Plans Taking Shape for Reconstruction of Iraq

Administration officials have outlined a large-scale plan for transforming Iraq after the country has been pacified.

In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 11, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman said that the "United States does not support Iraq’s disintegration" and intends "to begin the process of economic and political reconstruction, working to put Iraq on a path to become prosperous and free."

On January 20, Bush assigned the planning for the Iraq’s reconstruction and rehabilitation to a new Pentagon department, the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, headed by retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner.

A new legal system for Iraq is already being drafted. "In the legal field, Iraqi lawyers and the transitional justice working group have drafted 600 pages in Arabic of proposed reforms in the criminal code, the criminal procedure code, the civil code, nationality laws and military procedures and more so that there is a functioning body of law if there is regime change," said Grossman.

Why is this necessary? "We have no legal profession [in Iraq] in the classic sense. You can only study law if you take an oath of loyalty to Saddam," testified Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cost estimates for the reconstruction of Iraq range widely, some topping $100 billion. The money won’t necessarily come from Iraqi oil revenues, Eric Schwartz of the Council on Foreign Relations told Senate Foreign Relations on March 11. "Much of the revenue is already being used for humanitarian purposes under oil-for-food," he said "Secondly, large oil capacity and production increases, which might generate greater revenues, are many years away."

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the House on February 27 that some reports have over-estimated the number of troops that will be needed in the post-war occupation. "Some of the higher-end predictions that we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark," he said. He did not provide his own estimate, but noted that many countries have expressed interest in helping to rebuild Iraq.