Baghdad embassy

Not So Great Expectations: Paying the Price of Hubris in Iraq, Afghanistan

Developments over the past few days on several different fronts are coming together in a way that outlines just how arrogantly the US conducted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the consequences of that hubris are now diminishing the previously dominant role for the US in the region going into the future. At the same time, these developments drive home the message of the terrible waste of lives and money the war efforts have been.

In today’s New York Times, we learn that the staff at the gargantuan US embassy in Baghdad is about to be cut in half. It appears that one of the driving forces behind these cuts is that the Iraqis are not making it easy for embassy personnel to move freely into and out of the country:

At every turn, the Americans say, the Iraqi government has interfered with the activities of the diplomatic mission, one they grant that the Iraqis never asked for or agreed upon. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s office — and sometimes even the prime minister himself — now must approve visas for all Americans, resulting in lengthy delays. American diplomats have had trouble setting up meetings with Iraqi officials.

Perhaps Mr. al-Maliki should study the activities of the US Customs Service if he really wants to learn how to make it even clearer to selected foreigners that he doesn’t want them in his country.

But al-Maliki is not the only elected Iraqi official who sees an opportunity to repay the US for the hubris it has shown the region, as the Times quoted Nahida al-Dayni, whom they described as “a lawmaker and member of Iraqiya, a largely Sunni bloc in Parliament” with regard to the embassy compound:

The U.S. had something on their mind when they made it so big. Perhaps they want to run the Middle East from Iraq, and their embassy will be a base for them here.

That US actions in the Middle East would have prompted such an attitude among local officials should have been foreseen, but the Times article informs us that the State Department seems to have been hit by a bit of shock and awe: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @JimWhiteGNV @emptywheel Perp. Fee. Trainers. Broken. What, did this transmorph into an Afghanistan discussion??
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bmaz @emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV Hey Okra lady, where you come in? Clearly yer not focused on mane attraction. Brennan sez don't be easily impressed
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JimWhiteGNV @emptywheel That prep cost is included in the overall fee to trainers for showing, so we don't see it broken out, thankfully. @bmaz
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emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV And Gomer's up-do is even more expensive than $60, I was under the impression. @bmaz
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bmaz @JimWhiteGNV No self respecting old man dances away from a hose.
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emptywheel @nlanc Yeah, there were a number of computer-driven machine people at the show.
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JimWhiteGNV @bmaz Heh. Gomer is the most finicky of all. Dances away from the hose when getting bathed and keeps his poo in a neat pile in stall corner.
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bmaz @JimWhiteGNV this ain't Gomer, as hard as it is to believe, I tend to grow rather finicky girlz. #Schadenfreude
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JimWhiteGNV @bmaz Hey, just use a rake and a leaf blower for free. Nobody will ever know the difference...
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bmaz Sasquatch is in the pool. That is good for her, but a $60 grooming for me. #WattaYouGonnaDo
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JimWhiteGNV RT @carolrosenberg: Just in: #Guantanamo nurse who refused to force-feed prisoners sent home. http://t.co/z6vrh2dsZN @MiamiHerald http://t…
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emptywheel @walterwkatz Been waiting to see what you had to say all week--looking forward to it.
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