Bush's Fortress in Baghdad
Bush didn't go to war because of WMDs. He didn't go to war to "liberate" the Iraqi people. Under Saddam Hussein, the women of Iraq had more rights than the women of Saudi Arabia, Bush's favorite ally. Nope, he went in to dominate the Persian Gulf, build permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, and privatize Iraqi oil. So while the media spends precious airtime debating whether to use the word "surge" or "escalate," the grand plan continues:
The embassy compound being built inside Baghdad’s Green Zone covers 104 acres, making it six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York. A city within a city for more than 1,000 people, it will have its own water, sewers and electricity, six apartment buildings, a Marine barracks, swimming pool, shops and some walls 15 feet thick.
The State Department has told the Financial Times that the US civilian presence in Iraq has “grown considerably beyond the numbers projected for the new embassy compound”, which is scheduled for completion by September 1 at a cost of $592m.
John Brown, who resigned as a US diplomat in protest against the 2003 invasion and now teaches public diplomacy, says the embassy “will be a symbol of the US occupation and the near-total separation of US embassy staff members from the society with which they are supposed to interact”.
“Indeed, the planned embassy reminds me of the huge, cavernous buildings that housed Soviet missions in eastern Europe during the cold war. They were hated by the local population for all they stood for: secrecy, arrogance and domination.”
Of the 1,000 or so US civilians staffing Baghdad at present – not including large numbers of private-sector bodyguards – there are about 200 career diplomats, plus some 70 in the provincial reconstruction teams that are set to expand.
Many other staffers are so-called “3161s” – recruited ad hoc and, according to the State Department, “fully qualified for their highly technical jobs”. Diplomats question this, saying many are incompetent and have been hired for their loyalty to the Republican effort.
Asked why the US was sending more diplomats into a war zone when such conditions elsewhere in the world would lead to closure or drawdown of embassies, the State Department said such comparisons were “inappropriate”, noting the embassy had suffered “minimal casualties”.