Fort Apache Baghdad

Assassin's Gate, Baghdad's Green Zone

Image via Wikipedia

The “fortified Green Zone” in the heart of one of Islam’s sacred cities is a symbol of subjugation to millions of Iraqis and Muslims worldwide. Now there is the addition of the new multi-million dollar embassy smack dab in the middle of it all. This is no ordinary embassy mind you– no, this is the biggest US embassy in the world—a sprawling 21 building complex—which houses a small army of diplomats and bureaucrats. It also serves as a depressing reminder to Iraqis of their country’s new foreign administrators.

Ironically the lucrative contract to build this mega-monstrosity was given to a firm from, of all places, Kuwait– the country, along with the US, that millions of Iraqis hold most responsible for their misery and ruin.

Add all of the other forts and checkpoints we’ve constructed throughout the country and, well– pretty humiliating huh? Not exactly the behavior of people who are planning on leaving soon.

Here is what Niccolo Machiavelli had to say about such matters in The Prince:

CHAPTER XX

Are Fortresses, And Many Other Things To Which Princes Often Resort, Advantageous Or Hurtful?

“For this reason the best possible fortress is — not to be hated by the people, because, although you may hold the fortresses, yet they will not save you if the people hate you, for they will never be wanting for foreigners to assist a people who have taken arms against you. It has not been seen in our times that such fortresses have been of use to any prince, unless to the Countess of Forli, when the Count Girolamo, her consort, was killed; for by that means she was able to withstand the popular attack and wait for assistance from Milan, and thus recover her state; and the posture of affairs was such at that time that the foreigners could not assist the people. But fortresses were of little value to her afterwards when Cesare Borgia attacked her, and when the people, her enemy, were allied with foreigners. Therefore it would have been safer for her, both then and before, not to have been hated by the people than to have had the fortresses. All these things considered then, I shall praise him who builds fortresses as well as him who does not, and I shall blame whoever, trusting in them, cares little about being hated by the people.”

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