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looting stems from the fact that the thefts and vandalism could so easily have been prevented.
The letters reminded the administration of the 1991 Gulf War, when at many sites a great deal of looting occurred and damage was caused by the air campaign.
The directive listed sixteen sites in Baghdad that were crucial to protect, stating, "Coalition forces must secure these facilities in order to prevent looting and the resulting irreplaceable loss of cultural treasures.
Apparently that loss became permanent because after the actual fighting the tanks and armed soldiers stood by and watched the looting.
While the commander acted appropriately, it is obvious from this anecdote that the marine didn't know the rules on looting and had no training concerning the reasons for the rules.
Institute of Peace predicted widespread looting in the aftermath of war with Iraq.
While the looting was still under way, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded to reporters asking about it: "It's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it twenty times and you think, my goodness, were there that many vases?
He observes how flyers identifying targets and times were circulated, and he notes that a key factor explaining which stores and supermarkets were targeted for looting was the conspicuous absence of police at the scene.