May 4, 2008

I'm not kidding you. This story is right out Kafka's The Metamorphosis

Forget the rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and lack of a sewer system. Now try to imagine luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad.That's all part of a five-year development "dream list" - or what some dub an improbable fantasy - to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a centerpiece for Baghdad's future.

But the $5 billion plan has the backing of the Pentagon and apparently the interest of some deep pockets in the world of international hotels and development, the lead military liaison for the project told The Associated Press.

For Washington, the driving motivation is to create a "zone of influence" around the new $700 million U.S. Embassy to serve as a kind of high-end buffer for the compound, whose total price tag will reach about $1 billion after all the workers and offices are relocated over the next year.

"When you have $1 billion hanging out there and 1,000 employees lying around, you kind of want to know who your neighbors are. You want to influence what happens in your neighborhood over time," said Navy Capt. Thomas Karnowski, who led the team that created the development plan.

Karnowski said a deal already has been completed for Marriott International Inc. to build a hotel in the Green Zone. He also said a possible $1 billion investment could come from MBI International, a conglomerate that focuses on hotels and resorts and is led by Saudi Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber.

Gregor Samsa has nothing on this plan. John McCain may have to revise his 100 years in Iraq position to accommodate this proposal. This baby may take centuries to complete. "Welcome to Lake Tahoo-Baghdad." Nicole previously wrote about last week, Magic Kingdom In The Emerald City?

Siun has a great piece up and wants to know who will bring justice to the Iraqi people. Justice and a $5 Billion 5 Star Green Zone

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Multi-National Force—Iraq strongly condemns today’s attacks near a hospital in Balad Ruz, located 50 km east of Baqubah, which killed 31 Iraqis and wounded 52, including children.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq continues their malicious tactics against the people of Iraq and their way of life. They have no respect for the rule of law and Iraqi values, and seek violence and chaos in Iraq for their own corrupt on

Jon Perr has an excellent post about the use of a certain type of propaganda talking point that Republicans and their "little helpers" in the media use to try and mislead the American people. I've posted them before (Rep. Peter King)---citing major American city violence and comparing it to Baghdad.

Downplaying the risks of being gunned down while waiting in line for the Tilt-a-Whirl or running over an IED while driving a bumper car, RSE's March declared:

"Well, you live here in Southern California and there's drive-bys and everything else. So there's danger everywhere, and I think the key thing is this will be tremendous for Baghdad."

If it seems like contractor John March sounds like an anchor for Fox News, that's because he does. Back on August 26, 2003, Fox's Brit Hume reassured his viewers that liberal California was a much more dangerous place for Americans than occupied Iraq:

"Two hundred and seventy seven U.S. soldiers have now died in Iraq, which means that, statistically speaking, U.S. soldiers have less of a chance of dying from all causes in Iraq than citizens have of being murdered in California...which is roughly the same geographical size. The most recent statistics indicate California has more than 2,300 homicides each year, which means about 6.6 murders each day. Meanwhile, U.S. troops have been in Iraq for 160 days, which means they are incurring about 1.7, including illness and accidents, each day."

In Hume's defense, he was only parroting the line of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for whom Baghdad in June 2003 was a cake-walk compared to Washington, on

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