Embassy in the world opens in "Bling
The largest, and fanciest embassy in the world, has opened in Baghdad.
"Freedom" for Iraq means "free" for the U.S.
since no compensation has yet paid to the Iraqi people for the confiscation
of this historic building.
The Republican Presidential Palace - with it's marble columns,
gold plating, and swimming pools - has been home to U.S. commanders
since the capture of Baghdad.
This 2-square-mile was the hub of Saddam Hussein's government and
housed offices overlooking the Tigris River. Renovation to the Palace
in the late 1990s tripled the size of the complex.
This "bling, bling" palace is supplied by electricity,
clean water, and airconditioning 24x7 and is a relative oasis behind
the high concrete walls of the "Green Zone". The grounds
include pools, exercise facilities, gardens, and even a mock Baghdad
bazaar complete with tourist t-shirts (i.e. "I went all
the way to Iraq and al I got was this lousyt t-shirt")
for soldiers and other personnel
But, it's not all fun and games. Embassy personnel work long hours.
As they surf the web on their new HP computers with LCD screens,
they can hear the rumble of mortars and machines guns outside.
Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi are
expected to spend much time at the new Embassy meeting with Embassy
officials and getting directions from U.S. Ambassador John Dimitri
Negroponte and his staff.
At the recent swearing-in ceremony for Negroponte, Secretary of
State Colin Powell declared, ""By sending one of our most
accomplished, skilled and effective diplomats to Iraq, we're telling
the world that there's nothing we hope for more than an Iraq that
is at peace."
Ambassador Negroponte has a long career of service to the U.S.
In the early 1970s, Negroponte, at the Paris peace talks, shuttled
between the US and North Vietnamese delegations. From 1981-85, During
Negroponte's tenure in Honduras, U.S. military aid increased from
$5 to $100 million. This enabled the construction of Al Aguacate
air base an air base where the US-trained Nicaraguan Contras
and which was used as a secret detention and torture center.
As the Embassy personnel settle into their new digs. they will
need to counter the continuing perception that the U.S. invasion
of Iraq was not about money, strategic resources or geographic position
in the Middle East but rather that the war was about "freedom,
security, and prosperity of the Iraq people," in the words
of the new Ambassador.
posted 29 june 2004