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On the list of things that went wrong with the Iraq War, the wholesale destruction of that country's archeological inheritance often goes unmentioned. The average newspaper reader may recall that the Iraq National Museum was badly looted in the aftermath of initial hostilities, but very few realize how entirely predictable the looting was, how negligible the Bush administration's efforts were to prevent it and how far beyond the museum the thefts extended, and still continue. In this "autopsy of a cultural disaster," Rothfield (Vital Signs) breaks down the disaster into its discrete parts, using the looting as a perfect metaphor for the failures of planning and execution that have characterized the conflict thus far. Referencing Colin Powell's famous "Pottery Barn rule" ("You break it, you own it"), Rothfield writes, "The barn door knocked in by the Americans remains wide open, and Iraq's cultural heritage is being broken day by day.... [T]he loss is not just to Iraq but to us all." It may not carry the bombast and thrill of other war accounts, but this book serves as a frightening cautionary tale. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.