...first impressions carry lasting significance....For example, several years ago I spoke with one of the key officers in charge of tracking down some of the 15,000 works of art looted from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad during and following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He acknowledged that he had never heard of the Monuments Men.
Today, dedicated Civil Affairs officers and soldiers along with civilian experts, including Colonel Mathew Bogdanis (ret.), Major Corine Wegener (ret.), and Professor John Russell, have gallantly and tirelessly attempted to repair the damage to this great museum, including finding and returning about half of the missing items to date. They also conduct training seminars for troops serving in the Civil Affairs section. But despite their efforts the first impressions of the United States' experience with handling the aftermath of the looting of the National Museum of Iraq remain indelibly etched in the minds of the public worldwide.
Friday, December 11, 2009
From The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel & Bret Witter (page 422):