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Fact checking: what is the source of your information?

Reader comment on item: White Elephant in Baghdad

Submitted by Eunice (United States), May 15, 2010 at 17:03

While I agree, in general, with your opinion about the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, I take issue with many of your "facts." As one of the individuals who served at the embassy for one year, I am in a position to offer a first-hand account and offer corrections. My opposition is not to Dr. Pipes perspective, but rather to the spread of misinformation.

To wit: A mini-city unto itself, its 21 (correction: 27 buildings) buildings include stores (correction: 1 post-exchange store'), restaurants (correction: walk-up counters for Subway, Green Beans Coffee, Pizza, that have a shared open seating; correction 2: there are 2 contractor-operated DFACs - dining facilities, similar to the DFACs on all of the military bases throughout Iraq), schools (correction: 1 school was built in anticipation of diplomats one day being able to bring their families to post - a long way from reality - and is used as an administrative building, cramped with several hundred American civilian workers), a movie theater (correction: there is no dedicated movie theater; a community space is depending on the day and time, a bar and dance floor, movie theater, town hall meeting space, or chapel), fire station, and facilities for athletics, electricity, telecommunications, water, and wastewater. Fifteen-foot thick (correction: this is bogus; the walls may be 15' high, and are no more than a few feet thick, if that) walls protect the complex. Some 5,500 (correction: that's a wildly inflated figure; with the addition of the military personnel housed on the grounds, about 1,500 staff live there) staff live there. The annual embassy budget comes to about $1.5 billion.

The complex has suffered from cost overruns, delays, and shoddy construction. Projected to cost $592 million and open in 2007, it actually cost $700 million and opened in 2009 (correction: staff began residing on the grounds May, 2008, with nearly 1,000 on site by Dec. 2008; the grounds were dedicated on January 5, 2009).

I reiterate: please double check your sources so that you do not contribute to erroneous information taken by others as fact.

Respectfully submitted.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I have not been in Baghdad since 2003, so if there are errors in my article, they reflect errors in the reporting on the embassy in major media and I am glad to have them corrected.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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