Consul-At-Arms posted this piece this morning. Our tax dollars at work. What I hear them saying, as someone who has to serve in those embassies, is "we realize the newer embassies are safer, but we'd really rather them look pretty like they used to." By the way, I served in one of those older consulates, with a nice wall that matched the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. It looked nice, but someone threw a grenade over it into our courtyard. Luckily it was a dud, or we might have had to get an ugly new "cookie cutter" building instead of just a fence on top of our nice wall.
re: "Congress investigates "Fortress America"
Mike Boyer at PASSPORT ("A blog by the editors of FOREIGN POLICY") has some news which may eventually impact all of us who serve the U.S. in diplomatic and consular capacities.
"Tomorrow, Jan. 23, the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on the future of U.S. embassies overseas entitled, "Fortress America Abroad: Effective Diplomacy and the Future of U.S. Embassies." "
Clearly they begin without any prior bias.
". . . . how the architecture of U.S. diplomatic facilities has changed since the bombing of the American missions in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998."
At least they remembered why the architecture had to change.
"Much of the hearing will likely focus on the new embassy in Baghdad. But it also promises to look into why the design of U.S. missions around the world has undergone such a radical transformation—not just in Baghdad but in Cape Town, Dushanbe, Kabul, and elsewhere. The boldly individual designs of embassies during the Cold War have given way to cookie-cutter buildings that follow a set formula the State Department calls "Standard Embassy Design." This has a massive impact on the way the United States is seen overseas, yet it has provoked surprisingly little serious discussion until now."