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Baghdad, Iraq

Victory Over America Palace

This former monument to an invented Iraqi victory was turned into a military camp during the subsequent invasion 

Hubris made manifest in reinforced concrete, the Victory Over America Palace squats by an artificial lake next to Baghdad Airport. Saddam Hussein built the monument to commemorate his very dubious “victory” over the United States in the 1991 Gulf War.

The palace was never completed as construction was held back by economic sanctions and further hindered by bombing of the construction site. After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the palace complex was taken over by the U.S. Marines and integrated into the new Camp Slayer. The unfinished palace served the Americans as a military base rather better than it ever did Saddam. As with all of Saddam’s former palaces, the Victory Over America Palace became something of a tourist spot for the Marines. The photo opportunities, after all, were irresistible.

Today, the palace complex has been handed back to the Iraqi Government, and the Victory Over America Palace still stands, what there is of it, in any case. It is likely to remain forever incomplete, a lasting monument to a triumph which never was. In a similar act of architectural hubris, A Victory Over Iran Palace, similarly dilapidated, sits nearby and the two buildings are often confused as one.

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