Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You Say Embassy, I Say Waste Of Money

What are they thinking?

Osama Bin Laden has had great luck convincing angry fundamentalist Muslims to join his cause by spinning our presence in the Middle East as one of the West attempting to colonize and westernize the East. He's convinced them that our goal is to take over the entire Middle East, rape them of their oil, give the land to the Jews and take away their Middle Eastern Islamic identity. We know that's ludicrous and isn't at all true, but these frustrated Muslims don't and they're being convinced their culture and way of life is in jeopardy, and we're doing nothing to prove to them that it's not. They very presence of our soldiers, for no apparent reason, except defending the oil fields, gives Osama Bin Laden a platform he doesn't deserve. We should be trying to rid Osama of excuses, not giving them to him. Therefore, I ask, why, why in hell are we building the most expensive, most expansive, most elaborate United States Embassy in a land where one of the reason the terrorists are using to gain support is that we're there to begin with?

The United States Embassy to Iraq in Baghdad is to be much larger and grander than any other one in the world. It will be a 21 building complex, sprawling over 104 acres. It's not so much an embassy as a campus, or a neighborhood within a city. According to the Washington Post, the embassy budget is $923 million. By comparison, the US Embassy in Beijing, China, clearly one of the most important countries on earth, has only a $49 million, in our strongest ally Britain, $39 million, and our southern neighbor Mexico, where the immigration debate is centered, $31 million. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why we are putting our biggest, most expensive foreign mission in a land where the people want us out. Is it just to be defiant? Osama Bin Laden can easily spin this embassy plan as an attempt by the West to "take over slowly." Why are we giving Al-Qaeda another battle cry?

It's just like this administration to drain our resources away in Iraq. Our military has already been severely strained by the war and now the State Department is straining its diplomatic efforts to put together the super-embassy. Even Lawrence Eagleburger, a Republican former Secretary of State and member of the Iraq Study Group called the State's Department's plans for the embassy "nuts" and "counterproductive."

I don't understand it. Do we really think we're going to win the PR wars with the Islamic fundamentalists by forcing ourselves on them? What are people, who have been told all their lives we seek to dominate them, going to think when they see a 104 acre United States Embassy? The assumption to many is going to be "Gee, was Osama right? Are they trying to force themselves on us?" We're not, but they don't know that. They're going to listen to one them before one of us, even if the one of "them" is Bin Laden or some Al-Qaeda publicist.

We Americans should be protesting. We should be livid that our government is wasting nearly a billion dollars of our tax money to build an obnoxious behemoth of an embassy in a land where we're not wanted and in the land where all it's going to be is a giant bull's-eye.

What are they thinking?

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