CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos lectures in Cincinnati this week about the plundering of the Iraq National Museum after the 2003 U.S. invasion. Bogdanos will describe his military team's efforts to recover looted treasures that wound up on the international black market for stolen art.
Many on the right have disputed and downplayed reports that antiquities were stolen in mass. Bogdanos' led the initial investigations that tracked down about 4,000 pieces and recovered them in raids and seizures.
He is a New York City prosecutor who specializes in art-theft cases and told the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities last year that he is donating royalties from his book Thieves of Baghdad -- which describes the art recovery program -- to the Iraq National Museum. Bogdanos' Ohio lecture is being sponsored by the World Affairs Council in Cincinnati, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. Bogdanos has spoken in the past of Iraq's importance as a cultural icon, Mesopotamia, where modern civilization began. He has not publicly criticized the war.
"The people of Afghanistan and Iraq are extraordinary. Every moment we were there, we know in our hearts and forever we were doing the right things for the right reasons. We were doing good things for good people, bad things to bad people. When your mission is to do the right thing for the right reasons, every moment is full of hope," he said in Humanities last year.
Information about the World Affairs Council is HERE. Details about the lecture at the Cincinnati Art Museum are HERE.
Bogdanos' interview in Humanities is a fascinating read and can be found online on this U.S.GOVERNMENT WEB SITE operated by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
And here's a TRANSCRIPT of a military briefing Bogdanos delivered on Sept. 10, 2003 during the early days of the war. He was at the U.S. headquarters in Baghdad while leading the treasure hunt.