Monday, May 21, 2007

US embassy in Baghdad to cost $592m and is size of Vatican

When will this kind of insane spending come to an end? With the increasingly regular and effective attacks on the Green Zone, this beast will be a magnet for problems. There are just too many important items that could be addressed with $600m back home in the US to keep throwing money around like this in Iraq. If the government wants to invest overseas there are also plenty of better places to spend our money to build for the future.

Rising from the dust of the city's Green Zone it is destined, at $592m (£300m), to become the biggest and most expensive US embassy on earth when it opens in September.

It will cover 104 acres (42 hectares) of land, about the size of the Vatican. It will include 27 separate buildings and house about 615 people behind bomb-proof walls. Most of the embassy staff will live in simple, if not quite monastic, accommodation in one-bedroom apartments.

The US ambassador, however, will enjoy a little more elbow room in a high-security home on the compound reported to fill 16,000 square feet (1,500 sq metres). His deputy will have to make do with a more modest 9,500 sq ft.

They will have a pool, gym and communal living areas, and the embassy will have its own power and water supplies.

- Chris in Paris,

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