Contractors reap 85 bln dlrs from Iraq war: US report

WASHINGTON, August 15, 2008 (AFP) – The US government paid out 85 billion dollars in four years to contractors providing services to various government agencies in support of the Iraq war and reconstruction, a survey showed. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report said the administration of US President George W. Bush awarded 85-billion-dollars in contracts between 2003 and 2007, or over 21 billion dollars annually.

CBO researchers found that the funds paid out to government contractors, including security, transportation and engineering contractors and administration specialists among others, accounted for almost 20 percent of the total funding for Washington’s operations in Iraq during this period.

The US-led invasion of Iraq occurred in March 2003, as US troops poured into the country to topple the government of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Tens of thousands of American troops remain based in Iraq, although fighting between US soldiers, Iraqi insurgents and other groups appears to have eased this year.

The contracts covered services provided in the “Iraq theater,” which includes neighboring countries to Iraq such as Saudi Arabia and other nearby states such as Qatar, where the US mil