10.07.2008

The US Army and Cultural Property

I get fed up with people who blame soldiers for looting / destroying cultural property / accuse them of smuggling. Basically, they are good men putting their lives on the line for their country and are doing the best job they can. The new field manual is just out, and available here. Soldiers have been briefed since the start of the Afghan and Iraqi wars to avoid damaging archaeological sites, to not buy or steal antiquities, etc.

This is still official policy, and the relevant sections can be found in the manual, for example:
Shrines and Art
5-52. Except in cases where military operations or military necessity prevents it, the force protects and preserves all historical and cultural monuments and works, religious shrines and objects of art, and any other national collections of artifacts or art.

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