Saturday, June 2, 2007

The US Embassy in Baghdad (in Pictures)

As I'm sure astute readers have already noticed, the drawings of the Green Zone's colossus were posted on the website of Berger Devine Yaeger, scrubbed from the site, but are still in circulation. They can be found here. The architecture of the embassy is indeed quite fitting for its role in maintaining the jewel in the US imperial crown (in other words, it's oversized and butt-ugly). A description from the BDY website:
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.
I'm sure that even the most spartan of accommodations at the compound will still appear luxurious to those folks who have called Baghdad their home and who have had to suffer with sub-standard to non-existent power generation, water purification, and so on.

At $592 million to construct and approximately $ 1.2 billion per year to operate, this monstrosity should make it abundantly clear to anyone (excepting of course the brainwashed and brain-dead American Exceptionalists among us) that the US is in Iraq for the long haul.

Now I realize that a spokesperson for BDY has expressed concern over the security for those who shall work and live in the embassy now that pix of it have been released, but I'll have to say that I'm with Arthur Silber:
Mr. Gallegos, if you want your employees to be "safe" and "secure," why don't you bring them home? And close down at least four-fifths of those roughly 1,000 bases the United States maintains in more than 130 countries around the world? I understand that this is a dangerously radical thought, but it isn't actually our role to RUN THE MIDDLE EAST OR THE ENTIRE WORLD.
Such a thought would never be entertained by "respectable" American political figures or pundits - partially because there's too much money and power to be had as long as the sun never sets on the US, but also (along the lines of Noam Chomsky) that these very same "respectable" pillars of the US political community are true believers in the American Exceptionalist myth. Yes, there is a certain amount of cynical corruption in the system, but we must also keep in mind that those running the Asylum in DC to a large extent probably believe their hype. If you're of similar persuasion, then you're probably convince that someone like Edwards or Obama is "anti-war." As IOZ notes, those two Dems (and much of the rest of the party for that matter) would fail an anti-war litmus test. To pass the test, an anti-war candidate would need to indicate in words and deeds a serious commitment to closing down a substantial number of these 700-1000 military bases currently in place. If for no other reason, as Dmitry Orlov has mentioned, there is the concern of what happens to those stationed overseas in those bases once the US economy sufficiently crumbles (such collapse is inevitable for empires if history is any guide, and as the world transitions to a post-oil economy the US collapse may be closer at hand than any of us can imagine).

Want to minimize the risk of war? It's really as simple as ceasing to try to run the world and learning to live within our means on our resources. Don't create enemies where none exist. Of course, something that sensible will never even register among the political class nor the punditocracy, who instead will be jabbering about an endless "war on terra" against something called "Islamofascists" (i.e., the replacement for what a previous generation called "the International Communist Conspiracy).

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