The Bush Administration has decided to ban countries that did not support the war in Iraq from bidding on $18.6 billion in contracts to rebuild the country, according to a directive released Tuesday.
The administration said the ruling is not designed to punish and should not slow efforts to win support. An unidentified Pentagon official said banned nations can still send troops or money and become eligible: "We'd welcome their support."
The ruling, in a memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, excludes Russia, Germany, France and other non-members of the coalition from bidding on one of the most ambitious reconstruction projects since the end of World War II. It is the strongest U.S. retaliation yet against war opponents.
Wolfowitz said it was necessary "for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States" to limit the competition. His Dec. 5 policy memo was posted yesterday on the Web site of the Project Management Office, a new Pentagon-run group overseeing the award of U.S.-funded reconstruction contracts.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the policy a "totally gratuitous slap" that "does nothing to protect our security interests and everything to alienate countries we need with us in Iraq."Posted by tstubbs at December 10, 2003 10:25 AM | Trackback