The compound, which will be completed by late fall, 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 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.
And for the record, for the trolls, this isn’t about not wanting diplomats working in Iraq to be protected. This is about the kind of tone deafness that says, eh, fuck the rest of the country, we’re gonna be fine, bunker down and let them eat cake already, and for God’s sakes let’s hope no one notices we’re setting up shop here forever.
This is about what people were told and what they’re getting, and the difference between Mr. Suck On This and the idea that we’re going to keep putting people in this shooting gallery ad infinitum, and the growing narrative that we just weren’t hardcore enough, we should have killed ’em all, forgetting that we say that in one breath and in another talk about how we can’t just abandon the poor Iraqis how can you be so cold. I’m rambling, but you get it, right, the difference between what we said we’d do and what we are doing?
I do think people think we’re going to get out at some point. They want it now, Congressional Democrats and Preznit Giv Me Turkee seem to think it’d be better at some indeterminate point in the future when nobody will even notice anymore, but the truth of the matter is, this is never going to end. It’s not going to end without somebody having to be the asshole, somebody having to be the guy who says, “Out and out now.” It’s not going to be dismantled in the dark while we’re all looking over at the fireworks, by someone who’s not going to have to take the heat for it. It’s not going to happen.