by Arlen Parsa
Above is a picture created by the architectural design firm hired by the Bush Administration to design the lavish gigantic US embassy in Baghdad. Several similar images of different parts of the opulent complex which is expected to be completed in September appeared on the design firm’s website, I mentioned them on May 29th, saying:
The expansive 104 acre embassy will also include outdoor tennis facilities, a full basketball court, movie theater, mall, and multiple restaurants. Talk about opulent. While Baghdad residents are limited to an average of less than six hours of electricity each day, the embassy will have its own built-in power plant.
Well, the State Department has apparently now asked the design firm to remove the images from their website for “security reasons.” Were they really for security reasons, or did they just not want people to see all the luxurious non-essential features of the embassy, which make it look like a five star resort in the middle of the most dangerous place in the world? Here’s the Associated Press, reporting:
The images were removed by Berger Devine Yaeger Inc. shortly after the company was contacted by the State Department.
“We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas,” said Gonzalo Gallegos, a department spokesman. “This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort.
Of course, they won’t say how accurate the images are, and seem to suggest that they might be inaccurate. But if they’re inaccurate, then what possible “security risk” could there be in people seeing inaccurate photos?
In a related story, officials said that the embassy, already by far the largest embassy in the world, was too small and that they wanted to adjust plans to make it larger.
Well, one video seems to show that the embassy could be even more luxurious than initially planned. Below is a short nighttime video of the pool at the US Embassy in Baghdad, taken by a soldier who visited it in late 2006. Obviously it’s slightly different (and looks much nicer, complete with a huge diving board) from the conceptual computer-generated imagery that the design firm prepared beforehand.