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On the Newsstand: Huge U.S. Embassy in Iraq

A recent Vanity Fair article about the new American Embassy in Iraq caught my attention. $600 million of U.S. tax money is being spent on building a fortified America in Baghdad. I couldn't believe I was unaware of such a massive and expensive project.

The article is truly fascinating so just


  • It is the world's largest, most expensive embassy, the size of Vatican City.
  • It will cost $1.2 billion a year to run.
  • Contractors, not allowed to employ Iraqi workers for security reasons, import workers from Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • It is self-sustaining, with its own power generators, water, telephone, fuel and sewage systems.
  • American life has been imported. It has tennis courts, a landscaped pool, a bomb resistant gym, department stores, a beauty salon, a night club, a movie theater, etc.
  • The cafeteria serves free food including American comfort food and low calorie options.
  • It is located in the Green Zone, surrounded by layers of check points and blast walls.

Reading this definitely conjured up a range of emotions—I couldn't decide whether to be angry, impressed, or embarrassed. What do you think?


Join The Conversation
MissLee82 MissLee82 9 years
divinelight...I applaud you for your efforts in working your way through college. It is extremly hard and your hard work will certainly pay off in life. I do agree with you on the fact the government SHOULD help the "middle class"...BUT, I don't think the money should be taken out of the budget for the war and essentials that help support the war. I just do not understand how others are unable to see the true threat that we face. I mean, it is clear to me! I think that just because we are not fighting the fight here on our homeland that many people can easily forget that it is going on. Our BRAVE men & women are over there making sure that each one of us are able to go to bed at night and not have to worry about another attack on our homeland. Without providing them with the proper funding, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to have that peace of mind. And sure, the embassy is they NEED to have tennis courts? probably not. Do they NEED to have low-cal expensive meals? probably not. But you know what? They are away from their family and their friends to do a service for our country. And I am happy to make sure that they have every comfort they need to help them while they are there.
divinelight divinelight 9 years
I am working two part-time jobs, my parents are helping me and my sister and I have loans in order to fund my college education. I apply for scholarships and fill out the FAFSA every semester/year and I am continuously told that my parents earn too much money for me to receive any form of financial aid. I received a few scholarships for my grades in high school, but not enough to be a substantial help, and because I'm now working two part-time jobs, my grades in college have suffered. It seems the only scholarships available out there are for minorities and those in poverty. Some of us are working our asses off to make ends meet and it would be nice if the government was willing to help us in "the middle class" instead of sending outrageous amounts of funding for projects like this. (And I'm not willing to join the military because that is not the path I want to follow in my life.)
MissLee82 MissLee82 9 years
I think it is an excellent idea to build an embassy in Iraq...we are ALWAYS going to have a presence there. And as for joining the military just to pay for college...yeah, that it certainly a good route to take. BUT, a lot of brave men & women who actually join the military because they LOVE their country, they are PROUD to be American and are WILLING to stand up and fight for what is right. Because really, without them, we may not even have the option to go to college, worry about social security, etc. Believe it or not, the war on terror is real...and if we don't stop it, they will take us over!
foxie foxie 9 years
It should be more affordable. That should be up to the colleges, not to my tax dollars. I say again, work through college, get a scholarship, or join the military and serve your COUNTRY, not the war.
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
why should i fight in wars that i dont believe in order to go to college? shouldnt college just be more affordable?
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
I love reading all the different perspectives! Let's make sure we stay respectful.
desertbanshee desertbanshee 9 years
Okay, back to the thread. I can see that the people who are there want and need a place to feel safe. Iraq is not going away anytime soon, but it is unfortunate the cost is so high.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
yea OK... this is suppose to be a positive form. Anger is not so sugary. You can think what you want.
foxie foxie 9 years
I didn't say MOST I said MANY. And you absolutely were suggesting such a thing. You're suggesting that the middle class shouldn't have to sink to the level of joining the military in order to pay for school. Joining the military is an excellent option to help pay for school. In the long run, it will put you ahead of people who went straight to college.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
I never said people in the military were not smart nor did I say that everyone who is in the military is poor. Funny that you should infer that. Your classmates don't represent everyone who needs financial aid and maybe if you have such a problem with their behavior you should tell them. You have no idea what their background is like. And actually "most" military people are not highly educated...not because they aren't smart or intellectual... those are just the statistics.
foxie foxie 9 years
Not everyone in the military is poor or in the "front lines" of war. How insulting. The military has some of the most brilliant people in the country serving, and many are highly educated also. I think that college is a huge party for most of my classmates who chose to go that route. I think had they actually worked to get there, they'd appreciate it more and actually learn something.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Thumbs way up on financial aid. It's an investment in education and the future of this country, if the government is going to invest in anything it should be education. Everyone thinks they're in the middle class but for those who really can't afford to help with college for their kids, Its got to be a terrible feeling to have to tell your child that even though they've worked hard there's just no money for school. The wealthy should not be the only people able to take advantage of a good education. The poor should not automatically be delegated to the front lines of fighting wars that seemingly the wealthy and powerful start. Graduating with high student loans is a reality for most of us and it truly limits the opportunities we can take post college because loans must be paid back. In the least the government should increase subsidized loans. Scholarships aren't always enough. I got through school only because I had a combination of parental support, grants, financial aid, scholarships, and work.
foxie foxie 9 years
I am thumbs-down about increasing financial aid to the middle class. Put money where it's needed, and that's not where. Either get a scholarship, get a job, or join the military if you need help paying for college.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
That really annoys me to no end. We have no business being there to begin with and even if you agree with the war, that amount of money is just ridiculous. As a college student, I know how expensive it is and it just makes me mad that my friends and I are going to graduate with thousands of dollars in debt on student loans, when the federal government should be INCREASING financial aid to the middle-class! And then Social Security. That makes me madder to know that when my parents and older family members retire, the government doesn't care how much taxes they paid or if they were good contributing citizens-- they just want to get rid of Social Security completely because it isn't working. How about fixing it?! And Medicare, we should be looking out for us first... How can we not provide health insurance to our own people and build a $600 million building at the same time? Grrrr.. sorry, I just had to vent.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
And then they wonder why the national debt is ever-growing...
krazykarot krazykarot 9 years
wow I feel a little sick knowing just how much they're spending. The size of Vatican city?? ridiculous!
FB1977 FB1977 9 years
Thanks ona, I'm actually in the process for a local job with the Army right now. Years ago, I considered becoming an FSO, but went in a different direction. Honestly, I'd say nowhere in Iraq can be considered truly secure at this point in time. I just meant the embassy is probably one of the safer places to be, although that's not saying much in Iraq.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
The embassy in Iraq is essentially a small fortress/mini city within the green zone. They describe the green zone like it's a fortress but it's more like a college campus, it's not as secure as you might think. If you want to work in the embassy as an FSO, then you need to take the Foreign Service Exam. That is the only way to become an FSO. It is possible to work at the State department as a civil servant.
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
That's a lot of money - this whole situation depresses me. But on a happier note - I love Citizensugar!
FB1977 FB1977 9 years
Why Iraq you say? Well because we are going to be there for a very long time, I'm afraid. If I were working for the government (trying my hardest right now) I would consider volunteering myself. It's probably one of the safest places to be, actually, and it sounds like you'd never have to leave the embassy for anything.
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
That's not what I heard on the news a while back, but I guess things can change.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
Twinkle: FSO's (Foreign Service Officers)have actually been amazing at volunteering to be posted there. That Embassy has a higher employment rate than most others. I was really surprised that people were volunteering for the job, but I guess not it's their career.
onabanana onabanana 9 years
This has been an big issue for years. I can't believe you just heard about this. Iraq is like a big vacuum, sucking up all the resources from the State department and Secretary Rice, has done a craptastic job at taking care of her FSO's.
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
Yeah, but can they get anyone to volunteer to work there yet?
-Maryan- -Maryan- 9 years
WOW! But why are they building the world's largest, most expensive embassy in Iraq! Why Iraq?
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