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April 12, 2003 5:26 PM   Subscribe

A dissappearing history. The National Museum of Iraq recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.
posted by the fire you left me (58 comments total)

 
You know that the best leaders re-write history to suit themselves!

This just seems to make the job easier!
posted by shepd at 5:43 PM on April 12, 2003


Must be Bush's fault that those Iraqis are a bunch of thieves. Why, oh why, etc.,....
posted by Joeforking at 6:18 PM on April 12, 2003


Yeah this deserves special criticism. Cultural artifacts should have been protected for the Iraqi people just like the oil was protected for the Iraqi people. Of course much of this will be returned eventually but like after WWII it can take generations while it gets distributed around the globe on the black market.
posted by stbalbach at 6:20 PM on April 12, 2003


Art was meant to be free.
posted by mischief at 6:48 PM on April 12, 2003


Must be Bush's fault that those Iraqis are a bunch of thieves. Why, oh why, etc.,....

Munchausen's syndrome by proxy persecution complex.
posted by y2karl at 7:28 PM on April 12, 2003


"These are the foundational cornerstones of Western civilization," Russell said, and are literally priceless which he said will not prevent them from finding a price on the black market.

Some of the gold artifacts may be melted down, but most pieces will find their way into the hands of private collectors, he said.

The chances of recovery are slim; regional museums were looted after the 1991 Gulf War, and 4,000 pieces were lost.

"I understand three or four have been recovered," he said.

Samuel Paley, a professor of classics at the State University of New York, Buffalo, predicted whatever treasures aren't sold will be trashed.

The looters are "people trying to feed themselves," said Paley, who has spent years tracking Assyrian reliefs previously looted from Nimrud in Northern Iraq. "When they find there's no market, they'll throw them away. If there is a market, they'll go into the market."


This is very, very sad.
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on April 12, 2003


They are not things that obviously would be looted, but I found this article about what might have been the world's first batteries, now in that museum, quite interesting.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:43 PM on April 12, 2003


One of the very sad side effects of fighting wars in regions of such historical importance to humanity. A physical record of our history as a people has been lost -- sad indeed.
posted by cmacleod at 8:46 PM on April 12, 2003


The ethical thing is to make sure a market exists so these artifacts are saved. Funded by private or public ventures the artifacts removed from Iraq untill the country is stable enough to resume care.
posted by stbalbach at 8:50 PM on April 12, 2003


Saddam = preserver

US = destroyer

Obviously the fault of our bad American selves.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:08 PM on April 12, 2003


billysaythis: Well, yeah, this is the American government's fault, given that this was a war of choice and not absolutely immediate necessity. Even then, the military protected the oil ministry before protecting the museum. This was horribly careless, considering that, even thinking in purely practical terms, Baghdad will lose potential millions in future tourism dollars here. And you're not even getting into what it means not only to Iraq, but the world, to lose all this.
posted by raysmj at 9:26 PM on April 12, 2003


Oh god, this is terrible. What a loss of history.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:28 PM on April 12, 2003


The raw fact is that the US could have prevented this from happening with a very small investment in manpower and equipment, and were in fact asked to do so by the museum - and refused.

If the US administration wants to claim that they're liberating Iraq for the people, they're going to have to start doing a far better job of preserving the history of those people.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:31 PM on April 12, 2003


The raw fact is that the US could have prevented this from happening

The raw fact is that Iraq could have prevented this from happening. But they did not.

Not everything is America's fault.
posted by lampshade at 9:38 PM on April 12, 2003


Raysmj, since Saddam and his pals seem to have vanished, there's no one with a gun forcing the Iraqis to steal these things. Which they are, after all, stealing from themselves. I don't notice any US soldiers dragging loot away. If these people choose not to behave in a civilized way, that's their choice--we liberated them, what they do with the liberty is supposed to be their choice. Or do they need our paternalistic guidance?

Anyway, I never said we should be protecting the oil fields either, don't just assume. But let's say, hypothetically, that we hadn't and then some Iraqis, out of pent up frustration or whatever, went out and set a bunch on fire. Think of the environmental damage. Tell me plenty of Westerners wouldn't scream about our decision in that scenario.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:39 PM on April 12, 2003


And Dipsomaniac, if you took a poll of the general Iraqi populace this week, asking if the troops should protect the nice income generating oil fields, which can fund their basic needs, or the museums, which look pretty, which would get more votes? To which people are you referring?
posted by billsaysthis at 9:42 PM on April 12, 2003


Even then, the military protected the oil ministry before protecting the museum.

There was reasonable expectation that intentional damage might be done to oil wells. I'm not so sure anyone could have expected the locals to loot a museum. I think the looting in general took the US military by surprise.
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:50 PM on April 12, 2003


with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.

No, they were liberated! Operation Iraqi Artwork Freedom in the house!

Not everything is America's fault.

That's true. I have this painful boil on my ass at the moment...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:52 PM on April 12, 2003


Ebay.iq
posted by CrazyJub at 10:01 PM on April 12, 2003


The concept of a power vacuum isn't exactly new. It's why we didn't finish Saddam in the frist Gulf War, after all, so of course the administration knew we would have to provide stability when the regime fell. And if Rumsfeld hadn't cut back the number of troops, there would have been enough soldiers to protect the hopsitals and the museums as well the oil fields. We're already dropping the ball on winning the peace.
posted by homunculus at 10:05 PM on April 12, 2003


The real downside to all this is that I'm not presently anywhere near Iraq -- some of those trinkets would look pretty nice on my mantel.
posted by aramaic at 10:06 PM on April 12, 2003


Billysaythis: Yes they need our policing. Under the Geneva Convention we're in charge there now. The rest of your commentary is irrelevant.

Ayn Marx: That's the oil *ministry* to which I made reference, not oil wells.
posted by raysmj at 10:19 PM on April 12, 2003


If these people choose not to behave in a civilized way, that's their choice--we liberated them, what they do with the liberty is supposed to be their choice. Or do they need our paternalistic guidance?

This might be the funniest thing I've ever read here.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:56 PM on April 12, 2003


I'm not so sure anyone could have expected the locals to loot a museum. I think the looting in general took the US military by surprise.

This has to be the stupidest thing I've read all night.

In January, the Archaeological Institute of America issued a statement calling on "all governments" to protect cultural sites both during and after a war, and late in the month a mix of scholars, museum representatives, collectors and dealers made the same case during a briefing at the Department of Defense.

Iraq War Threatens Ancient Treasures
War Puts Iraq's Ancient Treasures at Risk - Expert
Iraq War Could Put Ancient Treasures at Risk
As the Threat of War Grows, Archaeologists Make Plea to Spare Iraq's Treasures
Stolen Stones: The Modern Sack of Niveneh
American Schools of Oriental Research Statement on Iraq

To paraphrase Albert Eintein, Ayn Marx has been given a large brain by mistake, since for her the spinal cord would suffice.
posted by y2karl at 12:07 AM on April 13, 2003


This is a devastating loss, not just for the Iraqi people but for the world, and for the sum of human knowledge and our collective knowledge of history (do people still care about history? The Geneva Conventions do hold that cultural treasures are supposed to be protected; doesn't seem to have made any difference here). I am furious that the US couldn't be bothered to send a few soldiers to hang around the museum to at least try to protect its contents... those artifacts were priceless.

I'm really grieving this; almost as much as I'm grieving the suffering of the wounded...

If these people choose not to behave in a civilized way, that's their choice--we liberated them, what they do with the liberty is supposed to be their choice.

I will calm down eventually, but right now I have to say that the author of this comment is an idiot.
posted by jokeefe at 12:35 AM on April 13, 2003


never have i seen so many people fall victim to the liberal myth that history began before 1776.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:05 AM on April 13, 2003


I don't notice any US soldiers dragging loot away.

Not museum loot, but they have taken loot.
"U.S. troops left no doubt that they were "in there." Soldiers used Saddam's toilets (for many, the first indoor plumbing they'd seen in four months), rifled through documents, helped themselves to ashtrays, pillows, gold-painted Arab glassware and other souvenirs."
There was also a news article I saw in the past 24 hours about U.S. troops that were asked to return some items they had taken. Unfortunately, I am currently not able to locate this article. Did anyone one see this?

But remember kids..."The images you are seeing on television, you are seeing over and over and over, and it's the same picture, of some person walking out of some building with a vase." -Rumsfeld 4/11/03
posted by gluechunk at 1:43 AM on April 13, 2003


You can't please everyone - and this is a good example of it.

Troops make very bad policemen. Let's jsut pretend that we decided to stop the looting... and some starving Iraqi rushes the door too the museum to steal a vase. What exactly shall you have us do?

Scenario 1: The soldier ignores him - gets bad press from the left for being lazy or stupid

Scenario 2: The soldier goes to physically restrain him, the guy has a suicide vest on and kills a few marines and damages the museum. The left gets all bitched that the marines were there - obviously making the museum a target.

Scenario 3: The soldier physically restrains the man - and there is a billion images on posters at anti war rallies of a Marine "thug" beating up some poor starving Iraqi who only wanted to sell something to get food.

Scenario 4: The marine tries to restraint he man, but the man brings friends... the Marine is left powerless because he cannot physically stop them, and the left gets a field day about how ineffective the marines are.

Scenario 5: The marine tries to restraint he man, but the man brings friends... the marine has no option but to shoot the rushing crowd of looters. The left has some serious field day good times with the cries of "Murder!" and "War Crime!"

It's a serious no win... the only thing you can assure yourself of is that a lot of peopel will go way out of their way to blame the US for anything bad and yearn wistfully for the good old days of Saddam when the girls got raped but the f*&#ing pottery was safe.
posted by soulhuntre at 2:48 AM on April 13, 2003


Let's jsut pretend that we decided to stop the looting...

soulhuntre, five marines cleared out several thousand looters within minutes. Did you read the link?
posted by eddydamascene at 2:58 AM on April 13, 2003


Under the Geneva Convention we're in charge there now.

Heh. You said Geneva Convention.

soulhuntre, if you'd spent as much time reading that link as you did creating fantasy Scenarios (and why did you stop at 5, by the way?) you'd have seen that it was possible for the troops to have stopped them.

Clearly, it wasn't a priority.

And anyone who tries to back off from saying America is responsible for this, maybe a little lesson in cause and effect is in order.

The only consolation I can get from this is that Saddam was no Mussolini, and wasn't aggressively digging up artifacts around the country the entire time he was in power.

The fertile crescent is the motherload of archeologists' dreams. Continuous habitation for @7000 years gives great possibilities, if we can get an administration that can recognize the value of learning about the past. Or do we have to wait for the Europeans to do it?
posted by Busithoth at 5:54 AM on April 13, 2003


I'm all for the Fleshlight, but the sex in a can kinda disturbs me...
posted by Katemonkey at 7:17 AM on April 13, 2003


Oh fuck on toast. This is what I get for having one too many windows open.

Sorry. I just totally screwed up this thread. And I was going to actually have a serious comment about this too.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:25 AM on April 13, 2003


""I asked them to bring their tank inside the museum grounds," he said. "But they refused and left. About half an hour later, the looters were back ..."

Evidently protecting the National Museum in Baghdad wasn't a priority in US military planning. This sends a message about US values and intentions which I find highly disturbing.
posted by sheauga at 7:25 AM on April 13, 2003


Links about this topic here too

fall victim to the liberal myth that history began before 1776.
didn't it begin on 9-11?

my take: the Museum is very famous, it would have been nice to have a little plan to protect it, too, in the obvious chaos of the first post-Saddam days (Basra Museum as pointed out was looted in 1991 already, there was a nuice precedent). but on the other hand, hospitals weren't that well-protected either.

it all boils down to the old question -- in case of fire, what would you rescue, the Mona Lisa or the little kid?

and anyway at least art collectors everywhere must be pretty excited, right now
posted by matteo at 8:24 AM on April 13, 2003


opinions, babes & bondage /= logic, spelling & grammar

Thank goodness for that $0.00 blogshare!
posted by y2karl at 8:49 AM on April 13, 2003


What's the big deal? Objects of stolen cultural patrimony have been repatriated to ligitimate claimants from the indigenous population. Per H.R. 5237, The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
posted by jfuller at 10:14 AM on April 13, 2003


I'm all for the Fleshlight, but the sex in a can kinda disturbs me...

Sex In a Can was one of the many great inovations of the ancient Akkadians, which allowed them to unite the city-states of Mestopotamia into one of the world's first empires. Apparently the gold-plated Sex In a Can of Sargon the Great was stolen from the museum.
posted by homunculus at 10:29 AM on April 13, 2003


lampshade: that's the among the shortest of short-sighted comments I've seen here. The point is that, in effect, there IS NO IRAQ that could have prevented this. The US decided that they would remove the Iraqi administration - which was doing fine protecting those relics - and somehow imagined that there would be an administration waiting in the wings.

There wasn't.

Traditionally, when a leadership is toppled, there is an alternative prepared for power, legitimised by the struggle against the previous administration. There isn't one in this case, so it is entirely the US's job to take over the basic infrastructure until one can be created.

That means protecting the hospitals - only three of the city's 48 haven't been looted to the point of closure - running some sort of police patrolling, and generally doing more than looking after oil wells. If they have enough troops for that, they have enough to to send a massively important musuem the one tank and two troops it needed to prevent this pillage.

And yes, it is *entirely* the US's reponsibility to do all this. That's why the international red cross has already warned the US that it will be at fault in the impending humanitarian crisis because it didn't protect the hospitals it is required to under international law.

What really concerns me now is the almost-certain resurgence in tribal affiliations. How long till the Sunnis and Shias are killing each other? Iraq is about to become an extremely complicated Yugoslavia, but hey, the oil wells are safe

Home of the brave.
posted by bonaldi at 10:48 AM on April 13, 2003


it all boils down to the old question -- in case of fire, what would you rescue, the Mona Lisa or the little kid?

In this case, it would have been nice if they did either of those.
posted by jokeefe at 12:22 PM on April 13, 2003


Also, just to continue gnashing my teeth here, a lot of what is valuable in that museum is stuff that doesn't look like much of anything: written records on clay tablets. They're not shiny, they're not obviously important, but they are the oldest texts we have, the very first written histories, and they are thousands of years old. And they are easily breakable.

And this glorious battle in general? Conquering Iraq was the easy part. Watch as the US abandons the country to penury and chaos, all the while cheering the so-called new found freedom of the Iraqi people. I like the way Rumsfeld invoked Ceaucescu (sp.) in Romania--you want to know what things are like in Romania now? You don't hear much in the papers, but in case you are wondering, they may no longer have an insane dictator (and hurrah), but people are just as grindingly poor, the administration is just as corrupt, and, of course, they are the same lot who were running things all along.
posted by jokeefe at 12:32 PM on April 13, 2003


jfuller-
A lot of those looted artifacts will wind up in the hands of private collectors outside of Iraq ... Europe, the U.S., Asia, etc. etc.. They will just disappear effectively and you can't work to "repatriate" something if you don't know where it is. Also, one of the things destroyed in the looting was the card catalogue of the collection. There are some records of what they had but no complete record. You can't ask for the return of something if you no longer have any proof the museum once owned it. Also, international repatriation is more problematic than the kind spelled out by the U.S. NAGPRA legislation. One of the more obvious examples is that the Elgin marbles remain at the British Museum. War complicates things. The Iraqis looted the museums in Kuwait when they invaded, and kept what they took. If objects from Iraq somehow wind up in Kuwait, do you think they will necessarily be easily retrieved.
posted by gudrun at 2:35 PM on April 13, 2003


"Thank goodness for that $0.00 blogshare!"

Tell me about it :)

We all know the sort of thing that makes a blog popular these days... and that is basically talking about how cool and hip other bloggers are. Obviously, this is not something I spend a whole lot of time doing so my blogshare will be forever $0.0.. I am crushed by this.

I do apologize for the spelling thing, occasionally I forget how atrocious my spelling really is when I type fast. Amazing that multi-line ksh scripts come out with nary a glitch but english causes me trouble. Particularly "liek" as a replacement for "like" and "int he" for "in the". Very odd.

Anyway, that isn't the issue here - my scenarios hold as a generality. There simply is no way for a military force to be an effective police force ... especially when any action it take will be cast in he worst possible light.

Let's say that the museum is protected. Then folks will get all bent that we are protecting the museum while people steal food... so we would obviously be the bad guys again.

We protect the food and museum, and the infrastructure and we get blasted for protecting the oil because it proves something about how evil we are.

We protect food, museum, oil and then a school gets looted for chairs (John Stewart says they really seem to like chairs and I believe him) and we get blasted for protecting the oil but letting Iraq's "future generations" get plundered.

It's a no win situation.

Me? Personally? I would have protected the museum and other key places... but I wouldn't be nearly as sensitive to looking like a bully as policy currently dictates.

This war and the aftermath is not being handled perfectly. Mistakes are being made and I have no problem criticizing it when it happens. I just think that trying to use the museum as a wedge to somehow cast the whole situation as a US failure is sounding a little desperate.
posted by soulhuntre at 4:07 PM on April 13, 2003


Let's say that the museum is protected. Then folks will get all bent that we are protecting the museum while people steal food... so we would obviously be the bad guys again.

No, you wouldn't (and careful who you call "we"). Anyone can understand looting for food. It's a bit of a difference in degree from ransacking and destroying a museum's collection. Food is food, but knowledge once lost is irreplaceable.

We protect the food and museum, and the infrastructure and we get blasted for protecting the oil because it proves something about how evil we are.

I don't think so, if I read this correctly. If the US Army was protecting the infrastructure, the food, and the museum, they would be acting as responsible agents in trying to limit the chaos that they initiated.

I just think that trying to use the museum as a wedge to somehow cast the whole situation as a US failure is sounding a little desperate.

Huh? Why is it that some folks around here just cannot get past a good guys/bad guys view of things? Isn't it possible to feel anger and despair about the loss of the museum and its contents without ulterior, non-patriotic motives? Of course in my case, not being an American, that's not really an issue. There are non-Americans here, remember. The success or failure of this invasion is still an open question, and I would suggest waiting for a year or so before coming to conclusions. So far, the US Army has failed in certain particular ways: it has failed to protect the lives and livelihoods of the Iraqi people, failed to protect the treasures of their culture, and failed to protect against civilian suffering.

We all know the sort of thing that makes a blog popular these days... and that is basically talking about how cool and hip other bloggers are. Obviously, this is not something I spend a whole lot of time doing so my blogshare will be forever $0.0.. I am crushed by this.

I thought that it was readability that made a blog popular--that linking is evidence of a more or less functioning meritocracy.
posted by jokeefe at 4:42 PM on April 13, 2003


More links of interest

A filter site for all things Iraqi-stolen-treasure
Museum in Mosul
..and Basra
BBC
Independent
MSNBC
NY Times
Telegraph
Group of dealers offers to help - conspiracy theory here
US has not ratified site protection treaty of the Hague Convention
Group formed to defend black market traders
Digs in the region on hold
posted by stbalbach at 6:01 PM on April 13, 2003


US blamed for failure to stop sacking of museum

Not a single pot or display case remained intact, according to witnesses, after a 48-hour rampage at the museum – perhaps the world's greatest repository of Mesopotamian culture. US forces intervened only once, for half an hour, before leaving and allowing the looters to continue.

Archaeologists, poets, cultural historians and international legal experts, including many in America itself, accused Washington of violating the 1954 Hague Convention on the protection of artistic treasures in wartime.


The looting of cultural treasures

The museum housed more than 100,000 artifacts spanning 8,000 years, including irreplaceable sculptures, inscribed tablets and carved reliefs from a half-dozen cultures, including the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires.

As examples of what was gone, the officials cited a solid gold harp from the Sumerian era, that began about 3360 B.C. and started to decline about 2000 B.C. Another item on their list of looted antiquities was a sculptured head of a woman from Uruk, one of the great Sumerian cities, dating to about the same era, and a collection of gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings, also from the Sumerian dynasties and at least 4,000 years old.


Thieves of Baghdad rob museums of priceless treasure

A mile away, Iraq's National Library has also been burnt and pillaged, completing the destruction of the country's incomparable heritage.
posted by y2karl at 7:02 PM on April 13, 2003


sex in a can was what sodom was famous for, not babylon.
posted by condour75 at 7:39 PM on April 13, 2003


A mile away, Iraq's National Library has also been burnt and pillaged, completing the destruction of the country's incomparable heritage

fuck fuck fuck

sorry, I can't be coherent right now
posted by jokeefe at 7:46 PM on April 13, 2003


Muslims save Baghdad's Jewish community centre from looters
posted by homunculus at 7:58 PM on April 13, 2003


.
posted by muckster at 9:51 PM on April 13, 2003


Americans defend two untouchable ministries from the hordes of looters:

"US troops have sat back and allowed mobs to wreck and then burn
the Ministry of Planning,
the Ministry of Education,
the Ministry of Irrigation,
the Ministry of Trade,
the Ministry of Industry,
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
the Ministry of Culture and
the Ministry of Information
.
They did nothing to prevent looters from destroying priceless treasures of Iraq's history in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and in the museum in the northern city of Mosul, or from looting three hospitals.

The Americans have, though, put hundreds of troops inside two Iraqi ministries that remain untouched – and untouchable – because tanks and armoured personnel carriers and Humvees have been placed inside and outside both institutions. And which ministries proved to be so important for the Americans? Why, the Ministry of Interior, of course – with its vast wealth of intelligence information on Iraq – and the Ministry of Oil."
posted by gluechunk at 11:28 PM on April 13, 2003


Priorities speak eh gluechunk?

But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away liberated by looters.
posted by nofundy at 6:22 AM on April 14, 2003


Mickey Kaus:

The most interesting thing I've heard about our failure to prevent a period of anarchy and looting after Saddam's fall was WaPo reporter Dana Priest's suggestion, on Washington Week in Review, that the failure wasn't simply the consequence of having too few troops in Iraq. Rather, Priest said, the failure was intentional -- that Washington anticipated and wanted a period of anarchy in which local Iraqis would kill Saddam loyalists without us having to take responsibility for it.
posted by y2karl at 10:35 AM on April 14, 2003


I just think that trying to use the museum as a wedge to somehow cast the whole situation as a US failure is sounding a little desperate.

There was reasonable expectation that intentional damage might be done to oil wells. I'm not so sure anyone could have expected the locals to loot a museum. I think the looting in general took the US military by surprise.

As owillis so aptly put it: You distort, we deride.

Spin this, kids:

Pentagon Was Told Of Risk to Museums

In the months leading up to the Iraq war, U.S. scholars repeatedly urged the Defense Department to protect Iraq's priceless archaeological heritage from looters, and warned specifically that the National Museum of Antiquities was the single most important site in the country.

Late in January, a mix of scholars, museum directors, art collectors and antiquities dealers asked for and were granted a meeting at the Pentagon to discuss their misgivings. McGuire Gibson, an Iraq specialist at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, said yesterday that he went back twice more, and he and colleagues peppered Defense Department officials with e-mail reminders in the weeks before the war began.

posted by y2karl at 10:45 AM on April 14, 2003


he and colleagues peppered Defense Department officials with e-mail reminders in the weeks before the war began.

Gosh, I guess they couldn't tell the difference between those and all the "increase your dick size" spam mails.

Can anyone suggest some kind of a rehab program for people who find themselves making too many snarky remarks on mefi? No? Well, okay then.
posted by jokeefe at 11:53 AM on April 14, 2003


Zimansky said Iraq's isolation during Hussein's rule meant that a great deal of material had remained unstudied and uncataloged for years. An as-yet unresearched Sippar library of cuneiform clay tablets lay in the museum's basement and -- if it survived -- may contain the missing pieces of the Gilgamesh Epic, a heroic tale conceived by the Sumerians and written and rewritten in Mesopotamia for more than 1,000 years.

*cries inconsolably*
posted by jokeefe at 12:34 PM on April 14, 2003


"Months before the invasion of Iraq, Pentagon war planners anticipated the fall of Saddam Hussein would usher in a period of chaos and lawlessness, but for military reasons, they chose to field a light, fleet invasion force that could not hope to quell such unrest when it emerged, Pentagon officials said yesterday."
posted by homunculus at 1:12 PM on April 14, 2003


Simple explanation: when your country essentially has no history, it's far too easy to forget that other countries do.
posted by riviera at 10:40 PM on April 14, 2003


"I thought that it was readability that made a blog popular--that linking is evidence of a more or less functioning meritocracy."

It may well be - but no, readability does not guarantee popularity. Mine is neither of course, but that's not my point :)

Blogshares is specifically a popularity contest, the more incoming links from high profile (most linked to) blogs you get the more your share price.

Basically, it's a traffic monitor.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:20 AM on April 15, 2003


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