"The destruction and looting of Iraq's National museum became a symbol of America's failure to protect the country it had occupied. But now the museum is slowly being restored and many pieces recovered.
Images of the empty museum provoked outrage that looters could so easily walk off with Iraq's heritage from under the Americans' noses. It was reported that as many as 170,000 artefacts were stolen, a figure played down by American investigators. "We have found that was fortunately a gross and irresponsible exaggeration," explains Col Matthew Bogdonas. But many in the world community still maintain the Americans could have done more. "Are any of those people engaged in the fighting"' asks Col Matthew Bogdonas. "The Museum was a battleground." The Americans are running an amnesty programme, encouraging the return of looted relics and "little by little the wounds are healing." So far about 1,000 have been returned. Both Iraq's cultural heritage and America's hearts and minds campaign depend on it." journeymanpictures
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