Little found spent on Iraq reconstruction

Aug. 6, 2008 at 7:34 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Revelations that Iraq has banked $79 billion in unspent oil revenues instead of using the funds on reconstruction is "inexcusable," two U.S. senators say.

Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John Warner, R-Va., said Tuesday it is unfair for the United States to fund Iraqi reconstruction projects when an investigation found, among other things, that Iraq has spent only $3.9 billion on critical infrastructure while U.S. taxpayers have contributed $23.2 billion since 2003, The New York Times reported.

"The Iraqi government now has tens of billions of dollars at its disposal to fund large-scale reconstruction projects," the senators said in a joint statement. "It is inexcusable for U.S. taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves."

Other items revealed in the General Accounting Office report on Iraq include revelations that Iraq spent 28 percent of its $12 billion reconstruction budget, with $2 billion of the spending taking place in the relatively peaceful Kurdish region; and that from 2005-07, Iraq spent only 1 percent of its operating budget to maintaining reconstruction projects that had been built with either U.S. or Iraqi money, the Times reported.

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