Whoops! US forgets to build housing for reconstruction staff in Iraq
Michael Roston
Published: Wednesday May 16, 2007
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The State Department has failed to build enough housing in its new embassy in Baghdad to accommodate key staff dealing with the reconstruction of Iraq and other tasks. The staff members must currently live in poorly secured housing that is not protected from attacks originating outside of the Green Zone. The report appears in today's Washington Post.

"Problem seems to be that the original plans didn't account for hundreds of staff working in reconstruction, development, the inspector general's office and other security programs, who, though considered temporary, will need, at least for a few years, somewhere to live," writes Al Kamen in his "In The Loop" column.

Kamen adds that the embassy staff are currently living in housing that is not secured from terrorist attacks.

"Embassy employees, now living in trailers with no overhead protection, are getting increasingly jittery over mortar and rocket attacks," he writes. "New guidelines tell them to wear helmets and flak jackets when walking in the open. But some employees, sleeping in those tin-can trailers, apparently would actually like to take off the helmets and jackets while they're in bed."

The Post columnist seems to suggest that the Department of State could be hearing about the oversight in the near-term.

"Worst of all, there's no provision for rooms for congressional delegations or other distinguished guests coming to shop in the famed markets," he wrote.

The full column can be read at this link.