:: Thursday, July 17, 2003 ::
Roger Atwood reports in the OpinionJournal on the rest of the story about the looting of the Iraqi National Museum.
The most striking fact to emerge from discussions with those living or working around the museum is that, in the days before and during the looting, they saw the museum being turned into a major military defensive position by Iraqi forces.
In plain violation of the Hague Convention of 1954, Iraqi fighters occupied the museum complex and used it as a combat position for at least three days after museum staff had fled. Neighborhood residents corroborated the charges made by American forces that the Americans had come under attack from inside the museum grounds and that fighting in the area was heavy. Even as they criticized the Americans for not protecting their national treasures, Iraqi witnesses to the looting said that Saddam Hussein's forces had turned the museum into a small arsenal.
'The Baathists were in there, shooting at the Americans. Many people saw it,' said Jabar al-Azawi, referring to members of Saddam Hussein's party. An elderly man wearing a gray robe, he offered me a cold drink in his garden on a quiet street around the corner from the museum. He said that the fighting was so intense that everyone on the block except him fled. 'I loved the museum, and I blame the Americans and the British forces because they didn't stop the looting,' he said.
U.S. forces have cited armed resistance from inside the complex as the main reason they could not seal off the museum and prevent the looting. In the end, they protected it only after they had defeated the last remnants of Saddam's forces in the area.
You really should read the whole story.
:: Mark 10:02 AM [+] ::