Our Xanadu In Baghdad

Ken AshfordIraq1 Comment

The $600 million new U.S. “embassy” in Baghdad certainly looks nice:



Yup, that’s a pool, surrounded by palm trees.  And those are tennis courts in the background.

It’s going to be the largest embassy on the planet, covering over 104 acres — very swiggity-sweet:

This self-contained compound will include the embassy itself, residences for the ambassador and staff, PX, commissary, cinema, retail and shopping, restaurants, schools, fire station and supporting facilities such as power generation, water purification system, telecommunications, and waste water treatment facilities.

But trouble looms on the horizon:

Admittedly, it may be hard to take that refreshing dip or catch a few sets of tennis in Baghdad’s heat if the present order for all U.S. personnel in the Green Zone to wear flak jackets and helmets at all times remains in effect — or if, as in the present palace/embassy, the pool (and ping-pong tables) are declared, thanks to increasing mortar and missile attacks, temporarily "off limits." In that case, more time will probably be spent in the massive, largely windowless-looking Recreation Center, one of over 20 blast-resistant buildings BDY has planned. Perhaps this will house the promised embassy cinema. (Pirates of the Middle East, anyone?) Perhaps hours will be wiled away in the no less massive-looking, low-slung Post Exchange/Community Center, or in the promised commissary, the "retail and shopping areas," the restaurants, or even, so the BDY website assures us, the "schools" (though it’s a difficult to imagine the State Department allowing children at this particular post).

Ah, the spoils of war….

UPDATE:  Think Progress has more, and throws in a little photo-juxtaposin’….


FYI:  May, which isn’t over yet, has become the deadliest month of 2007 (so far) for U.S. troops in Iraq.  Ten soldiers died ironic deaths on Memorial Day.