This is disgusting. Forget the rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and lack of a sewer system. Now try to imagine luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad. That's all part of a five-year development "dream list" — or what some dub an improbable fantasy — to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a centerpiece for Baghdad's future. But the $5 billion plan has the backing of the Pentagon and apparently the interest of some deep pockets in the world of international hotels and development, the lead military liaison for the project told the Associated Press. Ackerman has a nice takedown here. And let's not forget that while particularly ostentatious, this development trend is nothing new. What kind of digs do the 600,000 deployed American service members inhabit? U.S. military bases, Gillem writes, “combine the sprawling and segregated patterns of suburbs, the social control so prevalent in nineteenth-century company towns, and the fear-driven enclosure of twentieth-century gated communities.” Through an overview of planning data and case studies of three diverse military bases, he shows that contemporary American outposts are auto-focused, extensively lawned, filled with chain retailers and restaurants, and haphazardly ordered. Features like conformity, consumption and golf dominate the lives of troops overseas, just as they do for their stateside suburban counterparts.
Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.