And now, the winners in the “Embassy for Sale ” contest, which was to come up with ideas for what to do with the enormous, 104-acre embassy complex in Baghdad as the mission winds down.
We received hundreds of entries from around the world. Here, based on our three-judge panel’s preferences, are the top 10 winners — in no particular order.
* One Loop Fan submitted two winning entries: “Turn it into the Fertile Crescent Community College. (Sports chant: “Go Tigris!”)” and, the other entry: “Turn it into a 5-star luxury hotel and spa experience. Market it as “America’s Last Resort.” — submitted by Randy Brown, a freelance journalist in the Des Moines, Iowa area
*“Trump Baghdad Casino Hotel. Only U.S. Government officials with more than $1 billion in cash can play and they are required to lose everything as quickly as possible. Casino Management: Blackwater USA and the Iraqi Government.” — Retired foreign service officer James F. Schumaker of San Clemente, Calif.
*“Turn the compound into an educational institution for the study of government folly: ‘The College of Woefully Misguided Decisions.(WMDs)’ — retired journalist and former Loop contest winner Maurice R. Fliess of Brentwood Tenn.
*“A new stadium for the Redskins named ‘The Daniel Snyder Edifice for Annual Hope, Eternal Dreams and Everlasting Disillusionment.”— information technology specialist Dave McDermott of Brambleton, Va.
*”Retirement Home for American Neo-Cons. Name: The Open Arms.” — Federal government retiree Kirk Augustine of Camano Island, Wash.
* “Convert the complex into a full-service, game-themed restaurant specializing in desserts. New Name: The Yellowcake Factory.” — federal contractor program manager Kevin Dopart of Washington, D.C.
*“An open-air market. It can be called Very Eastern Market.” Former Loop contest winner Matt Neufeld, news editor at Carroll Publishing in Greenbelt.
*“The embassy should be turned into the world’s largest bowling alley. It could be called ‘Dubya’s.’” — Daniel Bazan, a federal government employee.
*“Move the Redskins, Capitals and Wizards to a new facility. Rename it ’Camp Victory.’” — retired Agency for International Development attorney Bob Lester of The Villages, Fla.
Many of the entries reflected earnest efforts to think of something to do with the complex that would actually be useful and needed in Iraq, such as a university or hospital.
We decided to give one award in this category.
*Make a rehab centre for war affectees there as well as a wellness centre for war-affected children. Name it Al Noorani. The Light. (Or “The Illuminated One”)” — Nighat Mir of Karachi, Pakistan.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all for entering. Special thanks to our judges: former New York Times and CBS News reporter Terence Smith; our former colleague, formerly an AP foreign affairs correspondent in the Middle East and now ProPublica reporter Dafna Linzer; and, Aaron Blake a key member of the wildly popular Fix Blog.