Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The United States Embassy in Baghdad

Our $600,000,000 Iraq War Memorial?

One year ago last week, I published this image:
Now it looks like this:

It's on budget at $592,000,000.

According to the architects, Berger Devine Yaeger, Inc.,
. . .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. In total, the 104 acre compound will include over twenty buildings including one classified secure structure and housing for over 380 families.

Of course, with a 30% increase in staffing size since Congress approved the project two years ago, it is now estimated that being "represented" in Baghdad will cost a staggering $1.2 billion per year to run. 1,000 officials assigned to it and a supporting staff (from food service workers to Marine guards and private security contractors) of several thousand more.


Is this the Iraq-Nam War Memorial Americans would choose if they knew about it?

23 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Urbanpink said...

Wow. GREAT post. I'm speechless.

5/30/2007 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

`Americans` do not care as long as their own personal meal ticket comes through.
The people that got the contracts for all this do care.
They are happy, joyous even. They are chuckling to themselves.
Because... now they are 'rich'.

-Bush has a plan. It looks like Korea to him. He wants us to stay there. That sound like a 'good' plan to anyone, besides people that make huge fortunes on this scam ?
Americans have accepted his plan, without letting out a collective gasp, or storming the White House, because... 'Americans do not care'.
Maybe that has something to do with America being one of the most hated and loathed and feared countries in the world.
Bush refers to himself as the leader of the 'free' world.
WHATS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE ?
Chaos approaches.

5/30/2007 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Nicht, Vigilante. Poor taste. There should be one memorial to all service people, whether they served in Afghanistan or Iraq. (They didn't have a choice where they were assigned.)

But this installation should be turned over, as is, as a down payment of our reparations to the Iraqi people. Give the keys to Moqtada al-Sadr.

5/30/2007 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Tony Snow says that Iraq will become like North and South Korea? Does anyone believe this?

5/31/2007 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Boris said...

Bush is taking victory off the table?

5/31/2007 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

The North & South Korean model for Iraq is Ludicrous!

In the free-4-all, who's or what's the North (enemy) and who's the South (friendlies)? The way things are trending, it looks like Bush-Cheney are delusional enough to see the Iranian-friendly Shi'ia as the North Koreans, and the Gulf of Hormuz as the Yalu River and the Persians as Red China. But then that would make al Qaeda's buddy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Bush's Sigman Rhee? You think we have our hands full now, watching our backs?

What's the next def con level beyond "Ludicrous"?

5/31/2007 07:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Trig said...

Call the future embassy, the West Bank. Call future Baghdad, Baghdead. Call the future Iraq, Gaza. Call the future Coalition troops, the Foreign Legion. Call the future USA, DONE.

WTF?

5/31/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger E said...

How can it possibly be worth that?! What happened to the Three L's of real estate: location, location, location?!

On a serious note, that is an embarrassment.

5/31/2007 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Yes, E. I'm gratified that this Pentagon-on-the-Tigris is being widely blogged and Diaried (on DKos) today. It will not be a good monument to salute the sacrifice of American servicemen and women. But perhaps it serves better as an emblem of the mortgage Bush has taken out on on America's Future.

Georgie Anne Geyer says in the Dallas Morning News:

...by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."


Is that okay with you, my fellow Americans? Is that what you want?

5/31/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

From the inception of the Iraq-U.S. Embassy, I had one thought: "We're never pulling out of there." Well, at least we know where all those billions of dollars went: certainly not to veterans' health care.

"Pentagon-on-the-Tigris" fits perfectly, vigilante. Nice base for the planned Iran invasion. Skip already said everything I think.

5/31/2007 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Very upsetting. A fitting symbol of America's current bunker mentality. Us against the world.

Diplomacy behind a barbed wire fence.

6/01/2007 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger M.D. said...

The more I think about this, the more furious I get. Where is this money coming from? Did the Dems approve the funding for this project?

6/01/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

The more I look at this structure, the more I want to rant and rave. M.D., just look at the billions of unaccounted dollars given to military contractors. What's in there, anyway? Here's what comprises 21-building:
***
THE SITE HAS 21 STRUCTURES
U.S. diplomatic employees in Iraq are to move next year to a multimillion-dollar complex that will be among the largest U.S. embassies. The facility is slated for completion June 2007.

• New office building: Includes classified activities
• New office annex: For public diplomacy staff, consular affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development
• Interim office building: Designed for future use as a school
• General services annex: Facilities management, break areas, staff locker rooms
• Recreation building: Gym, exercise room, swimming pool, locker rooms, the American Club, commissary, food court, barber and beauty shop
• Six staff apartment buildings: Each has one bedroom apartments
• Residences for the chief and deputy chief of mission
• Marine security guard quarters
• Remaining buildings are dedicated to security, vehicle maintenance and facilities management, storage, utilities, and water and wastewater treatment

It's almost impossible to locate the contractors. According to the State Department, preliminary funding estimates for construction of the new embassy compound in Iraq at $1.2 billion, not including refurbishing and securing interim buildings. To date, Congress... authorized $20 million for activities related to building a new embassy in Baghdad. And out government can't take even 1% of that money and help the Katrina victims. I'm not even counting the costs of building new Iraqi roads.

The contractors include Blackwater and ESS, your friendly Halliburton subsidiariet. This year, Contractor Deaths in Iraq soar to Record Numbers.

And, no, M.D., I know of one Democrat who vehemently disapproves of what's going on: and he's doing something about it.

6/01/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Based upon the words of State Department spokesman Tom Casey:

"Obviously, the fact that some of this material has been out in the public domain is something our security folks will have to take into consideration as they move forward with construction and occupancy of the facility. But it hasn't in any fundamental way altered our plans."(Guardian)

I'd say the State Dept wasn't happy that the plans and schema of "Pentagon-on-the-Tigris" was published on the Internet. What do people think?

6/01/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

With a permanent American presence in Iraq (which is looking more and more likely), we are guaranteeing a future for terrorism for decades to come.

What is to be the initialism of the permanent occupation of Iraq, vigilante?

6/02/2007 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Trig said...

Now I understand why Rep. Jack Murtha was so adamant about pulling out of Iraq: There is very little pork in Iraq. This here embassy is all we got left.

6/02/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Don't you understand, MD? This permanent Pentagon in Mesopotamia is payback to the Arab World for 9-11?

Mark Danner explained it in his commencement address given to graduates of the Department of Rhetoric at Zellerbach Hall, University of California, Berkeley, on May 10, 2007:

Henry Kissinger, a confidant of the President, when asked by Bush's speechwriter why he had supported the Iraq War, responded: "Because Afghanistan was not enough." The radical Islamists, he said, want to humiliate us. "And we need to humiliate them."

In other words, the presiding image of The War on Terror -- the burning towers collapsing on the television screen -- had to be supplanted by another, the image of American tanks rumbling proudly through a vanquished Arab capital.

It is no accident that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, at the first "war cabinet" meeting at Camp David the Saturday after the 9/11 attacks, fretted over the "lack of targets" in Afghanistan and wondered whether we "shouldn't do Iraq first." He wanted to see those advancing tanks marching across our television screens, and soon.


This Embassy replaces the Twin Towers.

6/02/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

For the record, here's some back-up to my earlier dissing Bush's resorting to the Korean analogy which Cooper raised:

Fred Kaplan does a good job refuting Bush's allusions to Korea, Post-World War II Occupation of Germany, American suppression of the Philipineshe Allied occupation of Germany after World War II. Go here, here, and here.

6/02/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

The concluding and "Money" paragraph from yet a fourth Kaplan article on the same theme:

"To President Bush, history is not a complex record of the past, to be studied intensively for lessons. It's a grab bag of myths and half-truths, to be dredged for political effect—a device that provides rhetorical cover, and allows evasion of responsibility, in the face of gross and obvious failure."

6/02/2007 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

This Embassy replaces the Twin Towers.

You are so right, Emily!

And that is a great quote, Vigilante.

6/02/2007 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

I think Emily makes an excellent point. Very astute observation.

6/05/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger LTE said...

Emily, Kissinger attempts to put one over on the American people. As has become an unfortunate norm — among not only politicians but also the supposed political analysts — he assumes as premises several conclusions that he makes: that a foreign occupier's puppet government is preferable to one that is openly hostile to that occupier; and that a war entered (or fought) unjustly can nevertheless be brought to a just conclusion.

Those premises pose important questions that form the center of what should be a vital debate about how the U.S. positions itself in the world. Those are questions that seem to be increasingly ignored or suppressed. I suppose the aversion is natural. Those who take power by force rarely wish to confront their own methods.

Kissinger's failed peace brought thousands of American and Vietnamese deaths; more bombs dropped than expended by the U.S. against Japan in World War II and secret and unconstitutional bombings of Cambodia. And, by inciting warfare in Cambodia, these policies set the stage for a brutal genocide of more than 1 million civilians. Here are my nominees for history lessons to apply to Iraq: First, unprovoked military interventions will usually fail or lead to blowback; and, second, U.S. leaders who pursue unprovoked military interventions should never be given pardons (such as Nixon) or statesmanship status (as Kissinger desires) but forced, following swift application of due process, to walk the plank.

6/08/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

From Mike's Blog:

South Korea wants us to stay - Iraqi's want us to leave!

6/09/2007 10:29:00 PM  

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