Thursday, June 08, 2006

American Embassy in Iraq

We like to peruse the foreign press, to get a feel for what our friends and allies are thinking these days regarding the ongoing carnage in Iraq.
This particular article, reprinted here from the Australian newspaper, THE AGE, is rather interesting in regards to the cost to us, the American Taxpayer, and it says something about what those, who are potential employees at the Embassy, are feeling.

While we understand that it behooves the United States to have embassies aeound the world, they seem rather redundant these days given our administration's lack of interest in diplomatic relations.

I am outraged at the expense, not to mention the projected continued presence of Americans and American troops in Iraq.

Sumptuous US embassy in Baghdad sets records

Oliver Poole, Baghdad
June 8, 2006

ON THE west bank of the Tigris, at the edge of Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, a forest of cranes marks the progress of Iraq's newest monument: a US embassy that will be the largest in the world.

Once an army of more than 3500 workers have completed construction next June, the vast site will be the hub of the American administration in Iraq.

Protected by five-metre-thick walls and ringed by military guards, it signals the seriousness of America's intentions to retain a large and long-term presence.

The $A790 million building's existence is meant to be a secret. But it is impossible to hide a complex that will be the size of Vatican City and have the population of a small town, especially when it is lit up at night to enable work to go on 24 hours a day. It takes nearly five minutes to drive along just one side of its 42 hectares, which will contain 21 buildings.

While Baghdad has erratic clean water supplies and intermittent electricity, the embassy will have its own water treatment plant and a generator.

The only details of what the completed complex will look like can be found in a recent US Senate Foreign Relations Committee report. The report also explains why such a luxurious site is needed: the State Department is finding it more and more difficult to persuade its employees to come to Iraq with its constant threat of violence.

There will be six blocks, with 619 one-bedroom flats, a recreation building, a beauty salon, gym, swimming pool and a school. A lavish "American Club" will provide a venue to relax and a site to host receptions.

An Iraqi newspaper questioned last month why the US had been given the embassy land for free.