Friday, October 17, 2008

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

The Bush Administration has announced a substantial $13 million grant to help Iraq's museum and archaeological infrastructure: Laura Bush helped roll out the program at the Iraqi Embassy: This money is in addition to millions already spent to date on the Iraq Museum and archaeological establishment courtesy of the US taxpayer.

With American museums and cultural institutions hurting due to collateral damage from the meltdown on Wall Street, I am a bit mystified why authorities like Larry Rothfield have anything to gripe about, particularly when his own University of Chicago's Oriental Institute will share in the government largess. See

I take it that Rothfield wants the State Department to pay for site security in Iraq, but hasn't the US already spent hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars building up Iraq's security forces? It is for the Iraqi government to decide how those forces are deployed. And, although Rothfield apparently continues to deny it, others believe that any looting of Iraqi archaeological sites has declined greatly along with the general decrease in lawlessness in the country.

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