Saturday, March 03, 2007

Good question

"Do they have a nice broad roof on that embassy to land helicoptors on?"

--from a commenter responding to a Washington Post article about the billion-dollar mega-embassy the Americans are constructing on expropriated land in the center of Baghdad.

Update: It appears that the photo is of the current US Embassy, which is housed in a palace built under Saddam Hussein. See comments for more information.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

I'm intrigued by the fascist-style architecture.

2:58 AM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger Jean said...

Well, aesthetically at least it's an improvement over Stalin Gothic.

On further investigation (h/t to google images search), I think the photo is of one of Saddam Hussein's palaces, where the US "diplomatic mission" is currently housed. The photo accompanied the WaPo article I linked to, which is about the new Embassy being built. The reader would logically conclude that it's a picture of the new US-built embassy which is the subject of the article. The reader would be wrong (or misled): The full caption under the photo reads: "U.S. Marine Cpl. Chilet Paul, of Miami, Fla., walks past the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad last month. His platoon is tasked with defending the exterior of U.S. diplomatic mission, housed in the former palace of Saddam Hussein," as I discovered from the article as it was published in The Seattle Times:

The new embassy is due for completion in June of this year, so presumably there's a pretty massive structure already in place, even if they haven't finished the final touches on the interior decorating. However, the only photos I can find are from last year, featuring a bunch of cranes--e.g. here:

And an image here from the site of an engineering firm specializing in "mission critical facility design":

I guess Saddam's former palaces just aren't good enough for US occupiers in Iraq.

But to answer the central question--yes, based on the drawing at Hankins and Anderson Consulting Engineers, it looks like there's plenty of sturdy flat roof space for helicoptors to land and take off.

9:35 AM, March 05, 2007  

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