The $592 million American embassy in Bagdad

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The $592 million American embassy in Bagdad

After reading the astounding numbers around the construction of the new American embassy in Bagdad, do people REALLY think America is just going to walk out in a few years? Even with a change of party?

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.

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.

Much more on site ...
By netchicken: posted on 12-2-2007

Netty Netty Netty, you have so much to learn about the U.S. government, don't you?

Here, let me help you out. :)

Ft. McClellan, Alabama, used to be the place where you'd find Military Police training and Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Warfare training. It isn't, anymore, as the post was closed several years ago. Before our dimwitted dolts closed the post down, and I mean RIGHT before they did it, they sunk hundreds of millions of dollars in renovation, building new know, the kind of stuff one would expect them to do if they planned on staying there for another 50 years.

Don't look at the spending habits of the world's largest, most cumbersome and what has to be one of the most efficient governments and try to come to some sort of conclusion.

Well, I suppose there is one conclusion one can reach by watching my idiotic government spend money - Ron White was right when he sai, "You can't fix Stupid!"
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 13-2-2007

Great answer TC :)

However they are bulding on a scale that would suggest a permanant long term stay, regardless of who is in power.

Surely if they all uped sticks and pulled out in 3 years time -owing to a democrat govt - then the expence of this is more than criminal, especially when soldiers complain about insufficient and inadequate materials.

Surely this would be mismanagement on such a masive scale to even stir the somulent money holders.
By netchicken: posted on 13-2-2007

Who knows maybe they would sell it to the Iraqi government or turn the whole compound into diplomatic quarters for with the rest of the nations if they were pulling out!
Half a billion is way too much to spend there.
By IAF: posted on 13-2-2007

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