Update: To make all this even better, the company who built the Death Star is under investigation for gross human rights abuses while building it. (Hat tip.)

It's almost not-morning now, so I figure everyone's stomachs are settled enough to read about our fancy new Death Star imperialist palace embassy in Iraq, which opens today. It cost $700 million, which the AP writer manages to minimize by calling it merely the "largest embassy ever", which is similar in scope and accuracy to calling the blue whale the largest fish ever. For this blogger at least remembers the plans for the "embassy", which seems less like an embassy and more like a fortress palace.

Construction of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, set to open in September, is projected to cost $592 million, with a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs totaling $1.2 billion a year. It will be a 104-acre complex, which is the size of approximately 80 football fields.

And that was a year ago. You can only imagine how big it is now. Here's another picture from the plans, before they were yanked offline because of "security", which means that the Death Star was an official embarrassment to the Bush administration.

So, we've built a fortress palace in the middle of Baghdad, complete with swimming pools and tennis courts and a 16,000 sq. ft. castle for the ambassador, and we can assume that if we're gacking from the tawdry opulence of it all, your average Baghdad citizen who actually has to look at the thing is fucking thrilled. That's what the Bushies think, anyway.

Addressing an inauguration ceremony under tight security, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the $700 million embassy was testimony to America's long-term friendship with Iraq, where about 146,000 U.S. troops are deployed.

"I think we have seen a tremendous amount of progress, even since September. But the development of this new Iraq is going to be a very long time in the making, and we need to be engaged here," Crocker told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of Monday's opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad......

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a longtime Washington ally, praised President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and topple the regime of Saddam Hussein, who was executed two years ago.

"The building of this site would not be possible without the courageous decision by President Bush to liberate Iraq," said Talabani, a Kurd. "This building is not only a compound for the embassy but a symbol of the deep friendship between the two peoples of Iraq and America."

Okay, so this means that they've got no intention in relinquishing control of Iraq, that it was intended to be a permanent colony of the United States. We all knew that, of course, but pretending that it's a big gesture of friendship to stomp all over a people and take their country is just rubbing salt in the wound. I'm reminded of the song "Polly" by Nirvana, a touching narrative of a delusional kidnapper/rapist who thinks that the woman he's got trapped for repeated rape and abuse somehow has settled into a friendly relationship with him, even as she keeps trying to escape.