So, the inevitable has occurred: Following the withdrawal of troops, the American diplomatic presence in Baghdad may be cut drastically, making the massive, $750 million New Embassy Compound a monstrous white elephant.
The question is: What do we do with the 104-acre complex — the largest embassy on earth, with 27 blast-proof buildings and housing for more than 1,000 employees?
Loop Fans can help!
Yes it’s the Loop “Embassy for Sale” Contest, our first contest of 2012. Simply tell us what the United States should do with the compound and — this is a two-parter — name the new facility (or facilities, if that’s the plan).
Just leave your submission in a comment below. The top 10 entries will receive one of those coveted In the Loop T-shirts and mentions in this column.
But hurry! Entries must be submitted by midnight Feb. 17. In case of duplicates, the first in will win. (You may want to double-check that there’s an active e-mail associated with your washingtonpost.com login. If we’re unable to successfully contact a winner within three days, the prize will go to a runner-up.) Winners will be determined by an independent, distinguished and un-bribe-able panel of judges.
Here’s what you’ve got to work with: The ultra-secured complex, which opened in 2009, is on the banks of the Tigris River. It has swimming pools, basketball courts, tennis courts and other athletic facilities. The ambassador’s residence is 16,000 square feet, and the deputy’s cottage is a cozy 9,500 square feet.
The embassy, built at a time when money was no object, has a 17,000-square-foot commissary and food court building and its own water supply, power plant and waste-treatment facility, so it doesn’t have to rely on the Iraqis for essential services.
Think of the possibilities!