Over 170,000 ancient artifacts have been destroyed or stolen from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. We will go to Baghdad and Oxford to talk about what was lost; Indian writer Arundhati Roy on the invasion of Iraq and India s threat to preemptively attack Pakistan; Who is set to profit in post-invasion Iraq? BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast says Madonna, record companies and free trade advocates may be among the unexpected winners.
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:10 Headlines 9:10-9:11 One Minute Music Break 9:11-9:20: It emerged over the weekend that 170,000 ancient artifacts housed in the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad have been destroyed or taken by looters. The New York Times reports the destruction of the museum is likely to be reckoned as one of the greatest cultural disasters in recent Middle Eastern history. The National Museum recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. Among the treasures lost or destroyed: *the world's first written words. After surviving for more than 5,000 years, distinctive clay tablets from the royal tombs of Ur are gone. The tablets have cuneiform writing and are recognized as the root of all mankind's written communication *the world's earliest examples of mathematics, including calculations that have led to the modern system of timekeeping using hours, minutes and seconds based on the number six. Museum officials are outraged at US troops for failing to protect the museum. For weeks before the war, archaeologists and scholars from around the world had warned the Pentagon about postwar looting. They reminded the Pentagon that after the 1991 Gulf War, 9 of Iraq s 13 regional museums were plundered. Possible Guest: Philip Smucker, reporter in Baghdad the Christian Science Monitor Guest: Eleanor Robson, fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and a council member of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:25-9:50: Three weeks ago we talked to the acclaimed Indian writer Arundhati Roy as the invasion of Iraq began. We meet up with her again today. Her most recent piece, Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates begins: On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawl colorful messages in childish handwriting: For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse. A building goes down. A marketplace. A home. A girl who loves a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother's marbles. On March 21, the day after American and British troops began their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, an "embedded" CNN correspondent interviewed an American soldier. "I wanna get in there and get my nose dirty," Private AJ said. "I wanna take revenge for 9/11." To be fair to the correspondent, even though he was "embedded" he did sort of weakly suggest that so far there was no real evidence that linked the Iraqi government to the September 11 attacks. Private AJ stuck his teenage tongue out all the way down to the end of his chin. "Yeah, well that stuff's way over my head," he said. According to a New York Times/CBS News survey, 42 per cent of the American public believes that Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. And an ABC news poll says that 55 per cent of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein directly supports al-Qaida. What percentage of America's armed forces believe these fabrications is anybody's guess. It is unlikely that British and American troops fighting in Iraq are aware that their governments supported Saddam Hussein both politically and financially through his worst excesses. But why should poor AJ and his fellow soldiers be burdened with these details? It does not matter any more, does it? Hundreds of thousands of men, tanks, ships, choppers, bombs, ammunition, gas masks, high-protein food, whole aircrafts ferrying toilet paper, insect repellent, vitamins and bottled mineral water, are on the move. The phenomenal logistics of Operation Iraqi Freedom make it a universe unto itself. It doesn't need to justify its existence any more. It exists. It is. President George W Bush, commander in chief of the US army, navy, airforce and marines has issued clear instructions: "Iraq. Will. Be. Liberated." (Perhaps he means that even if Iraqi people's bodies are killed, their souls will be liberated.) American and British citizens owe it to the supreme commander to forsake thought and rally behind their troops. Their countries are at war. And what a war it is. Guest: Arundhati Roy, acclaimed Indian author speaking to us from New Delhi. She is author of several books, including The God of Small Things, Power Politics, and most recently, War Talk. Link: Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates : http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=3368 9:50-9:58: The European Commission said it is examining Washington's handout of contracts to rebuild Iraq to see whether the process complied with World Trade Organization rules. WTO rules on public procurement require member states to hold proper tenders for companies to bid for the work but an exception is allowed on various grounds including national security. Brussels had said there were grounds for concern that companies based in the European Union were being frozen out of the lucrative rebuilding of roads, airports and oil terminals. Guest: Greg Palast, investigative reporter with the BBC and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy Link: http://www.gregpalast.com 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Noah Reibel. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.