Sunday, June 15, 2003

Furor over looting

Conservative commentators are on a rampage regarding recent revised estimates of looting in Iraq. Many have latched on to David Aaronovitch's article in last week's Guardian to launch broadsides against political adversaries. Roger Kimball, writing in the WSJ, sees this as another example of anti-American journalism. Likewise, Charles Krauthammer reconfigures an earlier claim of a British archaeologist and argues, "You'd have to go back centuries, say, to the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, to find mendacity on this scale."

Amusingly, in their demands for journalistic accuracy, Kimball and Krauthammer each repeat the canard that only 33 artifacts are missing. That's downright false, as Tom Tomorrow has pointed out.

A much better take, in my mind, came from Don Wycliff of the Chicago Tribune, who concluded, "The fact that the losses were so much less than originally believed does not make the coalition's failure to protect the museum any less a dereliction."