This is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.
The reconstruction of Iraq is a major undertaking. The World Bank estimates that after decades of theft and mismanagement by the Saddam Hussein regime, Iraq needs between fifty-five billion and sixty-billion dollars to restore its economy.
Mehdi al-Hafedh is Iraq’s minister of planning. He says, “the most important challenge is the heritage of the former regime. . . .There are. . . .billions of dollars of debts. There is the problem of. . . .a destroyed economy.”
Through its Partnership for Prosperity program, the U.S. has committed almost nineteen-billion dollars to be used to re-build Iraq’s infrastructure. By the time Iraq regains its sovereignty on June 30th, fifty-thousand Iraqis will be working in jobs funded by the partnership.
More than one hundred-forty Iraqi-owned companies have been awarded Partnership for Prosperity contracts. Employment for Iraqis will involve construction and repair activities in the electric power, water resources, transportation and communications sectors. Others will work to improve security, health facilities, and schools.
President George W. Bush says, “The work of building a new Iraq is hard, and it is right”:
“As democracy takes hold in Iraq, the enemies of freedom will do all in their power to spread violence and fear. They are trying to shake the will of our country and our friends, but the United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins. The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom.”
Improving Iraq’s economy, says planning minister Mehdi al-Hafedh, will lead to “the creation of a good environment for a better and new Iraq.” The Partnership for Prosperity, says Mr. Al-Hafedh “will help Iraq to reduce...dangers and to limit the challenges that face the country.”