So when do we get that hot new Broadway musical where Alec Baldwin and J-Lo somehow represent the new Camelot and George and Laura never waving from its turrets because it’s not that kind of brave new world?

Where’s the picture of the new fucking huge American embassy in Iraq I saw a couple of weeks ago. This isn’t it, or maybe it was. Never mind, the image will have to serve as there seem to be almost no photos of something so big.

Some AP photo

At 104 acres and $592 million dollars, this complex moves a few steps beyond BIG. You’d think they’re trying to outshine y’know, what is it, Iraq’s, what da ya call it, bigness in ancient history, words like monumental come to mind, Mesopotamia, Fertile Crescent, Akkadian, Assyrian, those bad Babylonians. Whatever, I seem to recall reading something about it over the years, a smidgen here and there, and a few pics of the Gate of Ishtar. Anyway, the impression I was given in high school, the few paragraphs we read of it, was that the Fertile Crescent was the seat of ancient civilization out of which the rest of the world poured eventually. Except for American Indians and the Chinese and other people like that, who lived way off the beaten track. But the image I came away with from middle or high school, of the Seat of Civilization (which was quaintly pagan, but big, and gave us farmers and builders and successive empires, but not as big as the Romans ultimately, whom we could better understand as they had a Senate, I think) was that they had big sand colored walls. They liked walls. So did King Arthur, didn’t he? All those castles! Lots of walls. Only those were gray because Europe is misty gray whereas Babylonia was all glaring sun and sandy walls.

Anyway, that’s going to be some addition to the kid’s history books, isn’t it?! Pictured under Wonders of the Modern World Lording It Over Those Ancient Wonders Which We Hope To Assimilate Somehow Someway So That We May Own Them In Our Role of Current Top Dog Empire.

I was only reminded to write of it because of Norwegianity making mention of it. And Cindy Sheehan. He wrote some about Cindy Sheehan who’s been making noises about Democrats who walk and talk like Republicans, except they’re Democrats. Republicans are Republicans and Democrats are Democrats and never the twain shall meet except for Democrats caving on Iraq and Democrats caving on the Bankruptcy Bill and whatever else the Democrats have caved on. The list is long. But Democrats are Democrats and the Republicans are Republicans and they’re out there daily with the gloves on making a show of a boxing match so we’ll know we have voting choices.

When I saw the pic of the embassy a few weeks ago, H.o.p. and I were watching films on The Great Wall of China, which the Chinese hated and saw as a symbol of oppression, all those dead people that went into the making of it, but which the Western World hearted (soooooooooo big) and eventually seemed to convince the Chinese it was something of which to be proud after all.

There’s a famous photograph of a little boy and girl walking into the sublime light and (don’t ask me why) that’s the picture that came to mind as I gazed upon the image of the American Embassy in Iraq while watching films of the Great Wall of China. Hand in hand, off they trot into history.

You can see what my public school eduction did for me.

Empire, empire, empire, empire. Lots of walls. Then Rome. Christ in there somewhere corresponding with 0 A.D., which is how I can locate where I am in the mess because I was born 1957 years after. Then blankets of fog out of which shine some gray castles. Feudal walls. Then pilgrims fighting for our religious rights and some Indians who said “Welcome, Land of the Brave and Free”, then George Washington crossing the Delaware and America, then Indians forgot to be hospitable somewhere along Custer’s way and got pissed about it, though it was all for their own good and was our divine right, carrying the freedom flag and all. The Promised Land. And there was the British Empire, like our misfit older sibling, who used to wield some authority but settled down to gardening. And Europe had a couple of misfit wars and a maniac, but we settled all that, and took care of Japan too.

And now, though the history books weren’t so explicit, WE ARE THE WORLD, with the stars and stripes in one hand, but more importantly Coca-Cola in the other. Lots of it. In fact, forget the stars and stripes. Just send Coke. Which at least had a nice white stripe against a red background. The not-so-new American flag. That immediately recognizable Coca-Cola stripe against that red.

I don’t know what in the hell they’re talking about pulling out of Iraq with that great big new 104 acre embassy there? I can’t make those two pieces of the puzzle fit together in my head. Big 104 acre, half billion dollar embassy. Pulling out of Iraq. No, doesn’t fit.

But I don’t understand POLITICS. I don’t have a clue.

Well, y’know, except maybe it’s enough that someone’s construction business was able to pump a few jobs into someone’s economy and make a few bucks for someone.

Are we really going to pull out and leave that COUNTRY in a COUNTRY to fend for itself?

The Vatican City is 0.2 square miles of Country. That’s about 109 acres. I’m so disappointed! The Vatican is larger than the American Embassy in Iraq. Does that sound right to you? All we needed was another 6 acres and we’d have beat out the Vatican. As far as not being the smallest country in the world. So the Vatican becomes the second smallest Country and the American Embassy is the smallest. Except the American Embassy in Iraq isn’t a Country and wouldn’t ever want to be its own Country since it simply represents us.

A 2006 April AP story said of it:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, self-contained power and water, and a precarious perch at the heart of Iraq’s turbulent future.

The new U.S. Embassy also seems as cloaked in secrecy as the ministate in Rome.

“We can’t talk about it. Security reasons,” Roberta Rossi, a spokeswoman at the current embassy, said when asked for information about the project.
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A British tabloid even told readers the location was being kept secret — news that would surprise Baghdadis who for months have watched the forest of construction cranes at work across the winding Tigris, at the very center of their city and within easy mortar range of anti-U.S. forces in the capital, though fewer explode there these days…

It will have its own water wells, electricity plant and wastewater-treatment facility, “systems to allow 100 percent independence from city utilities,” says the report, the most authoritative open source on the embassy plans.

But they’re WRONG! It’s not the size of the Vatican. It’s smaller.

Embassies are usually about 10 acres in size. But this is a fully self-sufficient one. Kind of.

Except for food. Eventually. Nothing is ever completely self-sufficient. Even if they have vegetable gardens and fruit trees and cows and chickens and pigs stocked in there somewhere, and fields of grain, they’re still going to eventually need computer parts, like rare replacement screws.

I don’t think the US Govt would ever want to cross Sony and manufacture its own replacement screws. If the US Govt has any Sony equipment within the embassy. Which it may not. But if it did, you don’t want to cross Sony. No.

I wonder what’s the official soft drink of the embassy? Coke or Pepsi? Coke? Sure Pepsi tried to usurp Coke as the new flag with its white stripe and the red on one side and the blue on the other. But Coke’s still the one with the white on red.

And they can’t manufacture Coke in there either, because the recipe for Coca-Cola is top secret, so again the American Embassy compound in Iraq is not entirely self-sufficient.

Which is one reason we’re going to have to stay in Iraq. To keep that supply line flowing.

Do you think they’ll paint it? What color? Surely, they’ll do some landscaping. A few flowers. Maybe install a couple of sculptures. If they could pull it off, Gormley’s Event Horizon would be nice.

If we do eventually pull out, how much do you think the new refurbished “Embassy” condos will go for?

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

7 thoughts on “So when do we get that hot new Broadway musical where Alec Baldwin and J-Lo somehow represent the new Camelot and George and Laura never waving from its turrets because it’s not that kind of brave new world?”

  1. Maybe they’ll have a lovely statue of the Decider: Giver of decisions to all! Or maybe just a big corporate looking W out front. Or… maybe lovely topiary W’s flanking each entrance.

    I can’t fit the puzzle together either, but it’s because they’re holding the main pieces and aren’t showing any but a few. They’re telling us it’s a pastoral, but you know, you just know that when (and if) we see the final pieces, it will probably look more like a work by Escher.

  2. The big fat W. And if there aren’t W topiaries on the outside they are perhaps inside forming that Escher maze. After all, they wanted one billion for this monstrosity but only got half a billion. There’s a big difference between one billion and half a billion. For all we know, without Google satellite maps supplying street views, the compound is all walls and a big square in the middle waiting for that other half billion to come through, where are the W topiaries in which the cows and pigs and chickens meander, this version of “When Worlds Collide” having neglected to mail off to the New Eden sufficient farm and livestock workers. Not to mention shoemakers and tailors. We can hope someone has a sewing machine and some old Butterick patterns.

  3. You can see the green zone in astonishing detail via google earth, though I suspect the photos are not up-to-date. It’s already very crowded, and it’s hard to see where thay can build 104 acres worth of new palaces. I’m guessing they will recycle some of Saddam’s stuff. One report says they are using some “parkland” inside the green zone. I don’t see much of that.

  4. Gee, Baghdad! Everything looks so…intact. Got to be way out of date. The way out-of-date photos of our street show construction that was going on at least a couple of years before we moved in.

    This is kind of cool, actually, the “street view” feature of Google. Sure, you don’t want a picture of yourself up there carrying out the trash (they’re hiring companies to image up and down streets) but following a link at Boing Boing I’ve been strolling through San Francisco the last few minutes and enjoying it. It’s just like looking at on-the-fly vacation pics of streets and houses. Gotta get the address of my brother-in-law in NY so I can finally see where he lives.

    “Parkland” inside the green zone no doubt means recently and vigorously physically reinterpreted.

  5. This is fascinating – I had no idea this was going on. I had a look at the ‘Embassy Baghdad’ site too – they’re looking for staff by the way 😉 You gotta be kidding!!

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