A soldier's role in retrieving Iraqi relics is controversial

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The Marine opens with a line from ''Hamlet."
''I could a tale unfold," Matthew Bogdanos tells the 200 people gathered at Concordia College to hear how he stormed across war-torn Iraq with a handpicked band of brothers, all for the sake of stolen art.

As usual, Bogdanos doesn't use a microphone. It's too restrictive. His voice booms through the auditorium, a skill mastered during years as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. He paces the room, clicking through slides of looted galleries and raided palaces, peppering his talk with quotes from Socrates, Voltaire, and Mark Twain.

The art world and the United Nations failed to respond in 2003, he contends, when fighting in Baghdad led to looting at the Iraq Museum. But don't blame the US military, he adds, punching the air with a finger. They were being shot at by Iraqi soldiers who took over the building, and had no choice but to retreat.

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