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They deliberately neglected to stop the looting and were possibly complicit in it.

The archaeologists' narrative told a moralizing tale of culpability and guilt and heaped it upon U. policymakers and forces, even as the battles raged.

Gertrude Bell, the British interloper and romantic, established a department of antiquities that continues to oversee excavations, antiquities sites, and museums.

Foreign archaeologists trained a professional cadre of Iraqis, who became their colleagues.

Thanks to them, as well as the brilliant linguists who translated the cuneiform script, Mesopotamia was resurrected from oblivion.

They stole and destroyed artifacts and caused damage to the museum.No analogy was too far-fetched, from the thirteenth-century Crusader sack of Constantinople to the Mongol destruction of Baghdad.There was only one problem: this saga had no connection to reality.Western scholars of ancient Iraq, who already had a long record of silence about the crimes of Hussein and the Baath Party, compounded their ignominy in April 2003 by irresponsible distortions and unwarranted extrapolations.The years of silence gave way to a spasm of anti-coalition hysteria, some of it genuine, much of it self-serving.

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