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Fellowship of the right-Wing!

Have you seen the SIZE of the US embassy in Iraq…

A $750-million building that I’m beginning to hear may need to be RAZED down if the Iraqi government falls?

U.S. Embassy in Iraq

Repeat: Do you see the size of this thing. According to Wiki: 4-million-700-thousand square feet (or about 81 football fields. Football field is 57-thousand-600 square feet). At 104-acres…it is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world – nearly as large as Vatican City, with:

  • Six apartment buildings for employees
  • Water and waste treatment facilities
  • A power station
  • Two “major diplomatic office buildings”
  • Recreation, including a gym, cinema, several tennis courts and Olympic-sized pool.

Embassy

Were we planning (OK, not ME per se – or YOU either, for that matter) but was America planning…better still was the US government planning as in (republican hawks planning) to move the Capitol to Iraq?

Now if or when ISIS arrives in Baghdad, do we:

  1. Burn everything and take off…
  2. Try to sell the building to whomever wins?
  3. Hold on and dig in – big enough to have our own airspace?
  4. Refurbish and turn it over to house all those Americans who lost their homes during the wall street crash?
  5. Just leave it as a monument to misaligned ideology?
  6. Anyone has a better idea?
capitol

U.S. Capitol…16 acres. Baghdad embassy: 104 acres!

I came across this:

June 5, 2014

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for the U.S. Government-sponsored Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. This program directly supports the goals of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen connections between the people of the United States and Iraq through academic exchange.

I suppose the leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may be looking to send some members to spend a year of non-degree graduate-level study, leadership development, and professional collaboration with U.S. counterparts. 

After all, the program’s goal is to provide future leaders and policy makers in Iraq with an understanding of U.S. society and culture, as well as professional experience that will provide a basis for lasting, productive ties between Iraqis and their professional colleagues in the United States.

Humphrey's Fellowship

I don’t think that bringing a few Iraqi officials to the U.S. will change the dynamic in Iraq – But what do I know…? Said fellow may return to Iraq thinking the ways of Western infidels are the way Iraq should go – that we are definitely NOT the Great Satan like Iran claims – that we should indeed continue to support Israel and well – there should be a McDonalds and a Wal-Mart (selling guns and alcohol) on every corner in Baghdad!

The Fellowship of the Right-Wing: Return of the WMD’s! Seems to me ISIS is a more clear and present WMD that any we’ve uncovered in Iraq so far!

How about some Fellowships for the thousands of 2014 high-school grads who are looking for similar opportunities at US colleges they CANNOT afford. Or student loan relief, eh, republicans…?

U.S Embassy, Iraq

Check this article I found…about the US embassy in Iraq:

The shiny new dining facility, or DFAC, at the embassy features gleaming refrigerators filled with a seemingly endless supply of Gatorade, cola, and even near beer. There are over half a dozen separate food stations, including one where fresh Caesar salads are assembled on the spot. The cafeteria is run by KBR, which hires third country nationals — mostly Indians and Sri Lankans dressed in formal attire — to serve the food.

Dining Room

Dining Room

The food is not only all-you-can-eat, it’s also all-you-can-take: Employees can prepare to-go meals and are allowed to take unlimited amounts of soda and drinks back to their rooms. “The carrot cake, you’ve got to try the carrot cake,” one of my lunch companions insisted. (There’s an entire station for baked desserts, featuring several different types of freshly baked cakes and cookies; there’s a separate station for ice cream, both regular and soft serve.)

What is interesting about the dining facility — and what makes it unlike other embassies in the world — is that, at least for the Americans, it’s a social equalizer. Everyone from construction workers to diplomats eat in the DFAC. The only incongruous element is seeing the occasional office worker with pressed khakis and crisp-blue shirt sporting a holstered weapon at their side.

embassy2

After lunch, I headed to the PX, passing by a large glass window with two dozen butts raised in the air: Yoga class. Next door was the American Club, where a glittery disco ball with lights was being tested out for a party. Outside one of the main buildings, barbeque grills were set up next to picnic tables. And inside, a Subway franchise was open, as was Green Beans Coffee.

Not that the embassy is really the lap of luxury.  With no landscaping, harsh fluorescent lighting and monotonous adobe-colored buildings: the complex looks like a prison, down to the guard tower at the gate. The only decoration in sight was a mock street sign placed near the entrance with names that read: “Pennsylvania” and “Hollywood.”

Embassy plaque

Some would like to see the U.S. Embassy as a symbol of empire, evidence that the U.S. government had plans to dominate in Iraq for many years to come. If only it were so well thought out. In fact, as I walked among the buildings, the only impression I was left with is short-sightedness. The compound has a tennis court, basketball court, and indoor swimming pool, but apparently, not enough housing for all the staff.

And ironically, just as the massive embassy was opening in January, the rest of the International Zone was emptying out. The two main restaurants serving expatriates — Freedom Restaurant, which serves Iraqi food, and its uncreatively named neighbor, Chinese Freedom Restaurant, which serves dishes like “Cube + Milk + Nugget” — were all but vacant. Even Foreign Service officers are questioning the size of the staff in Baghdad, noting that it’s taking away resources from other embassies.

Embassy facade

The real problem with the sprawling embassy is that the seemingly absurd parts are all purely logical: the elaborate dining facility is needed because there’s nowhere else to eat; the entertainment facilities are required because there’s nowhere else to go; and the overwrought security is needed because it’s still not safe for embassy staff to go anywhere. Those things all make sense.

What doesn’t make sense is what everyone is doing there and what they’re supposed to accomplish. Some 1,200 people live and work in this embassy. What exactly are they doing? U.S. embassies are supposed to represent U.S. interest abroad, or as the Foreign Service website puts it: “formulate, represent and implement foreign policy.”

These days, however, most of the employees don’t leave the embassy grounds, let alone the confines of the International Zone. So, it’s difficult to understand just what work they’re doing in Baghdad that couldn’t be done from Washington, D.C.

Embassy perimeter

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, with its endless supply of soft-serve treats and sugary drinks, has become the ultimate self-licking ice cream cone. Without a clear mission, it exists only to serve itself.

FROM: Empire on the Run: Welcome to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by Sharon Weinberger.

Here’s to: “1001 Ways to Spend U.S Tax Dollars”.

 

All photos – from related articles, Google Images or other online sources including REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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