Thursday, December 07, 2006

Beauty in Baghdad

I was scrolling through some of the photos I took in Baghdad and came across this one. It is from the Winter of 2003 and is a snap I took of one of the lakes and palaces at Camp Slayer. At that time this was the home of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) which was the agency looking for WMDs. It is a compound of palaces and man made lakes located adjacent to the Baghdad Airport (BIAP). Baath Party HQ and The "Victory Over America" palace are also located here.
The building pictured is what we called the "Perfume Palace". This was Uday and Qusay's private party lodge. At this time it served as the HQ for several Acronym named American Federal Agencies. It had a HUGE indoor swimming pool in the middle of the ground floor and had an atrium which went all the way to the top of the dome. The floors were circular and the inside ring was designed with quest rooms and the outside rings were the rooms for the women they had stashed there.
They entertained Baath Party members and others they wanted to recognize by having alcohol fueled extravaganzas of Baccahnalia which would have made Rome blush. The women mostly were not there by choice. There was the occasional professional hooker from Europe or Asia but for the most part these were pretty Iraqi girls who had made the mistake of catching the eye of one of these power drunken demagogs.
I love the photo though as the sun is setting and I managed to capture all those pink tones reflecting off of the water. A beautiful photo of a terrible place.


Anonymous BWJones said...

There is a fascinating story there behind that place from its beginnings all the way up to its current use. Ah for a clone or two of myself, to be able to research and write about things like this.

1:44 AM  

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