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Bush saves over 25,000 Museum Pieces in Afghanistan

Remember the bogus Baghdad museum story? For those of you who missed it, after Baghdad fell, the media ran wild with the story that the Baghdad museum was looted and 30,000+ pieces were stolen or destroyed. This was blamed exclusively on George Bush.

The media even reported many times that the Oil Ministry was guarded but the Museum was not, outraging the Bush haters.

The problem was of course, the whole story was bogus. After weeks of the media harming on it, the truth came out that (as I recall) 6 pieces were unaccounted for out of 30,000+ and the Oil Ministry was not guarded but the museum was.

So if Bush gets the blame for that, why has he not gotten credit for this....

Kabul museum treasures emerge from hiding places

More than 22,000 treasures from the Kabul Museum in Afghanistan, long thought to have been lost in the war against the Soviet Union and the subsequent cultural purge by the Taliban, have been located in bank vaults and other safe places where they were hidden by museum officials.

The priceless Bactrian gold collection, precious ivories, bronze statues and other artifacts of 5,000 years of history on the Orient's Silk Road virtually all of the museum's most precious items were preserved despite the devastation engulfing the country, archaeologists said last week.

The discovery of the Bactrian gold was announced this summer, but a just-completed inventory revealed that virtually all of the museum's most precious items are intact, said Oxford University archaeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert.

In the midst of the resistance against the Soviets, a team of curators in the early 1980s boxed up the most valuable pieces in the museum's collection, stashing them in various vaults around Kabul, the Afghan capital. The curators most of whose names are unknown used small safes, tin boxes, steel containers and anything else they could find at hand.

They then went "dead quiet," said British archaeologist Carla Grissman, keeping their knowledge to themselves even as rumors floated widely about the destruction and looting of the museum's contents.

They kept their secrets for a quarter of a century.

"These are the real heroes of this story," said Hiebert, leader of the team that has been inventorying the newly rediscovered artifacts.

Caught up in war
The museum held objects from a string of civilizations that conquered or traveled through the region, including the Bactrians, Kushans, Greeks and Buddhists.

Unfortunately, the museum's neighborhood became a frontline in the fighting against the Soviets and the building was shelled into a windowless, roofless hulk. Many of the artifacts that had not been removed were blasted to shards.

That wasn't the end of it.

The victorious mujahedeen broke open locked storerooms and looted much of what was left. Antique dealers in New York, Tokyo and London began displaying artifacts bearing catalog numbers from the museum.

The final indignity came with the Taliban regime, which smashed many of the remaining statues in the museum and destroyed the monumental Buddhas in Bamiyan. They apparently tried, unsuccessfully, to find the hidden treasures.

As it turned out, the Bactrian gold was stored in an elaborate bank vault along with much of the country's gold bullion, protected behind a shield of seven locks that defied the efforts of the Taliban to break in. It was not until August 2003, when a team of locksmiths was brought in from Germany, that their location became known.

If the Taliban had had enough time they would have found these treasures and destroyed them. Remember just months before we invaded, the Taliban blew up the giant Buddhist sculptures at Bamiyan.

It is no exaggeration to say the removal of the Taliban saved these antiquities. So, following the media's footsteps, I credit George Bush.


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Comments (12)

I'm no artsy-fartsy type, b... (Below threshold)

I'm no artsy-fartsy type, but I was ready to invade and kick out the Taliban when they destroyed the Buddhas. As far as I was concerned, that showed us exactly what the world was dealing with there and they had to Go Now.

Funky comment errors. Sorr... (Below threshold)

Funky comment errors. Sorry I put the same one on both posts because I got the error saving the first one.

History saved from the barb... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

History saved from the barbarians at the gate...
All this and so much more from the religion of 'peace'.

Thankfully these bozo's aren't rocket scientist material failing to even to be able to manipulate mechanical locks with all the time in the world at their disposal.

Sorry Jay. Still trying to... (Below threshold)

Sorry Jay. Still trying to fix the commenting problems.

I'm with Jay: if they'll go... (Below threshold)

I'm with Jay: if they'll go after "any" religious icon (not just Christian or Jewish), then they're truly out for the destruction of all but Islam. I'm glad we did...what we did.

Sorry Jay. Still working o... (Below threshold)

Sorry Jay. Still working on comment problems.

The national security advis... (Below threshold)

The national security adviser under the first President Bush says the current president acted contemptuously toward NATO and Europe after Sept. 11 and is trying to cooperate now out of desperation to "rescue a failing venture" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Amazing how anything bad, r... (Below threshold)
Omni:

Amazing how anything bad, real or invented, is magically attributed to Bush, but the good things that he should actually get credit for are ignored... GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Speaking of the statues, It... (Below threshold)

Speaking of the statues, It appears that some good news may possibly be on the way (but it will require a great deal of effort)... http://www.discover.com/issues/nov-04/features/bring-back-the-buddha/

Can you say "The Jenin Coef... (Below threshold)

Can you say "The Jenin Coefficient"?

I knew you could.

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