REUTERS/Lucas JacksonTen years ago this week, Americans woke up to learn that the United States had invaded Iraq.
That all didn’t work out as planned.
What did work out was a luxurious compound in the heart of Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris where the thousands of Americans who would remain behind could work, shop, eat and relax in a palatial, $750 million embassy.
This is the Annex I building. The embassy compound is larger than Vatican City, and contains a food court and a shopping mall where embassy staff can spend their hazard pay.
Here's an embassy employee — one of 1,350 government employees, and thousands of contractors — working out in the fitness centre.
Here's a private contractor comment box near scales in a hallway of the facilities building. The Embassy cost seven times as much as the Iraqi Police College.
Fresh fruit stands stacked next to a palm tree. While the U.S. spared no expense on the facility, the palm is admittedly fake.
The apartment complexes within the compound are stocked with bullet-proof glass all around. Marks covering up shrapnel damage can be seen on some buildings.
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