While Bush’s Government builds what is purported to be the biggest diplomatic outpost on earth, Iraqi families suffer water shortages and power cuts and are forced to wait in line to fuel their cars.

Although $22 billion has been spent, Baghdad’s infrastructure still operates at pre-war levels. Out of 150 planned medical centres only six have been completed.

The failed $147 million programme to train Iraqi security units to protect key oil and power facilities is the subject of a current fraud investigation. Before the war oil production was 2.6 million barrels per day; now it is only 2.18 million.

As an astonishing catalogue of missed deadlines and overspending on civilian building projects is revealed, the bill, so far, for ‘George W’s palace’ stands at $592 million.

To add insult to injury the Kuwaiti contractor employs only foreign workers.

The 104 acre site, protected by a 15ft thick perimeter wall, will comprise 21 buildings, to include luxurious residences for the ambassador and his deputy, six apartments for senior officials, office accommodation for 8,000 staff, a super-sized swimming pool, an olympic class gymnasium, cinemas, tennis courts, US food chain restaurants and a top drawer American Club for evening functions.

And the USA retains ‘no long term ambitions’ here?

Not surprisingly the size of the project is seen by Iraqis as ‘an indication of who actually exercises power in their country’ (and of who will no doubt continue so to do).

Times article

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