War is not kind to culture. The destruction and theft of ancient antiquities in Iraq during the war does not surprise me in the slightest sense. It is a terrible loss of historical artifacts and art. Such ancient pieces are important when it comes to understanding past cultures and lifestyles. They broaden our understanding of where we came from. Fortunately, there are records of many of the pieces. There are a number of pieces that can be found and described in our art textbook for example. So in retrospect, they aren’t entirely erased from the public.
Still, the physical items cannot be replaced, and it is a sad loss. Whoever stole them must be enjoying a nice sum of money from these priceless antiquities. If they are on the market, I can only hope that someone returns or reports some of the stolen pieces. Recovering every piece seems impossible. The idea of protecting ancient antiquities during war is hard to imagine in today’s times. Everything happens quickly, and there is little time to move so many artifacts. And I don't see security being beefed up around museums and archaeological sites during a war.
All the same, if any effort had been put into moving such valuable and historically significant artifacts and artwork, then the theft and destruction would have been greatly reduced. If they cared enough, they would have grabbed as much as they could and run to a safe location. Yes, I’m saddened by their loss, but I have little sympathy for the lack of effort in protecting their history. It’s not the first time war has taken its toll on pieces of cultural significance. It may seem a bit pessimistic, but when something matters to you, you should anticipate the worst and protect it well.
Bottom line... war happens. History tells us what war does. Museums, libraries, and places with valuable information should always be prepared.