A few weeks ago an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal titled “So Much for the ‘Looted Sites’” and claiming that there has been no significant looting of the invaluable antiquities of Iraq since the U. S. invasion began. Today, however, I read an article in The New York Review of Books called “The Devastation of Iraq’s Past” that argues, in some detail, the opposite. Hugh Eakin, the author, admits (though only in a footnote) that the looting was “selective” and that some large sites have remained untouched, but claims that there is overwhelming evidence of widespread looting and destruction. Eakin refers us to what looks like an authoritative treatment of these issues, a series of reports by scholars of the British Museum, the most recent of them having been issued in June. I’ll be reading these with care, hoping to get an accurate picture from people who don’t have a political dog in this fight. But maybe everyone has a political dog in this fight.
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