Bush Has Audacious Plan to Rebuild Iraq Within Year
Wall Street Journal, 17 March, WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's audacious plan to rebuild Iraq envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported.
The Bush plan, as detailed in more than 100 pages of confidential contract documents, would sideline United Nations (news - web sites) development agencies and other multilateral organizations that have long directed reconstruction efforts in places such as Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Kosovo. The plan also would leave big nongovernmental organizations largely in the lurch: With more than $1.5 billion in Iraq work being offered to private U.S. companies under the plan, just $50 million is so far earmarked for a small number of groups such as CARE and Save the Children.
Washington is under international pressure to broaden a postwar rebuilding effort, even as it continues to do battle with traditional allies over the merits of launching a war on Iraq. The administration recently has signaled it may seek down the road to give the U.N. and other countries a larger role. President Bush (news - web sites), after a one-hour summit in the Azores Islands, said yesterday that if it comes to war he plans to "quickly seek new Security Council resolutions to encourage broad participation in the process of helping the Iraqi people to build a free Iraq."
But U.N. officials said they still have no clear indication how the administration might involve the international body, especially if many of the large rebuilding tasks are already farmed out to U.S. companies directly answerable to Washington.