Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why Museums Were Looted, Libraries Burned and Academics Murdered


Why did the invasion of Iraq result in cultural destruction and killings of intellectuals? Convention sees accidents of war and poor planning in a campaign to liberate Iraqis. Co-authors Tareq Ismael, ICMES Board member Raymond W. Baker, and Shereen T. Ismael argue instead that the invasion aimed to dismantle the Iraqi state to remake it as a client regime. Post-invasion chaos created conditions under which the cultural foundations of the state could be undermined. The authors painstakingly document the consequences of the occupiers’ willful inaction and worse, which led to the ravaging of one of the world’s oldest recorded cultures. Targeted assassination of over 400 academics, kidnapping and the forced flight of thousands of doctors, lawyers, artists and other intellectuals add up to cultural cleansing. This important work (Pluto Press, 2010) lays to rest claims that the invasion aimed to free an educated population to develop its own culture of democracy. [read more]