Single Vase, “Stuff” Financing Iraqi Insurgency

From Holden:

Rummy Speaks, April 11, 2003

“I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. And it just was Henny Penny ?- ‘The sky is falling.’ I’ve never seen anything like it!” Rumsfeld exclaimed. “The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over and over and over, and it’s the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times and you think, ‘My goodness, were there that many vases?'”

And again the next day.

Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. “Stuff happens,” Rumsfeld said.

Then reality popped up.

Money from the sale of stolen artifacts in Iraq is being used to fund terrorist activity there, the director of Iraq’s National Museum told experts at a UNESCO meeting Thursday.

“Rich people are buying stolen material. … Money is going to Iraq and they’re buying weapons to use against Iraqi police and U.S. forces,” Donny George said on the sidelines of the gathering called to assess the state of Iraq’s cultural heritage.


George told a news conference that of 15,000 objects stolen from the museum, almost 4,000 had been returned to the country and more than 4,000 others were being kept in neighboring countries for safekeeping.


A committee of experts gathered at UNESCO, the Paris-based U.N. cultural agency, said it still was impossible to assess the scale of thefts from archaeological sites outside Baghdad.