Iraqi student Zeidoun Alkinani protesting the posession of ancient Iraqi artifacts by Germans at the Babylonian Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum of Berlin.
Prior to World War I, German archaeologists excavated large numbers of ancient artifacts across what is today Iraq and shipped them to Germany as part of a larger phenomenon of cultural pillage by European archaeologists across the Middle East that continued for decades.
In 2002, Iraqi officials asked for the return of the Gate, to no avail. A year later, the US invaded the country.
“ Put another way, the drone program in Pakistan succumbed right from the beginning to a temptation critics warned about: killing wasn’t restricted to targets that posed an imminent threat to the United States; rather, the C.I.A. killed people who wouldn’t have even been targets but for the fact that the ruling regime in another country wanted them dead, an act that poses problems moral and strategic. What better way to invite blowback than killing, on behalf of Pakistan’s rulers, people who the United States judged to be no threat to the American homeland? Did the C.I.A. make similar arrangements in other countries? Has this sort of quid pro quo continued into the Obama Administration, with Pakistan putting targets on a kill list in return for continuing to tolerate American drone strikes?* Congress ought to demand answers to those questions. Congress should also assert its authority to ensure that going forward, the C.I.A. is forbidden from killing people who pose no direct threat to America. So long as the executive branch is permitted to do what it will in secret, there will be an incentive for Obama and his successors to kill on behalf of foreign regimes so that they give us permission to kill whoever we want. ”