A proposal recently landed on my desk. It was a business opportunity, a chance for the ministry to invest in a daring new real estate development. The pitch, from the U.S. Defense Department, went something like this:
"War-torn Iraqi capital seeks investors for luxury hotels, upscale retail outlets, high-end condominiums and an amusement park. Must be willing to tolerate blistering heat, sandstorms and daily mortar attacks."
For further details on this 100 percent real plan that the Pentagon has cooked up, I urge you to read the story here. In addition to battling a years-long insurrection, it seems the Pentagon has been drawing up these blueprints as part of its five-year, $5 billion development "dream list" for the Green Zone, which of late has come under almost daily rocket and mortar fire as conditions in Baghdad have deteriorated. For a frame of reference on the Pentagon's desired timeline, it was roughly five years ago that President Bush declared "mission accomplished" in the Iraq war.
I gave this investment opportunity all the consideration it merited. But as enticing as the idea of a "Tigris Woods Golf and Country Club" was (the Pentagon's name, not mine), I decided to move on to more plausible endeavors. You know, things like offers for affordable swampland and investment deals from Nigerian princes with long e-mail addresses.