In the chaos of Iraq, one project is on target: a giant US embassy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by andrasnm, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. In the chaos of Iraq, one project is on target: a giant US embassy
    From Daniel McGrory in Baghdad

    THE question puzzles and enrages a city: how is it that the Americans cannot keep the electricity running in Baghdad for more than a couple of hours a day, yet still manage to build themselves the biggest embassy on Earth?
    Irritation grows as residents deprived of air-conditioning and running water three years after the US-led invasion watch the massive US Embassy they call “George W’s palace” rising from the banks of the Tigris.

    In the pavement cafés, people moan that the structure is bigger than anything Saddam Hussein built. They are not impressed by the architects’ claims that the diplomatic outpost will be visible from space and cover an area that is larger than the Vatican city and big enough to accommodate four Millennium Domes. They are more interested in knowing whether the US State Department paid for the prime real estate or simply took it.

    While families in the capital suffer electricity cuts, queue all day to fuel their cars and wait for water pipes to be connected, the US mission due to open in June next year will have its own power and water plants to cater for a population the size of a small town.

    Officially, the design of the compound is supposed to be a secret, but you cannot hide the giant construction cranes and the concrete contours of the 21 buildings that are taking shape. Looming over the skyline, the embassy has the distinction of being the only big US building project in Iraq that is on time and within budget.

    In a week when Washington revealed a startling list of missed deadlines and overspending on building projects, Congress was told that the bill for the embassy was $592 million (£312 million).

    The heavily guarded 42-hectare (104-acre) site — which will have a 15ft thick perimeter wall — has hundreds of workers swarming on scaffolding. Local residents are bitter that the Kuwaiti contractor has employed only foreign staff and is busing them in from a temporary camp nearby.

    After roughing it in Saddam’s abandoned palaces, diplomats should have every comfort in their new home. There will be impressive residences for the Ambassador and his deputy, six apartments for senior officials, and two huge office blocks for 8,000 staff to work in. There will be what is rumoured to be the biggest swimming pool in Iraq, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a cinema, restaurants offering delicacies from favourite US food chains, tennis courts and a swish American Club for evening functions.

    The security measures being installed are described as extraordinary. US officials are preparing for the day when the so-called green zone, the fortified and sealed-off compound where international diplomats and Iraq’s leaders live and work, is reopened to the rest of the city’s residents, and American diplomats can retreat to their own secure area.

    Iraqi politicians opposed to the US presence protest that the scale of the project suggests that America retains long-term ambitions here. The International Crisis Group, a think-tank, said the embassy’s size “is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country”.

    A State Department official said that the size reflected the “massive amount of work still facing the US and our commitment to see it through”.


    A US Inspector General’s report into reconstruction found that although $22 billion had been spent, water, sewage and electricity, infrastructure still operated at prewar levels

    Despite “significant progress” in recent months, less than half the water and electricity projects have been completed

    Only six of the 150 planned health centres have been completed

    US officials spent $70 million on medical equipment for health clinics that are unlikely ever to be built. More than 75 per cent of the funds for the 150 planned clinics have been allocated

    Task Force Shield, the $147 million programme to train Iraqi security units to protect key oil and electrical sites failed to meet its goals. A fraud investigation is under way

    Oil production was 2.18 million barrels per day in the last week of March. Before the war it was 2.6 million,,7374-2162249,00.html
  2. Why is it our responsibility to rebuild Iraq or get their electricity or water operating? They sound like welfare recipients in this country. Maybe if they would stop conducting sectarian killing sprees, they would have enough time to build something.

    As for the US Embassy, first I've heard of it. Sounds like a terrible idea. We may need a presence in Iraq, but I highly doubt the State Department will add anything to the mix.
  3. Pekelo


    Quote from AAAintheBeltway:

    Why is it our responsibility to rebuild Iraq or get their electricity or water operating?

    Ehem, because we are the one responsible destroying it directly or indirectly?

    As for the US Embassy, first I've heard of it.

    Gee, a shame. I guess Rush doesn't mention it very often.

    "You break own it"

    --Colin Powell to Bush the Younger--

  5. Wow. You are one delusional individual.
  6. A good question. The US administration has promised, funded (lots of money to pork and steal from for Haliburton). You are asking me as if I made the policy. Who has been running this country (to the ground) for the last 2 terms? Clinton?
  7. A giant US embassy in Iraq. I can see nearly all the Iraqis making a mad rush for political asylum if thugs take over their government. I guess that's why it's going to be giant size.
  8. I was asking rhetorically, not to you directly.

    For those who say we destroyed it, that's not true. Much of the infrastructure damage has been caused by insurgents. They are the ones blowing up power stations and making it impossible to rebuild. We went in there to prevent Saddam from building WMD. I say mission accomplished.
  9. Pekelo


    Quote from AAAintheBeltway:

    For those who say we destroyed it, that's not true.

    Did you know that the US actually ran out of targets before the ground invasion?

    We went in there to prevent Saddam from building WMD.

    Why we needed to PREVENT him when he already HAD it?

    Oh sorry, my bad... :)

    I say mission accomplished

    So let's get the fuck out of there!

    Oh sorry, there is still oil left, my bad again... :)

    Interesting guy on Kudlow tonight. Suggesting US might be open to a coup that would returns Saddamite sympathizers to power.

    Probably I didn't hear him right, or did I?
    #10     Oct 19, 2006