols in 1248 was allowed to be destroyed by the Americans in 2003. Gone are the artifacts of ancient Sumeria, Assyria, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Ninevah, and Ur.

Just consider how far the United States has sunk since the end of World War II. America launched the Safehaven Program to recover European art looted by the Nazis. Today, the United States aids and abets the looting of art and treasures thousands of years older than the European art it helped salvage some 60 years ago. In days past, U.S. military and intelligence, including the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, helped recover and restitute historical treasures looted by the likes of Hermann Goering and Alfred Rosenberg. American generals like Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, and George Patton, Jr., personally oversaw the recovery and return of artwork seized by the Nazis.

Compare those truly professional military leaders to Generals Tommy Franks and Vincent Brooks, who blandly shrugged off the looting of Iraqi museums and one starts to understand what Saddam Hussein was getting at when he compared the current U.S. armed forces to the Mongol hordes. To make matters worse, Brooks lied at a Central Command briefing when he stated to the world's media that, "We remain committed to preserving the rich culture and heritage and the resources of the Iraqi people." If Brooks were telling the truth, which he was not, contingency plans would have been put into effect to protect Iraqi centers of art and antiquities the minute U.S. troops entered Baghdad.

It is clear that by aiding and abetting the looting of Iraqi art and antiquities the United States military violated Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Article 2 (g) of Optional Protocol I of 1977 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The International Criminal Court in The Hague should begin proceedings to investigate whether or not to charge U.S. military and government officials with criminally violating international law prohibiting the willful destruction of cultural heritage. The United States and Britain have always shown a disdain for the protection of cultural heritage. They are among the few nations of the world to have refused signing The Hague Convention on the protection of cultural heritage during hostilities. Ironically, that convention was ratified by France, Germany, Canada, Russia, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Norway, Finland, Belarus, Austria, China, India, Iran, Indonesia, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Syria, and other countries that refused to be a party to Bush's "coalition of the willing." And to make matters worse, The Hague Convention was also ratified by Saddam Hussein's government, making the so-called "Baghdad Butcher" legally more committed to the protection of cultural heritage than either the Americans or British.

INTERPOL, which already has an arrest warrant out for Ahmed Chalabi, the Pentagon's favorite to become the future leader of Iraq, should immediately issue White Notices on all stolen Iraqi cultural objects. UNESCO, INTERPOL, and the European Union should jointly combine their activities to identify stolen items that might wind up in American, British, Israeli, or other hands. Arrest warrants should be issued appropriately.

America's turning the siege of Baghdad into the pillaging of Baghdad should be condemned by every nation and person. The study of human history, indeed, humanity's very birthright, has suffered a terrible blow from the Bush regime. No amount of monetary compensation from oil revenues will ever compensate the Iraqi people, the Arab nation, and the world for the loss of a crucial record of world civilization. The Bush regime and its modern-day Mongol vandals must be made to account for their crimes against humanity.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.

Madsen can be reached at:  WMadsen777@aol.com

Wrong! 15.Apr.2003 15:00

.

Sorry ... but, even this 'objective' writer clearly pointed out that the the damage was done by rioting, looting, out of control Iraqis ... not US Troops.

No matter how you cut it, you can't hang this on the US. And, spare me any tripe about how it wouldn't have happened if we hadn't gone in there. All I'm pointing out is that US Troops did NOT destroy precious artifacts like the code of Hammurabi.

well duh 15.Apr.2003 15:31

kurtkabang

well, duh, that american troops weren't doing the ransacking. all they did was create the chaos leading up to it, and refused to clean up their mess in time. they DID, however, protect the offices for iraqi oil while this was all going on. yay for the us!

They should have had a plan 15.Apr.2003 15:37

anonymous

They should have had a plan. If as Rumsfeld says this kind of thing always happens in this sort of situation, they should have identified certain structures that were to be protected, other than the Oil Ministry.

As one of the curators said, it only would have taken one tank and two soldiers with guns in front of the museum to protect it.

I just shows the shallowness of this administration, blinded by limited goals, with no sense of history... and basically no sense.

Spare me the vitriol ... 15.Apr.2003 16:18

me

If they had designated a tank to protect the museum, you'd be screaming about brutalizing innocent Iraqi civilians, or that the tank should have protected something else, or that the troops should have been handing out food, or whatever else comes to mind as an excuse for point the finger of blame at the US rather than the Iraqi looters.

Catch 22 for anyone who actually thinks for themselves rather than accept your thought control ... like being on the receiving end the old joke ...

"If a man says something in the woods and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?"

Intellect and culture 15.Apr.2003 16:18

AK

To those who feel that saving artifacts thousands of years old isn't a high priority:

I thank you for answering my question about why US culture is all about being able to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.

I think we really needed those cultural artifacts from thousands of years ago. Perhaps we could have traced the path from there to here and figured out where we went wrong...principally why people like you exist today.

If a US museum was filled with artifacts from the US Constitution, how would you feel if N. Korea gave us the ultimatum, bombed the living hell out of the US, and let the people steal these artifacts? Would you be so forgiving?

This war and the behavior of US troops during their occupation is an example of how barbaric and stupid people can be.

We tell our children to lead by example. We (or at least most of us) tell them that they can't take out a bully at the school yard with an AK47. With the Bush regime, we give him and his (now) very rich friends permission to use that AK47/cluster bomb. As I've seen on so many signs during demonstrations, Bush and his pals need a big time out, and so do the "gee I don't give a f*ck about relics thousands of years old" people who responded to this article. Wake up folks, do us a favor, and please enlist as soon as possible.

Why not the Code of Hammurabi... 15.Apr.2003 16:26

m/c j

Why not the Code of Hammurabi... after all, the Bush rogues have shown the same respect for the most ancient code of ethics [which, by the way, was the basis of many works, including The Bible] as they have for the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter, Constitution of the United States of America or the Bill of Rights.

Spare me the vitriol 15.Apr.2003 16:39

anonymous

Speak for yourself.

Your whole ridiculous post was pretending to know what I would say. Your bigoted half brain is not capable of guessing what I would say, so shut the fuck up.

MORON.

t's happening in my humble opinion... 15.Apr.2003 16:46

ranger

...is that the Bush gang wants Iraqi civilization to be destroyed and, therefore, supports the looters, some of which are Islamic fundamentalists. Under Saddam, for all his flaws, at least it was a secular society that respected its history. I'm sure some high ranking US officials are also taking some bootie for their living rooms back in Virginia. It's Bush's head that should be hanging on some living room wall. By the way, where are the WMD's? What's the next lie, Syria has WMD's?

Anonymous 15.Apr.2003 17:45

me

"Your bigoted half brain is not capable of guessing what I would say, so shut the fuck up."

Oh, I don't know ... I was able to guess that, faced with a difference of opinion your thought processes would suffer meltdown and your rhetoric would degenerate into foaming at the mouth, personal attacks and obscenities. And, I was right ... wasn't I?

Hey there - 15.Apr.2003 17:59

GI Joe

Hey there -
Hey there -

Hey there ... 16.Apr.2003 07:42

GI Joe

Let's see if I can get it right this time ...
Hey there ...
Hey there ...

. 16.Apr.2003 07:59

.

.
.

What antiquites are you speaking of? 16.Apr.2003 16:25

Most items where gone long ago

The New York Times reported in 1996 that most of the contents of the museum were sold off following the 1991 war and there has long been reports that what wasn't sold was appropriated by Saddam himself.

The British Museum after inspecting the contents of the Baghdad Museum long ago, that most of the "antiquities' in the museum were fakes.

This has been known years before this latest "looting".

So I ask you, what antiquities were looted?

What antiquities part duex 16.Apr.2003 16:41

another thing

I'm not aware that the Code of Hammarabi appeared on tablets. That wasn't the practice at the time.

The style (pronounced steel-ay) of Hammurabi is a black diorite stone, seven and a half feet in height and six feet in circumference. It was discovered by J. De Morgan and V. Scheil during their excavations at Susa, the Edomite capital, in 1901-2. The fifty-one columns of cuneiform text was written in the Akkadian (Semitic) language.

Kings of the day would post large monuments listing their laws with an accompanying statue carving of themselves to identify the law with the king. Hammurabi was no different in this practice. There were many copies of this law erected throughout the kingdom. Usually in the temples dedicated to the local gods.

By the way, it now resides in the Louve, in Paris.

Can't provide you with a catalog, but 16.Apr.2003 21:13

anonymous

This article explains a little:

Treasures looted from Baghdad museum feared lost
By Niala Boodhoo

WASHINGTON, April 14 — Antiquities experts, dismayed that U.S. officials failed to heed their warnings to protect Baghdad's historic artifacts during the war, said on Monday they were concerned the priceless treasures looted from Iraq's main museum may never be recovered.

       U.S. archeological organizations and the U.N.'s cultural agency UNESCO said they had provided U.S. officials with information about Iraq's cultural heritage and archeological sites months before the war began.
       University of Chicago professor McGuire Gibson was among a group that met Pentagon officials several times and presented them with a list of archeological and other sites that should be protected, particularly the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad.
       ''We warned them about looting at the very beginning,'' said the archeologist who has worked extensively in the region. ''I was assured it would be secured.''
       Now, he said, the loss was immeasurable.
       ''The Baghdad museum is the equivalent of the Cairo Museum. It would be like having American soldiers 200 feet outside the Cairo museum watching people carry away treasures from King Tut's tomb or carting away mummies,'' said Gibson.
       The museum, which housed key artifacts of ancient Mesopotamia, which was among the earliest civilizations, was ransacked and its contents taken or destroyed in a wave of looting that has swept the Iraqi capital since the collapse of President Saddam Hussein's rule last week.
       UNESCO's deputy director, Mounir Bouchenaki, said on Monday leading archeologists will meet in Paris on Thursday to seek ways to rescue Iraq's cultural heritage. They also plan a fact-finding mission to Iraq.
       The U.S. State Department said in a statement on Monday that people handling the looted artifacts would be liable to prosecution under Iraqi and U.S. laws.
       The U.S. military in Iraq has instructions to protect antiquities and a U.S. official, John Limbert, will take the lead in efforts to recover the objects, the statement said.
       Sumer in southern Iraq was the home of the first known civilization and the first writing, in the late 4th millennium BCE. Subsequent Mesopotamian civilizations built the major cities of Nineveh, Nimrud and Babylon.
       Gibson likened the museum's destruction to that of the famed library founded by Alexander the Great in Egypt that was destroyed more than two thousand years ago.
       U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters the United States was concerned about the looting at the museum and was working to secure the facility.
       ''The United States understands its obligations and will be taking a leading role with respect to antiquities in general but this museum in particular,'' he said.

CUNEIFORM TABLETS ON EBAY?
       Powell said the U.S. would work with UNESCO, which earlier urged the U.S. and Britain to take immediate steps to protect and preserve a heritage considered to be ''one of the richest in the world.''
       A 1954 Hague Convention mandates protection of cultural property during conflict, an international group of archeologists and antiquities experts warned before the war. While Iraq had ratified the convention, the United States and Britain, both partners in the war in Iraq, have not.
       Of the more than 170,000 objects in the museum were treasures like an alabaster Uruk Vase that dates back to 3500 B.C., Gibson said.
       The museum also held tablets of cuneiform writing that still had to be translated.
       ''We understand most of the best pieces are gone,'' said the Archeological Institute for America's Patty Gerstenblith, adding she heard looters cut off heads of larger statues that could not be moved.
       Some items have already reportedly shown up for sale in Paris, Gibson said. Two markets for the items would exist: collectors willing to pay millions for the high-end items and others who would pay much less for smaller items like pottery.
       ''Average kind of pottery could well sell on (the Internet auction site) eBay for like $20 or $50,'' Gerstenblith said, adding small pieces have been smuggled out of Iraq during the U.S. economic embargo.
       Experts are trying to set up a Web site to provide a catalogue of what was in the museum in Baghdad and Gerstenblith said they were appealing to the White House to take emergency measures to order troops to be on the lookout for artifacts.
       In the meantime, the loss of objects with not only historical and cultural, but scientific and religious value, was devastating, Gerstenblith, a DePaul University professor said:
       ''We have allowed to be destroyed not only our own heritage but the heritage of future generations.''

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
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