$600M U.S. Embassy in Iraq

While politicians debate the length of time American troops and their mammoth military bases will remain in Iraq, construction of a Vatican-size U.S. embassy in the heart of Baghdad signifies a permanent presence is in the cards.

Construction has been ongoing since last summer. According to State Department officials and a progress report for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December, the new embassy will be a fortified compound sitting on 104 acres of American-owned land. Its completion is expected in June 2007 with a price tag of at least $600 million. Read more.

Does such a massive presence send the wrong message?

E-mail us at speakout@foxnews.com and jump into the debate!

Here's what people in the news are saying:

"As far as the size goes...both the president and the secretary of state have said that we are committed to rebuilding Iraq and to restoring the economy and to stabilizing the security. The size of the embassy is in keeping with the goals of we have set for Iraq." — State Department spokesman Justin Higgins

"All of this indicates that we are farther and farther from leaving." — Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

"Such a massive presence may send the wrong message." — Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress

Here's what FOX Fans are saying:

“I don't feel we need a very large embassy in Baghdad. It could give the impression that we're the ‘power behind the throne,’ so to speak.” — Barbara (Homosassa, FL)

“I think we should hold off putting an embassy there. The Iraqi government is shaky, at best. Why be a lightening rod for controversy, when our own state department is advising traveling Americans not to be so ‘arrogant’ overseas?” — Fred

“The embassy in Iraq is worth every penny. The massive presence will show that we have not left the Iraqi people vulnerable and that if they become susceptible to an attack, or violence from the insurgents or some kind of uprising, we will be there to give them a hand. It makes good sense to have an embassy in Iraq.” — Beverly (Georgia, VT)

“It doesn't surprise me at all. Over 50 years after World War II, we are still in Japan and Germany.” — Brian (Ohio)

“I agree with Bill, Ingrid and Phil. We need a strong presence in Iraq and the best way to do this is with a large, secure embassy. I wish we had secure borders at home though. It's time the administration and our politicians took an interest in the U.S. Perhaps we should import some of our illegal aliens to Iraq to build the embassy. Maybe we could even use them to defend it as well! I bet they wouldn't be so eager to sneak across our borders if they knew they would end up in Iraq.” — Lou (Collegeville, PA)

"If that is what it takes to keep a strong presence there, and step on the necks of a few terrorists, so be it. I hope it thoroughly intimidates Iran and Syria. Could someone please remind the Bush administration that terrorism needs to be fought at home starting with our border?” — Laurel (California)

“Shouldn't we make an embassy that is easy and cheap to replace? Considering that it is going to be a major target for the enemy, which I consider all of Iraq to be.” — Karl (Broken Arrow, OK)

“It definitely sends the wrong message! We have been told for the past several years that we were there to help ‘liberate’ the Iraqi people, not occupy. Hasn't the war cost the American people enough? Now they want us to spend $600 million on an oversized embassy? Were we invited by the current government to establish the embassy or did we tell them we were going to do it? By the way, this piece of news seems to me to be a way of attracting more attacks by insurgents.” — Denise

“Considering what this country has spent in terms of lives lost and money spent (in order for the Iraqis to achieve a democracy), I believe we have already sent a proper message to everyone, especially the Syrians and Iranians. A large 'state of the art' embassy would only underline our commitment for years to come.” — Brent (Martinsville, VA)

“It is absolutely essential that we maintain a presence on Iraq. The only way we can keep a wedge between the extremists is to have a strong diplomatic and military capability right in their backyard.” — Bill

“Iraq has taken enough from us and repaid us with disrespect and ingratitude. Enough is enough; this is a disgrace. We need to clean up the immigration mess in our own country, and $600M would go a long way in transporting the illegals back to where came from.” — April (Illinois)

“We as a nation have spent trillions on oil from the Middle East. A large and elaborate embassy indicates we intend to exercise considerable influence in the region. My hope is that we build a few large airfields in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, if we haven't already. The Kurds actually appreciate, and like, the Americans and we may need their help in maintaining a peaceful Iraq, which includes all Iraq's. If Iran continues her path in direct support of terrorism, we will have a place to launch suppressive raids from. I say yes to a large embassy!” — D.G., retired U.S. Army

“Will we never learn? What a waste of money and for what? The author of this project should be identified.” — Don (Ocala, FL)

“I certainly think it may qualify as the latest in a long line of bad, perchance stupid, decisions the Bush administration has made regarding Iraq. I wonder how many times the ‘in progress’ building will be bombed back to its foundation before they get a roof on it.” — Mel

“Having an embassy in a foreign country is fine, but a compound of this nature is sending the wrong message. We’ve claimed repeatedly in the past that we’re not occupiers. But clearly, this embassy is to be a permanent reminder of Iraq’s recent history with the U.S. I can’t believe we’re doing this. I dread what the ramifications will be.” — Jennifer (Austin, TX)

“I’m having a hard time here at home with $3.00 a gallon for gas and the people in Washington are just blowing away this huge amount of our tax money. When are they going to start helping us at home? The lawmakers are insane at times.” — A.B. (Columbus, NJ)

“I think it is utterly ridiculous to expect to expend that much capital for a building and additional resources in Iraq. Why not use what is already there, instead of taking on this task? Our presence in a diplomatic perspective is very important, but not to the extent of another $600 million. We have already, and are continuing to, expend too much on this freedom experiment. If anything like this is done, let's do it with Iraqi funds, not U.S. dollars." — David

“We don't need a 104 acre embassy in Iraq! Also, the price tag is too high! What is our government thinking?” — John (Iowa)

“Yes, this sends the wrong message. If I were an Iraqi, I believe I would think that one dictator is gone (Saddam) with all of his extravagance, and another one is moving in with theirs.” — Don (Waterville, NY)

“This is ridiculous. We have embassies all over the world and we are entitled to have one in Iraq, too. Some people act like it's a big deal, but it's not. As far as the money goes, embassies are expensive especially when considering the cost of security for builders and staff. Plus, the staff will be safer by not living among the Iraqi people until this insurgency is put down, and that will not be for a while. How does this price compare to other embassies? Maybe we need to get all the facts before we jump down people's throats.” — John (Maryland)

“It sends the correct message of no retreat, but also sends a positive message symbolizing a change in emphasis from military presence to mainly diplomatic-civilian presence.” — Lorna

“We need to have a presence in that part of our world. If not, our country faces much more danger from radical Muslims.” — Bruce (Cathlamet, WA)

“The message is clear. We are going to make sure the investment of American soldier's lives is not in vain. It also says that if you mess with the new Iraq, you mess with us. There could be no greater deterrent to threats of an extremist coupe, terrorism, and all who would try to inject themselves into leadership at the expense of democracy. I realize that I am looking through the glasses of democracy and anyone's view of our presence will be colored by their point of view.” — Phil

“The cost will be high, due largely to security requirements. We have been in Germany and Korea for over half a century. In the long run, our presence in Iraq will help relations, especially if the Democrats ever get back in office, as then the media will finally start telling the good being done.” — Michael (Hunt Valley, MD)

“We have embassies in other countries, so why not one in Iraq?” — Pearl (Arkansas)

“Yes, it sends the wrong message. First, to the Iraqi people who don't need Uncle Sam monitoring them, and secondly, to the American people. Why should we foot the bill for such a structure? Bush can't solve the border problem, health insurance or Medicare, but he can spend this money on a building to monitor the Iraqi people like we do in Korea? This is the biggest waste yet, and Congress needs to fire themselves.” — Sandy (Bamberg, SC)

“It's awesome. It's the best step to securing Iraq’s newfound freedom and the best way to securing our own. Plus, it shows the enemy that we are winning.” — Sam

“If we are going to continue having U.S. embassies in countries where there is unrest for whatever reason, then we need to protect our people no matter the cost. Fortification is costly plain and simple.” — Willy

“Yes, it's sends the wrong message. Is it just another palace?” — Georg (Westerville, OH)

“In view of the magnitude of our expenditures and our goal of ensuring a viable democracy in Iraq, we obviously need some sort of permanent presence there. If we're going to put American civilians there on a permanent basis, the properties must be secured. If it costs $600 million to do that, I guess that's what it’s going to cost. It's still a better value than building a bridge to nowhere or any of the many, many other pork-barrel projects of the current Congress. At least it's a step towards achieving an overall national goal and not simply for the re-election of an incumbent congressman or congresswoman. Now, where are the funds to effectively control and defend our borders?” — Phil (Rensselaer, NY)

“Considering what we have already spent in blood to ‘save’ these obviously ungrateful people, I suppose it's in our best interest to permanently occupy a piece of their land. One does hope though, that their politicians will retain their backbones and standup for their true beliefs, not personal enrichment, as ours have already cornered that market.” — Bill (Virginia)

“Yes it does. The size of this compound will remind the Iraqi people that the U.S. is always watching and they had better not screw up. Something less formidable would probably invoke less hostility.” — Mike

We’re spending this money to keep our presence in Iraq, but we can’t spend the money to keep the illegals out of our country? Illegal immigration sometimes brings violence to our own cities. I just don’t get it!” — Ingrid (Crystal Lake, IL)

“This is a slap in the face to the Iraqi people. While they are starving and still lacking basic services, the U.S. has the gall to spend $600 million on an embassy. Typical ‘Bush-ism.’” — Jim (Louisiana)

“If our president requires this, then it is probably because we need to be there fighting the terrorists. The price seems high, but it’s nothing like the deficits that the Democrats have been building for the last 20 years. We will just need more tax cuts to pay for it all since the economy will grow more. Iraq is the war on terror, which some of the Democrats have forgotten. They attacked us on 9/11, not the other way around. In fact, they should pay us for the embassy from all the oil money they are making.” — Chris

“At this time, U.S. presence is necessary. We need to demonstrate that we will still support the new leadership in Iraq after our troop presence has dwindled. We have voiced that we want to better Iraq, and this will aid in our efforts. It shows that we are committed to Iraq’s future.” — Krystal (Sedalia, MO)

“The Bush administration has no business building nations or building embassies of this magnitude anywhere in the world. This money could be use to feed the poor or to help financially impaired people in America. Bush needs to be halted and his programs revisited and viewed in the light of today’s reality, not 9/11 yester year.” — Dan (Clementon, NJ)

“The new embassy in Iraq has nothing to do with rebuilding Iraq. It is to house the military offices and other officials, while our government plans more wars in their campaign to take over the whole Middle East and its oil. Whom do they think they're kidding? They're there to stay until someone bombs them out.” — Claire