Why did our tanks protect the ministry of oil, but not the hospitals?

  1. Why did we not use tanks to protect hospitals, the museum, and library? We did to protect the ministry of OIL!

    Of the U.S. record in post-war Afghanistan, already in chaos as insurgent Taliban gangs terrorize civilians and aid workers, Powell said: "We are helping them to rebuild and reconstruct their society. That pattern is the American pattern. We're very proud of it. It's been repeated many times over, and it will be repeated again and again."
    That claim is preposterous. After the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. returned Kuwait to its despotic emirs and left
    Saddam to murder thousands of dissidents.
    In the aftermath of 1990s U.S. interventions in Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan, local autocrats and warlords lost no time re-imposing their violent rule.

    On the economic front, the audacious Bush's tax cuts for the rich have swollen the deficit, which becomes the justification for slashing social programs-including a Bush-endorsed cut in veterans-affairs spending by $15 billion over the next decade. (Yes, at a time like this.)
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Apr 18, '03
  2. 59 Comments

  3. by   2ndCareerRN
    In respect of the TOS, I will not even start to comment on this thread.

  4. by   sjoe
    Ah, the pleasures or righteous indignation!
  5. by   rncountry
    Personally spacenurse, I for one would have expected much to happen to govn't building and the like, but would have thought, dumb of me obviously, that the Iraqi people would have realized what harm they were doing to themselves by looting hospitals. And as far as the museum goes why, why, why would the Iraqi's take treaures that are 5000 years old? Do they have so little care for their heritage as that? Well, obviously they do. I do not understand doing what they did. Why is no one questioning why the Iraqi's behaved so montrously, only instead questioning why American troops did not protect this and that when they were still and are still being shot at? Why is there no one asking what responsibility the Iraqi people had for themselves too? Why is no one pointing to those that did the looting and condemning them? How many Iraqi's were condemned to death by the looting of their own people? Why should not the world attempt to shame these people as well?
    Needing food I can understand, I would do what I needed to do to feed my children. Even looting govn't buildings I can understand to a point. But I have no understanding or sympathy for those that steal from their own people who are injured or steal from their countries heritage. I know you'll tell me we shouldn't have been there, so be it. Yet I also cannot understand why there seems to be no one, no take that back did read on opinion in USA today from someone with an Arab name stating his shame for the Iraqi people. Why is it that people only want to hold the US to account?
    It was like watching the riots in Watts, and the people were buring down their own neighborhood as if that would accomplish anything except to harm themselves.
    What a crying shame, and what a shame that hardly anyone thinks to at least attempt to shame those who did it.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    coupla questions here, meant with respect, honestly but:

    were you there, spacenurse, in the fierce firefight as a ground soldier do you pilot a fighter/bomber jet? were you in on the planning of such a HUGE maneuver as this engagement/war?

    din't think so....

    Now everyone who knows me knows I am NOT pr-war....not by LOOOONG shot, but so sorry, I tire easily of of armchair soldiering/war-planning ....

    that is all i will say cause I too, want to be respectful and careful what I say here. A new and (trying to be) improved

    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 15, '03
  7. by   curious
    I think the Iraqis did it for the same reason that people would do it here if they could get access to a museum. The artifacts are worth a lot of money. And Iraqis for the most part have been grindingly poor esp for the past 12 years. People are probably getting what they can because they have no idea what is coming next. Could be better than what they had, could be much worse. I wouldn't be much of an optomist living in a regime like that. In cases like that it is survival of the fittest.

    I guess that the US didn't think they would be able to take baghdad that fast, hence the vaccuum of looting etc. while they figured out what to do? Or maybe they did with the shock and awe, hoped for a quick collapse, that was what was being said in the beginning. To be honest I have no idea. We probably wont really know for a few years. That's how it always is with wars it seems.
  8. by   memphispanda
    How much of the humanitarian stuff should the US pay for? It seems to me that 2/3 for the Europeans is about right. There are multiple countries paying into that, whereas we alone pay for our portion which is undoubtedly a huge portion of the remaining 1/3 that the Europeans don't pay. Should we ALONE be paying for humanitarian aid? If not, then what percentage would be acceptable to the liberals? 50%?

    As far as tax cuts for the rich, you got me there. You can't give cuts to the poor because they already don't pay. So that just leaves the rich. At least that's what we are supposed to believe.

    Oh yes, libraries, hospitals, and museums aren't typically the types of buildings that would be at issue in a war. Who knew the Iraqui people would decide to steal everything possible? I guess that's what comes of the deprivation they were experiencing, I don't know. But it's not up to us to protect those non-essential types of facilites (libraries and museums). The hospitals were really pretty bad off anyway.
    Last edit by memphispanda on Apr 15, '03
  9. by   Mkue
    Originally posted by spacenurse
    Why did we not use tanks to protect hospitals, the museum, and library? We did to protect the ministry of OIL!

    During the massive fighting I believe that Iraqi soldiers were actually firing from Hospitals, schools, etc. upon our troops. Also I believe from several reports and articles that ammunition was stored in Hospitals and schools by the Iraqi's. So I think under these circumstances our troops performed magnificently considering the conditions they faced.

    The fires had to be put out, and oil fields protected. As Pres Bush stated, these had to be protected for the Iraqi people under the new leadership. It was feared that the Regime would set these on fire, and they did.

    As for the looting, I agree with Helen's post.

    And I think we would have been severely critisized if we had suppressed these people from expressing their emotions after realizing their freedom. And I feel that our troops did the right thing by protecting themselves and each other from snipers.

  10. by   rncountry
    You know curious, I understand the value of the articles from the museum and perhaps being able to sell them on the black market, but my history heart simply bleeds for this. Not to say the human costs don't make me want to weep too, but the loss of antiquities from the Sumerian times just make me want to weep too. This was the cradle of human civilization, outside of the Indus Valley in India. It is not even stealing their heritage, it is stealing humanities heritage and it makes me so very angry! The first thing I thought of was it was like the burning of the Alexandria Library in Egypt by Julius Caeser, except that the Romans did it to the world, and the Iraqi's themselves did it this time.
    I hope that eventually most of the artifacts are recovered. I really cross my fingers and hope for this. It's hard for me to explain how much this bothered me. But suffice it to say that I could have weep truly.
  11. by   Mkue
    I really do believe there are good people in Iraq. I think many of these people are used to "telling on each other" and I've got to believe that some will come forward and items will be recovered. Hopefully.
  12. by   rncountry
    Marie, one of the magazines I subscribe to is Archaeology, and it came in the mail today. They have an article regarding the Baghdad Museum and what was being done to protect the artifacts. By the way some of the pictures are stunning. Anyway from the article written by a Beurit based Archaelogist who visited Baghdad is December:
    "Across the Iraqi capital, authorities have painted UNESCO on the Museum rooftops to remind pilots that they are cultural buildings-not primary military sites-and the staff of the Baghdad Museum has been trained to empty it's thirty-two rooms in less than 24 hours and move the collections to secret locations."

    I am hoping some objects were taken away before looters got there. If nothing else perhaps they'll show up in London, which has the largest mesopotamian collections in the world outside of what Iraq had.
  13. by   molecule
    the looters came in mobs from the slums of Saddam city, a Shia section of Baghdad. they represented a very oppressed group now 'acting out' their rage against symbols of the authoritarian repressions of SH, in the main taking blind revenge against the Sunnis. [some others appeared to be educated to the value and professional theives] Am I making excuses for their behavior, no. Unlike Secretary Rumsfeld I say the actions were lawless and something much beyond '[expected]untidyness.' Something that could have been foreseen and prevented.
    The three days of frenzied looting occurred after the city was 'liberated.' There had been many warnings about the likelihood of civil disorder with the end of the regime and under international law the US had the responsibility to provide protection and security. Knowing this is why the US so cleverly refused to declare victory, Major Franks saying it was still war not occupation. Now the US is using the Baghdad police to help restore order, the same hated police of the SH regime.
    As has the point been often made, it is easier to win a war than win the peace.
    Whether we like it, or whether it's fair, as the bringers of chaos it is our reponsiblity to restore order. [as well as electricity, water, and food distribution].
    It was a huge error not to protect the treasures, to call the museums and libraries 'non-essential' is to dismiss our own 'cradle of civilization.' And our lack of action makes it harder still to win the trust and 'hearts and minds' of the Iraqis.
    Yesterday Sec Powell said the US will play a leading role in trying to recover the antiquities and restoring those damaged. Powell is seeking co-operation with the EU and the UN as well as with Interpol.
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    Thank you to those who answered with their opinion.
    Silly to opine that as a citizen of a country whose Commander in Chief was AWOL (definition= abscent without leave for thirty days or less)and never saw combat has no right to ask a question on an internet BB. Thank you poster for your restraint.
    Below is from a British reporter in Baghdad. An eye witness.
    Oh yes, How did we manage to protect the oil fields outside the city and the only government ministry we were able to maneuver tanks to protect was the ministry of oil?
    Wasn't it Sunday we had a Marine killed trying to protect the hospital from looting?
    Why was there no tank?

    Published on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 by the lndependent/UK
    Library Books, Letters and Priceless Documents are Set
    Ablaze in Final Chapter of the Sacking of Baghdad
    by Robert Fisk

    So yesterday was the burning of books. First came the looters, then the arsonists. It was the final chapter in the
    sacking of Baghdad. The National Library and Archives _ a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents,
    including the old royal archives of Iraq _ were turned to ashes in 3,000 degrees of heat. Then the library of Korans at
    the Ministry of Religious Endowment was set ablaze.

    I saw the looters. One of them cursed me when I tried to reclaim a book of Islamic law from a boy of no more than 10.
    Amid the ashes of Iraqi history, I found a file blowing in the wind outside: pages of handwritten letters between the
    court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the
    Ottoman rulers of Baghdad.

    And the Americans did nothing. All over the filthy yard they blew, letters of recommendation to the courts of Arabia,
    demands for ammunition for troops, reports on the theft of camels and attacks on pilgrims, all in delicate hand-written
    Arabic script. I was holding in my hands the last Baghdad vestiges of Iraq's written history. But for Iraq, this is Year
    Zero; with the destruction of the antiquities in the Museum of Archaeology on Saturday and the burning of the
    National Archives and then the Koranic library, the cultural identity of Iraq is being erased. Why? Who set these
    fires? For what insane purpose is this heritage being destroyed?

    When I caught sight of the Koranic library burning _ flames 100 feet high were bursting from the windows _ I raced to
    the offices of the occupying power, the US Marines' Civil Affairs Bureau. An officer shouted to a colleague that "this
    guy says some biblical [sic] library is on fire". I gave the map location, the precise name _ in Arabic and English. I
    said the smoke could be seen from three miles away and it would take only five minutes to drive there. Half an hour
    later, there wasn't an American at the scene _ and the flames were shooting 200 feet into the air.

    There was a time when the Arabs said that their books were written in Cairo, printed in Beirut and read in Baghdad.
    Now they burn libraries in Baghdad. In the National Archives were not just the Ottoman records of the Caliphate, but
    even the dark years of the country's modern history, handwritten accounts of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, with personal
    photographs and military diaries,and microfiche copies of Arabic newspapers going back to the early 1900s.

    But the older files and archives were on the upper floors of the library where petrol must have been used to set fire so
    expertly to the building. The heat was such that the marble flooring had buckled upwards and the concrete stairs that
    I climbed had been cracked.

    The papers on the floor were almost too hot to touch, bore no print or writing, and crumbled into ash the moment I
    picked them up. Again, standing in this shroud of blue smoke and embers, I asked the same question: why?

    So, as an all-too-painful reflection on what this means, let me quote from the shreds of paper that I found on the road
    outside, blowing in the wind, written by long-dead men who wrote to the Sublime Porte in Istanbul or to the Court of
    Sharif of Mecca with expressions of loyalty and who signed themselves "your slave". There was a request to protect a
    camel convoy of tea, rice and sugar, signed by Husni Attiya al-Hijazi (recommending Abdul Ghani-Naim and Ahmed
    Kindi as honest merchants), a request for perfume and advice from Jaber al-Ayashi of the royal court of Sharif
    Hussein to Baghdad to warn of robbers in the desert. "This is just to give you our advice for which you will be highly
    rewarded," Ayashi says. "If you don't take our advice, then we have warned you." A touch of Saddam there, I thought.
    The date was 1912.

    Some of the documents list the cost of bullets, military horses and artillery for Ottoman armies in Baghdad and
    Arabia, others record the opening of the first telephone exchange in the Hejaz _ soon to be Saudi Arabia _ while one
    recounts, from the village of Azrak in modern-day Jordan, the theft of clothes from a camel train by Ali bin Kassem,
    who attacked his interrogators "with a knife and tried to stab them but was restrained and later bought off". There is a
    19th-century letter of recommendation for a merchant, Yahyia Messoudi, "a man of the highest morals, of good
    conduct and who works with the [Ottoman] government." This, in other words, was the tapestry of Arab history _ all
    that is left of it, which fell into The Independent's hands as the mass of documents crackled in the immense heat of
    the ruins.

    King Faisal of the Hejaz, the ruler of Mecca, whose staff are the authors of many of the letters I saved, was later
    deposed by the Saudis. His son Faisel became king of Iraq _ Winston Churchill gave him Baghdad after the French
    threw him out of Damascus _ and his brother Abdullah became the first king of Jordan, the father of King Hussein and
    the grandfather of the present-day Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah II.

    For almost a thousand years, Baghdad was the cultural capital of the Arab world, the most literate population in the
    Middle East. Genghis Khan's grandson burnt the city in the 13th century and, so it was said, the Tigris river ran black
    with the ink of books. Yesterday, the black ashes of thousands of ancient documents filled the skies of Iraq. Why?
    2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd