Bodies for art

Bodies for art
: As a friend of my said, if the biggest hubub coming out of Iraq these days is over a looted musuem, that’s good news.

Hey, I’m sorry that antiquities got lifted. I’m sorry Iraqi museums didn’t have better locks. I’m sure Tommy Franks is sorry he didn’t have an extra tank to park in front of that museum.

But let’s check our priorities, people. This is a war. In a war, you’re a bit busy worrying about things other than the priorities an NPR audience would set.

Get a load of this question from today’s Doha briefing from an AP Radio reporter:

I had two questions. One was getting back to the antiquities issue. Asking people to return things now is kind of like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. Why did the coalition, when it went to great lengths to protect oil facilities not go to any lengths at all apparently to protect some of the museums in Baghdad that had great antiquities?…

GEN. BROOKS: …The efforts to secure antiquities. First, as we entered Baghdad, we were involved in very intense combat, and our focus was the combat actions necessary to remove the regime and any of its appendages. In removing the regime, there is a vacuum that is created — that certainly did occur — and the vacuum will be filled as time goes on. I don’t think that anyone anticipated that the riches of Iraq would be looted by the Iraqi people, and indeed it happened in some places. So while it may now be after the fact that that looting has occurred, it’s still important to try to restore it as much as possible. It’s simply not useful to speculate as to why we did, did not, what could we have done differently. We did what we did, and our operations were focused on objectives at hand at the time. And we believe that as time goes on we will be able to sort out this issue as well.

I’m just waiting for that story on Alternet saying that this proves the war was for oil: We protected oil wells before we protected sculpture! Philistines!

Jeesh. We knew they had a habit of blowing up oil wells. We didn’t know they had a habit of looting antiquities.

But let’s look at this another way: Pull together the parents of a bunch of Marines and ask them: Is it worth your child’s life to protect Iraqi antiquities? That’s no smart-assed question (well, it is, but it’s also legit) for with a limited number of troops, putting some of them at the museum would have taken them away from protecting people elsewhere. Dead stone heads or live breathing humans? Easy choice.

: Glenn Reynolds says this is all about the U.S. being caught in the “impotence/omnipotence double bind” — hell if we do, hell if we don’t.