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BACKGROUND REPORT - April 7, 2003: Rebuilding Iraq - 2003-04-07

This is a VOA Special English Background Report.

Food, clean water, medicine, electric power, fuel and other kinds of aid are already greatly needed in Iraq. The war is not over, yet international debate has already begun about the best method of aiding the Iraqi people.

Some experts say the cost of helping Iraq will be similar to the rebuilding of Europe after World War Two. They say that rebuilding Iraq could cost as much as one-hundred-thousand-million dollars. This would include helping a new government begin its work as well as rebuilding airports, schools, roads, oil wells and repairing other war related damage.

This amount of money could mean huge profits for companies willing to help rebuild Iraq. Several European countries and businesses have already expressed interest in the job. Some American companies are already working in Iraq. They are quickly rebuilding Iraqi ports and putting out oil field fires.

Some members of the Bush Administration say that American businesses should have the first chance to re build Iraq because the United States paid most of the war costs. President Bush has said the American government and private American companies will help Iraq become a free, democratic country with a healthy, growing economy.

The Bush administration has chosen Former American Army general Jay Garner to lead the effort to form a new Iraqi government. He is aided in this effort by exiled Iraqi leaders. Other members of his group include diplomats, retired military officers and several British officials.

The group meets almost every day in Kuwait. Group members reportedly agree that future aid programs should make use of United Nations agencies that have experience in such work. Members of the planning group also agree to involve the United Nations World Food Program. The U-N Food Program has the ability to move food quickly to the place where it is needed the most.

Critics have said it would be a mistake for the United States to restrict other countries from helping to rebuild Iraq. The critics say the United States may be seen as nothing more than an occupying military force if it tries to act without international help. They say this could create more problems in the area.