Saturday, October 24, 2009

The US Embassy in Baghdad

It is the world's most expensive embassy, costing more than $700 million (£427 million) and designed to withstand earthquakes and insurgents. Yet only nine months after being opened, the US Embassy in Iraq is riddled with problems expected to cost more than $130 million to fix.
Nobody praised its architecture when it was inaugurated in January -- think Milton Keynes on the Moon. The cube-like structure, topped with razor wire, is the size of Vatican City and features a supermarket and swimming pool. But the 2,000 or so Americans moving in believed, at least, that it would keep them safe and comfortable.
Not so. A report by a US Government inspector-general yesterday pointed to staggering State Department incompetence.

The above is from Oliver August's "US embassy in Baghdad faces $130 million repair bill after errors" (Times of London) continuing the press coverage begun on Thursday with Warren P. Strobel's "IG: Pricey new U.S. Embassy in Iraq has 'multiple' flaws" (McClatchy Newspapers). CNN's Charley Keyes adds:

One problem cited by the Inspector General's Office is inadequate emergency "safe areas" inside the embassy compound. It suggests the State Department try to recover $4.6 million "to repair safe areas, which are vital to protecting staff in emergency situations but which were not constructed according to contract specifications."
"We found that although the construction ... [of the embassy] in a war zone in 34 months was a significant accomplishment, considerable construction deficiencies remained because designs for the facilities had not been completed and approved and quality control and commissioning procedures were inadequate," the report says.
"Without a valid design and robust quality control and commissioning activities, the department cannot be assured that the NEC [new embassy compound] complies with contract and department requirements, as well as with applicable building codes," it says.

Rhonda notes this from Dennis Kucinich's re-election campaign:

Dennis Kucinich Will Be a Guest on C-SPAN, Washington Journal
Dear Friends, Congressman Dennis Kucinich will be a guest on:

C-SPAN, Washington Journal
Sunday, October 25, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. ET
There will be an initial interview followed by a Q&A session. Topics of discussion will consider the major issues of Afghanistan, Health Care and Climate Change.
The Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich Committee

We'll note the following community posts from Thursday and Friday:

"Alito's confirmation" (Isaiah)

"Dinner in a skillet in the Kitchen" "The 'safe' way to 'address' it" (Trina)

"Scary" "Ms. magazine" (Ann)

"Army pays out $4.3 million" "TNAOC" (Betty)

"tony blair and gordon brown - war hawks of a feather" "now that is scary" (Rebecca)

"Iraq wants to skip out on debt to Kuwait" "Governments shouldn't attack the press" (Ruth)

"Friday, at last" "Taxi Cab Obsessions" (Kat)

"Accountability" "Crazy sick" (Marcia)

"False optimism, the Air Force remembers one of their own, and more" "Harry Reid" (Stan)

"David Brock, you ought to be ashamed of yourself" (Elaine)

"Idiot of the week: Norm Kent" "Applause and boos" (Mike)


"Not even Britney fell so quickly" "The press says the darndest things" (Cedric)

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mcclatchy newspapers
warren p. strobel

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends