During the runup to the war, it appears that there was much concern about the antiquities in Iraq. The only problem is, apparently it was ignored when the priorities were being drawn up. The Bush administration had been warned about this happening and drew up a “no strike list.” However, they did not protect these same articles from looting.
Looting apparently had happened quite a lot during the first Gulf war. Iraqi’s had even raided museums before the war due to shortages of food and supplies. There was not enough security provided to protect these items during and immediately afterward. Apparently, even Saddam had sold off some of these rare antiquities.
After the war, many things were looted to be sold on the black market, others were simply burned including rare copies of the Quran. You would have thought that they would not have destroyed their holy book, but apparently, no one cared enough to guard them. No guards were posted by the military immediately after the downfall which would have help protect these items.
It would seem that there was no priority put on protecting 5,000 years of historical artifacts. If there were, it wasn’t followed by the military higher ups. Certainly, it was not followed by the commanders in the field. In the future, we can only hope that planners will not only identify these items but will make protection of these items a high priority.
I know that in the fog of war, there are things that happen and you can’t go back and change them. However, this war was not well conceived, well run, nor well planned by the Bush administration. We will regret these lost items being destroyed or looted, however, there isn’t anything we can do about it. Maybe in the future, we will decide that no one wins in war, no one gains anything and everyone loses.