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Florida Journal of International Law

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It is time for the United States to reaffirm its recognition of the equal rights of all world people to their cultural inheritance. Our reputation depends on it.

In this Article, I will first discuss the rampant looting and destruction of civilization's cultural property occurring in Iraq since the American-led occupation. The U.S. Department of Defenses's response to this violation of international law is: "stuff happens." In arguing that the United States must ratify and adhere to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, I then will consider the historical development of the concepts articulated in this treaty. The 1954 Hague Convention is a Janus-faced instrument: it is simultaneously the last Hague convention on the laws of war, and the first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) convention on the laws of peace. In the next section, I will demonstrate that our claims against the terms of the convention are outside the current legal understanding of the duties of nations toward the peoples and civilizations of the world. I will conclude with the reminder that while we act alone, we are, nonetheless, not alone.



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