Bush's Bagdad Palace

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Main Question or Discussion Point

The new U.S. Embassy being built in Bagdad will be the worlds largest. The embassy to be completed in 2007 has 15 foot thick walls.
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060703/howl [Broken]

The size and massive structure of the embassy is a clear indication that a peaceful democracy is not expected in Iraq in the forseeable future, If ever.

I seriously doubt that prior to the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration was ignorant enough to believe that an easily established democracy was going to pop out of Rumsfelds hat. Iraq was either a terrible mistake or a calculated lie. Yet Bush admits to neither.

5,500 employees at the embassy
The 5,500 Americans and Iraqis working at the embassy, almost half listed as security, are far more numerous than at any other U.S. mission worldwide. They rarely venture out into the “Red Zone,” that is, violence-torn Iraq.
This huge American contingent at the center of power has drawn criticism.

“The presence of a massive U.S. embassy — by far the largest in the world — co-located in the Green Zone with the Iraqi government is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country,” the International Crisis Group, a European-based research group, said in one of its periodic reports on Iraq.
Estimated cost of over $1 billion
Original cost estimates ranged over $1 billion, but Congress appropriated only $592 million in the emergency Iraq budget adopted last year. Most has gone to a Kuwait builder, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, with the rest awarded to six contractors working on the project’s “classified” portion — the actual embassy offices.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12319798/
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
russ_watters
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The rhetoric in that "article" is so thick it would make Michael Moore blush, and it seems like your only reason for posting it is to highlight the rhetoric:
edward said:
The new U.S. Embassy being built in Bagdad will be the worlds largest. The embassy to be completed in 2007 has 15 foot thick walls.
Ok.... so what? Given the circumstances, doesn't that seem reasonable?
The size and massive structure of the embassy is a clear indication that a peaceful democracy is not expected in Iraq in the forseeable future, If ever.
Perhaps. So what? Bush didn't plan ahead enough before, so it is nice to see he's going worst-case with the construction of the embassy, isn't it?
I seriously doubt that prior to the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration was ignorant enough to believe that an easily established democracy was going to pop out of Rumsfelds hat. Iraq was either a terrible mistake or a calculated lie. Yet Bush admits to neither.
So..... your point here is just rhetoric slinging?

BTW, it is interesting to see that "magazine" promotes its ideas to schools. That'll be interesting to note in the ABC 9/11 thread...
 
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  • #3
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Ok.... so what? Given the circumstances, doesn't that seem reasonable?
LOL errm, no it doesnt sound reasonable. The place is war torn and Bush is building the world largest embassy, at a cost of > $1Billion. How much money was given to the New Orleans?
Better yet, what will the poor Iraqi's think. Will this make them go, wow look at what the USA is capable of, or will they have an even more sour taste in their mouths. Personally I think the latter.

Bush didn't plan ahead enough before, so it is nice to see he's going worst-case with the construction of the embassy, isn't it?
Hope you like the fact you are paying for it :)

Nice find, edward
 
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  • #4
russ_watters
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Anttech said:
LOL errm, no it doesnt sound reasonable. The place is war torn and Bush is building the world largest embassy, at a cost of > $1Billion. How much money was given to the New Orleans?
So far, $110.6 billion in federal funds went to Katrina relief (not just New Orleans). http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/katrina.htm

Why is $592 million (not $1 billion - and not your fault: the MSN subheader is intentionally misleading about that) unreasonable for this embassy? Make an argument.
Better yet, what will the poor Iraqi's think. Will this make them go, wow look at what the USA is capable of, or will they have an even more sour taste in their mouths. Personally I think the latter.
What does that have to do with anything? The US is going to have an embassy in Iraq and it is going to have to be heavily fortified and self-sufficient. Can you make an argument for why you think it is unreasonable to do that?
Hope you like the fact you are paying for it :)
Yes, I'm fine with the fact that I'm paying for it.

Make an argument. Rhetorical questions (even if you put a period a the end instead of a question mark :rolleyes: ) are not an argument.
 
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  • #5
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The only rhetoric here is in someones imagination. The fact that we are building the worlds largest and most expensive embassy in the most war torn city on the planet is not rhetoric. It is plain hard fact.

So is this:

Work for what is planned to be the largest, most fortified US embassy in the world was quietly awarded last summer to a controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-torn Iraq against their will.

More than a few U.S. contractors competing for the $592-million Baghdad project express bewilderment over why the U.S. State Department gave the work to First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting (FKTC). They claim that some competing contractors possessed far stronger experience in such work and that at least one award-winning company offered to perform all but the most classified work for $60 million to $70 million less than FKTC.

“It's stunning what First Kuwaiti has been able to get from the State Department,” one contractor said.

Several other contractors that competed for the embassy contracts shared similar reactions and believe that a high-level decision at the State Department was made to favor a Kuwait-based firm in appreciation for Kuwait's support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

“It was political,” said one contractor.
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13258
 
  • #6
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In one word Russ:

Perception

(I am surprised I had to spell that out for you, but ohh well)

Building the largest embassy ever contrived in Iraq is not good for the perception that the US wants to leave Iraq, and leave the Iraqi's to mind their own business. Nor will it win the hearts and minds of the Natives.

Really why cant they be a little bit more subtle.
 
  • #7
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So far, $110.6 billion in federal funds went to Katrina relief (not just New Orleans). http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/katrina.htm

Why is $592 million (not $1 billion - and not your fault: the MSN subheader is intentionally misleading about that) unreasonable for this embassy? Make an argument.
Point taken. It still doesnt take away from *****---->MY ARGUMENT<-----***** that it is still giving of a very Bad perception, especially since the US is still there in the thick of it. "Shock and awe" in the construction of an embassy is frankly rather stupid!
 
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  • #8
russ_watters
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So... you see my point that your argument (limited as it was) is just rhetorical nonsense, so you are now arguing perception? How about basing your opinions on reality instead? [edit: I hope you see the irony there: you are arguing about other people's perceptions based on your own admittedly flawed perceptions] How about thinking your opinions through before latching onto whatever you think makes the US/Bush look as bad as possible?

I'll be nice (for now) and not go through the calculations to compare the economic sense of the numbers you alluded to but never bothered to think about. There is nothing more rediculous about a perception than grabbing ahold of a big, meaningless number and forming a strong, meaningless opinion about it.

You're a human. Don't just operate on stimulus-response. Think! Start with thinking this through and then explaining it:
... it is still giving of a very Bad perception, especially since the US is still there in the thick of it. "Shock and awe" in the construction of an embassy is frankly rather stupid!
Why is it stupid and what would you have done instead? Do you acknowledge that you have, in the past, criticized the Bush amin for not taking strong enough steps to deal with the aftermath of the war? Do you acknowledge the need for an embassy that is well-protected and self-sufficient? Are you saying that avoiding the perception of opulence is more important than protecting the lives of embassy personnel?

Next (but perhaps more basic):
Building the largest embassy ever contrived in Iraq is not good for the perception that the US wants to leave Iraq, and leave the Iraqi's to mind their own business.
Since when is the US trying to convice people we are going to leave Iraq entirely and why should we (both convince them and leave)? Embassies are, by definition, permanent diplomatic missions.
 
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  • #9
russ_watters
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edward said:
The only rhetoric here is in someones imagination. The fact that we are building the worlds largest and most expensive embassy in the most war torn city on the planet is not rhetoric. It is plain hard fact.
On that we agree. But it is the implications of those facts where the problems lie. It is imagination that makes people see a big dollar figure and spout 'Big, bad!' without actually thinking about what those facts mean. That is the rhetorical nonsense of the article and the thread.

Now do you have arguments to follow your claims (requested in my previous post) or not? Specifically:
The size and massive structure of the embassy is a clear indication that a peaceful democracy is not expected in Iraq in the forseeable future, If ever.
So what? In the very next sentence you criticize Bush for not planning ahead. The closest thing you gave to an argument is a direct contradiction of your point!
 
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  • #10
russ_watters
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Fate threw some cruel irony at this thread today too. I'm sure you guys heard about the attack on our embassy in Syria....?

The logic here is breathtakingly simple:

Baghdad is, today, the epicenter of global terrorism. The embassy therefore, reasonably and correctly, needs to be the best protected and most self-sufficient embassy in the world.
 
  • #11
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russ_watters said:
Fate threw some cruel irony at this thread today too. I'm sure you guys heard about the attack on our embassy in Syria....?

The logic here is breathtakingly simple:

Baghdad is, today, the epicenter of global terrorism. The embassy therefore, reasonably and correctly, needs to be the best protected and most self-sufficient embassy in the world.
It is, but we turned it into the epicenter. Our rush to war is the reason why we need 15 foot walls now. Not a good situation we have put ourselves in. That embassy will be an Icon to our failed war.

Do you realize how massive 15 foot thickwalls are?

Thats ridiculous and absurd that it has gotten to that point.
 
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  • #12
Evo
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cyrusabdollahi said:
It is, but we turned it into the epicenter. Our rush to war is the reason why we need 15 foot walls now. Not a good situation we have put ourselves in. That embassy will be an Icon to our failed war.

Do you realize how massive 15 foot thickwalls are?

Thats ridiculous and absurd that it has gotten to that point.
It is sad. Yes, the design is prudent considering the attacks we expect. I guess, due to the size, that we plan to house all personnel there, a wise move. Too bad that we're in this position though. But like the old saying goes, "you've made your bed, now sleep in it". We have to sleep in Iraq for awhile, whether we like it or not.
 
  • #13
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Why is it stupid and what would you have done instead? Do you acknowledge that you have, in the past, criticized the Bush amin for not taking strong enough steps to deal with the aftermath of the war? Do you acknowledge the need for an embassy that is well-protected and self-sufficient? Are you saying that avoiding the perception of opulence is more important than protecting the lives of embassy personnel?
Low Key russ, its basically the reason *why* the US troops have no idea how to fight terrorists/insurgence, they simple have not been trained nor have the culture (and that is the reason why you dont understand my argument) to be humble, and win the hearts and minds. This solidifies this fact. Dont kid yourself, the Coalition is hated in Iraq by the majority, you should try and reverse that trend first before getting yourself into the Guinness book of records.

Since when is the US trying to convice people we are going to leave Iraq entirely and why should we (both convince them and leave)? Embassies are, by definition, permanent diplomatic missions.
Are you saying that the US's mission their has an imperial objective? You dont *force* your embassy on another country, you are *invited* to build it.

I'll be nice (for now) and not go through the calculations to compare the economic sense of the numbers you alluded to but never bothered to think about. There is nothing more rediculous about a perception than grabbing ahold of a big, meaningless number and forming a strong, meaningless opinion about it.
:rofl: :rofl: You be nice??? (joking) Anyway why not go through the numbers, it would be interesting to see them. Perhaps we could go through how the war in Iraq has been rather healthy for some peoples pockets. Or lets not, because we have already been down the road before.
 
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  • #14
J77
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Aren't US embassies always heavily armoured?

The one in Amsterdam looks like it's shut most of the time - they have to keep the heavy shutters down, apparently. Plus it's the only one with a **** off metal, spiked fence around it :biggrin:

They should really try for the more loving type of diplomacy :biggrin:
 
  • #15
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J77 said:
Aren't US embassies always heavily armoured?

The one in Amsterdam looks like it's shut most of the time - they have to keep the heavy shutters down, apparently. Plus it's the only one with a **** off metal, spiked fence around it :biggrin:

They should really try for the more loving type of diplomacy :biggrin:
I remember when the Gulf war started, they had massive tanks sitting outside it, with a huge no go zone round it, right opposite the park, right?
 
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  • #16
devil-fire
anyone know if there is a landing strip or dock planed aswell? between the walls and the half-of-5500 staff as security, it sounds kind of like a miniature, well protected colony of America they are fixing to set up in the middle of the ME.
 
  • #17
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devil-fire said:
anyone know if there is a landing strip or dock planed aswell? between the walls and the half-of-5500 staff as security, it sounds kind of like a miniature, well protected colony of America they are fixing to set up in the middle of the ME.
There will apparently be one or more helicopter pads. There are no planes that could land on a runway that is limited to 104 acres. This leaves the treacherous road to the Baghdad airport as the main access route to the new Embassy.
 
  • #18
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russ_watters said:
Why is $592 million (not $1 billion - and not your fault: the MSN subheader is intentionally misleading about that).
The estimated cost of the embassy is $1 billion +, just because congress only appropriated $592 in a given spending bill does not mean that that is the total cost of a project that is only half finished.:rolleyes:
 
  • #19
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There are no planes that could land on a runway that is limited to 104 acres. This leaves the treacherous road to the Baghdad airport as the main access route to the new Embassy.
harrier jump jet can land on 104acres (actually a lot less)
 
  • #20
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Anttech said:
harrier jump jet can land on 104acres (actually a lot less)
They only carry one person.:smile: I was thinking about moving larger numbers of people to and from the embassy and the airport.

Edit: There is the crash prone V22 Osprey, if they can convince anyone to ride in it.
 
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  • #21
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russ_watters said:
In the very next sentence you criticize Bush for not planning ahead. The closest thing you gave to an argument is a direct contradiction of your point!
Just because Bush the administration gives the appearence of planning ahead by Building the worlds largest and most costly embassy in Iraq, does not mean that the plan (if there really is one) will work.

It is just going to be one big freaking expensive group of buildings that will be surrounded by people who hate us.:rolleyes: Sure the people in the embassy should be safe, but the mere existance of the building will not change anything. Only boots on the ground can do that.
 
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  • #22
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russ_watters said:
Fate threw some cruel irony at this thread today too. I'm sure you guys heard about the attack on our embassy in Syria....?

The logic here is breathtakingly simplle:

Baghdad is, today, the epicenter of global terrorism. The embassy therefore, reasonably and correctly, needs to be the best protected and most self-sufficient embassy in the world.
Whether or not Baghdad is the epicenter of global terrorism is questionable. Several weeks ago it was in Iran. Several years ago it was in Afghanistan. So do we build a fortress like embassy at each new epicenter and just hang around until the oil is gone?
 
  • #23
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edward said:
They only carry one person.:smile: I was thinking about moving larger numbers of people to and from the embassy and the airport.

Edit: There is the crash prone V22 Osprey, if they can convince anyone to ride in it.
Fair enough :smile:
 
  • #24
J77
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Anttech said:
I remember when the Gulf war started, they had massive tanks sitting outside it, with a huge no go zone round it, right opposite the park, right?
Yeah - the tourists must think that the Americans have upped and left - apparently, it's a hive of activity insdie tho'
 
  • #25
Hans de Vries
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J77 said:
Yeah - the tourists must think that the Americans have upped and left - apparently, it's a hive of activity insdie tho'
You're talking about the US General Consulate in Amsterdam next to the
van Gogh museum and Rijks museum. This is not the embassy and there
are only a handful of people working there, mainly to provide visa services.
I sure do feel for those people having to work under such bizarre conditions.

The US embassy itself is in The Hague next to the medieval government
buildings.


Regards, Hans
 

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