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The Rape of MesopotamiaBehind the Looting of the Iraq Museum$
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Lawrence Rothfield

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226729459

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226729435.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Rape of Mesopotamia
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about the looting of the Iraq National Museum during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It suggests that the looting of the museum in April 2003 was not an act of insurgency but that it was the profit motive that led looters to attack the museum, which is considered the world's main repository for the archaeological treasures of ancient Mesopotamia. The chapter also contends that although the material cost of the looting was devastating, its symbolic cost was far more severe and immediate. It also criticizes the failure of U.S. forces to stop the looting and suggests that their inability to prevent the carrying off of the museum's statues signaled that American-style liberty meant lawlessness.

Keywords:   Iraq National Museum, looting, invasion of Iraq, profit motive, archaeological treasures, Mesopotamia, U.S. forces, American-style liberty

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