THE PLANK MAY 30, 2007
Just try not to let the flak jacket cramp your backhand:
Take a look, for instance, at the embassy's "pool house", as imagined by BDY. You will see palm trees dotted around it, the expansive lawns, and those tennis courts discreetly in the background. For an American official not likely to leave the constricted, heavily fortified, 6.4-kilometer-square Green Zone during a year's tour of duty, practicing his or her serve (on the taxpayer's dollar) is undoubtedly no small thing.
Admittedly, it may be hard to take that refreshing dip or catch a few sets of tennis in Baghdad's heat if the present order for all US personnel in the Green Zone to wear flak jackets and helmets at all times remains in effect - or if, as in the present palace/embassy, the pool (as well as ping-pong tables) is declared, thanks to increasing mortar and missile attacks, temporarily "off limits". In that case, more time will probably be spent in the massive, largely windowless-looking recreation center, one of more than 20 blast-resistant buildings BDY has planned.
[Thanks to reader JT]
P.S. Reminder: Our own Michael Currie Schaffer was on the new embassy case last week.