The Corner

War Souvenirs

Kathryn, that Foreman article is right on the point. There’s absolutely no reason why

soldiers shouldn’t take home a few symbols of the old regime they fought

so bravely to overthrow. The way to police this (beyond the normal rules against

looting) is simply to prohibit the troops to import items made before 1980 or with a

resale value (however that can be calculated) greater than, say, $1,000.

It’s also worth noting that the ban is probably also depriving enterprising Iraqis from

making a dollar or two. In the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, most major

East European cities had a healthy market in Bolshevik bric-a-brac, most

(or probably all) of which was bought up by Westerners. The same would

doubtless be true of Uday portraits, ceramic Saddams and the other glories of

Baathist culture.

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