(Above 2013 Trump twitter posted by Free Republic commenter)
3/20/2013, "The US Embassy in Baghdad cost a staggering $750 million," Business Insider, Walter Hickey
Above, 6 lane swimming pool
Above, Regulation basketball court.
Above, dining hall with fresh fruit.
"Ten years ago this week (2013), Americans woke up to learn that the United States had invaded Iraq.
They had been told it would cost $50 billion and that it would end soon.
Forty-two days later the President declared Mission Accomplished, and that the U.S. would be greeted as liberators.
That all didn't work out as planned. What did work out was a luxurious compound in the heart of Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris where the thousands of Americans who would remain behind could work, shop, eat, and relax in a palatial, $750 million embassy."... All images by Reuters via Business Insider
Added: US taxpayers are forced to pay $1.2 billion each year just on maintenance for the US Embassy in Iraq.
2007 Vanity Fair article: US Embassy construction and nation building racket begun in 1950s heralded era of conspicuous US interventionism. (Today, US Embassies serve as places for terrorists to attack):
10/29/2007, "The Mega-Bunker of Baghdad," Vanity Fair, William Langewiesche
"When the new American Embassy in Baghdad entered the planning stage, more than three years ago (2004), U.S. officials inside the Green Zone were still insisting that great progress was being made in the construction of a new Iraq. I remember a surreal press conference in which a U.S. spokesman named Dan Senor, full of governmental conceits, described the marvelous developments he personally had observed during a recent sortie (under heavy escort) into the city. His idea now was to set the press straight on realities outside the Green Zone gates. Senor was well groomed and precocious, fresh into the world, and he had acquired a taste for appearing on TV. The assembled reporters were by contrast a disheveled and unwashed lot, but they included serious people of deep experience, many of whom lived fully exposed to Iraq, and knew that society there was unraveling fast. Some realized already that the war had been lost, though such were the attitudes of the citizenry back home that they could not yet even imply this in print.
Now they listened to Senor as they increasingly did, setting aside their professional skepticism for attitudes closer to fascination and wonder. Senor's view of Baghdad was so disconnected from the streets that, at least in front of this audience, it would have made for impossibly poor propaganda. Rather, he seemed truly convinced of what he said, which in turn could be explained only as the product of extreme isolation.
Progress in the construction of a new Iraq?
Industry had stalled, electricity and water were failing, sewage was flooding the streets, the universities were shuttered, the insurgency was expanding, sectarianism was on the rise, and gunfire and explosions now marked the days as well as the nights.
Month by month, Baghdad was crumbling back into the earth. Senor apparently had taken heart that shops remained open, selling vegetables, fruits, and household goods. Had he ventured out at night he would have seen that some sidewalk cafés remained crowded as well. But almost the only construction evident in the city was of the Green Zone defenses themselves—erected in a quest for safety at the cost of official interactions with Iraq. Senor went home, married a Washington insider, and became a commentator on Fox News. Eventually he set himself up in the business of "crisis communications," as if even he finally realized that Iraq had gone horribly wrong....
The compound...is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world, a walled expanse the size of Vatican City, containing 21 reinforced buildings on a 104-acre site along the Tigris River, enclosed within an extension of the Green Zone which stretches toward the airport road. The new embassy cost $600 million to build, and is expected to cost another $1.2 billion a year to run—a high price even by the profligate standards of the war in Iraq. The design is the work of an architectural firm in Kansas City named Berger Devine Yaeger, which angered the State Department last May by posting its plans and drawings on the Internet, and then responding to criticism with the suggestion that Google Earth offers better views. Google Earth offers precise distance measurements and geographic coordinates too....
The prime contractor is First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting, which for security reasons was not allowed to employ Iraqi laborers, and instead imported more than a thousand workers from such countries as Bangladesh and Nepal. The importation of Third World laborers is a standard practice in Iraq, where the huge problem of local unemployment is trumped by American fears of the local population, and where it is not unusual, for instance, to find U.S. troops being served in chow halls by Sri Lankans wearing white shirts and bow ties. First Kuwaiti has been accused of holding its workers in captivity by keeping their passports in a safe, as if otherwise they could have blithely exited the Green Zone, caught a ride to the airport, passed through the successive airport checkpoints, overcome the urgent crowds at the airline counters, purchased a ticket, bribed the police to ignore the country's myriad exit requirements (including a recent H.I.V. test), and hopped a flight for Dubai. Whatever the specific allegations, which First Kuwaiti denies, in the larger context of Iraq the accusation is absurd. It is Iraq that holds people captive.
Indeed, the U.S government itself is a prisoner, and all the more tightly held because it engineered the prison where it resides. The Green Zone was built by the inmates themselves. The new embassy results from their desire to get their confinement just right...
For the most part, however, the new embassy is not about leaving Iraq, but about staying on—for whatever reason, under whatever circumstances, at whatever cost. As a result the compound is largely self-sustaining, and contains its own power generators, water wells, drinking-water treatment plant, sewage plant, fire station, irrigation system, Internet uplink, secure intranet, telephone center (Virginia area code), cell-phone network (New York area code), mail service, fuel depot, food and supply warehouses, vehicle-repair garage, and workshops. At the core stands the embassy itself, a massive exercise in the New American Bunker style, with recessed slits for windows, a filtered and pressurized air-conditioning system against chemical or biological attack, and sufficient office space for hundreds of staff.
Both the ambassador and deputy ambassador have been awarded fortified residences grand enough to allow for elegant diplomatic receptions even with the possibility of mortar rounds dropping in from above.
As for the rest of the embassy staff, most of the government employees are moving into 619 blast-resistant apartments, where they will enjoy a new level of privacy....Elements of America in the heart of Baghdad that seem to have been imported from Orange County or the Virginia suburbs. The new embassy has tennis courts, a landscaped swimming pool, a pool house, and a bomb-resistant recreation center with a well-equipped gym. It has a department store with bargain prices, where residents (with appropriate credentials) can spend some of their supplemental hazardous-duty and hardship pay. It has a community center, a beauty salon, a movie theater, and an American Club, where alcohol is served. And it has a food court where third-country workers (themselves ultra-thin) dish up a wealth of choices to please every palate. The food is free. Take-out snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables, sushi rolls, and low-calorie specials. Sandwiches, salads, and hamburgers. American comfort food, and theme cuisines from around the world, though rarely if ever from the Middle East. Ice cream and apple pie. All of it is delivered by armed convoys up the deadly roads from Kuwait. Dread ripples through the embassy's population when, for instance, the yogurt supply runs low....
Guatemala City in 1968, Khartoum in 1973, Nicosia in 1974, Beirut in 1976, and Kabul in 1979.
At least the swimming pool has been placed off limits. Embassy staff are required to wear flak jackets and helmets when walking between buildings, or when occupying those that have not been fortified. On the rare occasion when they want to venture a short distance across the Green Zone to talk to Iraqi officials, they generally have to travel in armored S.U.V.'s, often protected by private security details. The ambassador, Ryan Crocker, is distributing a range of new protective gear, and is scattering the landscape with 151 concrete "duck and cover" shelters. Not to be outdone, a Senate report has recommended the installation of a teleconferencing system to "improve interaction" with Iraqis who may be in buildings only a few hundred yards away. So, O.K., the new embassy is not perfect yet, but by State Department standards it's getting there.
What on earth is going on? We have built a fortified America in the middle of a hostile city, peopled it with a thousand officials from every agency of government, and provided them with a budget to hire thousands of contractors to take up the slack. Half of this collective is involved in self-defense. The other half is so isolated from Iraq that, when it is not dispensing funds into the Iraqi ether, it is engaged in nothing more productive than sustaining itself.
The isolation is necessary for safety, but again, the process paradox is at play—and not just in Iraq. Faced with the failure of an obsolete idea—the necessity of traditional embassies and all the elaboration they entail—we have not stood back to remember their purpose, but have plunged ahead with closely focused concentration to build them bigger and stronger. One day soon they may reach a state of perfection: impregnable and pointless."...