The U.S. Army should have anticipated the danger presented to the cultural sites. Indeed, as cited above, they were warned. Further, once looting started, they should have acted promptly to protect the museum from further damage and theft. But, as we discovered, and as the looting continued for three days, the American Army did not even move any units to protect the museum until it was too late. Former French President Jacques Chirac declared the incident “a crime against humanity” (National Museum of Iraq, 2010). The looting of the Iraqi National Museum is more than a crime of theft; as I see it, it is an act of genocide.
Two specific conflicts arise from this
A) Conflict between the American Government and the Iraqi Government and people. Before this conflict can be resolved, it is important that the facts are ascertained and both sides acknowledge them. Are the Americans responsible? Do the above mentioned protocols apply here, and to what extent?
I believe they do, and, I think the matter is best resolved through mitigation and acknowledgment as I proposed in this project.
B) Conflict between Iraqis. The war pulled Iraq apart along sectarian and ethnic lines. If mitigation is obtained and the national museum rebuilt, how will it be rebuilt so as to resolve the conflict between the Iraqis themselves, presenting a history which respects all Iraqis?
Here, the American experience might be used, with the building of the National Museum of the American Indian under the national umbrella of the Smithsonian, or the unresolved controversy surrounding the building of a national museum for slavery in Washington.
According to the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972, cultural heritage of any state is recognized as world heritage, and member states should “give their help in the identification, protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage… if the States on whose territory it is situated so request.” (Section II, Article 6). Constructing a common national history is central to national unity, and Iraq needs one more than ever.