Monday, December 06, 2010 2:47 AM
The State Department has a new job: Clear, hold and build -- inside the Baghdad Embassy complex.
The next time someone tells you about the lasting victory in Iraq George W. Bush, COIN, and Gen. Petraeus secured, could you please pull out the following news report for comment? Obama may be presiding president but this is a result of the Bush doctrine of standing the Iraqis up so that the US might stand down.
From the Washington Post: "Cost to keep Americans safe in Baghdad after troops leave will be high"
Worth every penny?
State has plans to move about 600 employees now living in Baghdad into barracks to be built within the new embassy complex there. Why? "The imminent departure of the military from Iraq and the associated return of property and facilities to the government of Iraq, including a substantial amount of housing, makes the timely construction of the building important to the continued operation of the embassy," State Department officials said in an August memo explaining the need to get funding rapidly for the barracks building. It is set to cost almost $70 million to construct.
Those officials also said it is "highly likely that the security situation in Baghdad may deteriorate to the point where any other housing would be deemed to be too unsafe and the personnel would not be able to remain in Baghdad"....
Gee, maybe personnel should not remain in Baghdad....Concept.
In that same memo, the officials noted that the embassy compound itself "is being subjected to lethal indirect fire on a daily basis as the result of increasing political instability in Iraq and the general deterioration in the security situation."
Noting that one contractor was killed and 15 others wounded in such an attack in July, the officials said it is "highly likely that the security situation will further deteriorate leading up to and after the U.S. military leaves Iraq at the end of 2011"...
In October, the contract for providing the embassy guards, valued at about $200 million a year, was awarded to SOC-SMG Inc. of Las Vegas.
Two hundred million dollars a year, every year -- forever -- just to guard the US Embassy?
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Middle East District is advertising for its own private-security contractor to protect the construction projects it has going in Iraq through September of next year. ...The engineers will provide the contractor with light-armored and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles along with all weapons and ammunition, including pistols, assault rifles and light machine guns.
For each site, the contractor must have personnel to staff what are called security reconnaissance teams, whose role is to "facilitate the completion" of each project. These teams are to be composed of as many as nine contractor security employees, five of whom must be Iraqis. Using at least three light-armored vehicles, they are to provide security at the sites seven days a week during daylight hours.
The contractor not only will provide security at the sites but also will have escort teams for military and civilian personnel who visit the sites. Each of these teams will use four of the light-armored vehicles with 11 security guards. The teams also will include at least two certified emergency trauma medics trained in combat lifesaving skills.
Sounds like it's time for another "surge" -- to clear, hold and build a community center rec room in Basra.
If you want to think for a moment about how much all of it will cost, mull over this: Last week, the U.S. Central Command, which until now has provided security for the Corps of Engineers in Iraq, announced that the danger was so great that it would continue using a private contractor, Aegis Defense Services, until the engineers can get security teams in place. The cost for adding the month of January to the Central Command contract is $15.3 million.
Let's see: 70 million + 200 million a year +15.3 million a month for security before anyone pushes another piece of paper or turns on an earthmover ...
But no worries: George W. Bush says he's "at peace" and "content."