Corrente

If you have "no place to go," come here!

Bush's "palace" in Baghdad: 21 stories, 16 foot walls, surface-to-air missiles, Krispy Kreme shop

And I'm sure there won't be any torture rooms in the basement.

Can you say "permanent presence"? I thought you could. The Age:

The plans are a state secret, so just where the Starbucks and Krispy Kreme stores will be is a mystery. But as the concrete hulks of a huge 21-building complex rise from the ashes of Saddam's Baghdad, Washington is sending a clear message to Iraqis: "We're here to stay."

It's being built in the Middle East, but George W's palace, as the locals have dubbed the new US embassy, is designed as a suburb of Washington.

An army of more than 3500 diplomatic and support staff will have their own sports centre, beauty parlour and swimming pool. Each of the six residential blocks will contain more than 600 apartments.

The prime 25-hectare [~62 acres] site was a steal — it was a gift from the Iraqi Government. And if the five-metre-thick [~16.5 feet] perimeter walls don't keep the locals at bay, then the built-in surface-to-air missile station should.

What I don't understand is why we would need to fire a surface-to-air missile at an insurgency that's in its last throes. Another Krispy Kreme, Donald?

Guarded by a dozen gangly cranes, the site in the heart of the Green Zone is floodlit by night and is so removed from Iraqi reality that its entire construction force is foreign.

After almost four years, the Americans still can't turn on the lights for the Iraqis, but that won't be a problem for the embassy staffers. The same with the toilets — they will always flush on command. All services for the biggest embassy in the world will operate independently from the rattletrap utilities of the Iraqi capital.

Scheduled for completion next June, this is the only US reconstruction project in Iraq that is on track. Costing more than $US600 million, the fortress is bigger than the Vatican. It dwarfs the edifices of Saddam's wildest dreams and irritates the hell out of ordinary Iraqis.

Oh. So this is where the Katrina money went. I'd been wondering.

Say, does anyone know if we have a Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi [cough] government?

NOTE Atrios is right and useful idiots like Dionne are wrong. We won't be pulling out. There may be a token reduction in time for the mid-terms, but it will be nothing more than a rotation disguised as a reduction.

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