Rebuilding Iraq?

The U.S. Congress appropriated $18.4 billion dollars in 2003 for relief, construction, and rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, only 27 cents of every dollar is likely to directly benefit the Iraqi people. The lion’s share of the funds is eaten up providing security for foreign contractors, such as Halliburton and Bechtel. Little more than a quarter of the money goes to the rebuilding of schools and roads, setting up election infrastructure, and the restoration of electricity and clean water facilities. Follow the money:

• $18.4 billion: total funds allocated by Congress in 2003 for rebuilding Iraq.

• 30% ($5.52 billion) goes to security for foreign contractors.

• 15% ($2.76 billion) is lost to "corruption, fraud, and mismanagement."

• 12% ($2.2 billion) goes to insurance and foreign workers’ salaries.

• $3.6 billion is the total U.S. military expense in Iraq each month.

• $13 billion is the additional annual amount necessary to meet the basic health and nutrition needs of the world’s poorest people.

Sources: Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Los Angeles Times, and Bread for the World.

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Sojourners Magazine January 2005
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