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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Hiring Iraqis in Iraq

August 10, 2004

Re "The Hand-Over That Wasn't," Commentary, Aug. 5: Why don't we require Bechtel and Halliburton et al to hire a huge number of Iraqi workers for the war reconstruction efforts? The Iraqi people need the work, cost much less, speak the language, know the technology and incite fewer insurgents.

But hiring Iraqis is difficult. So, as Antonia Juhasz points out, Paul Bremer's rules allow our contractors to hire impoverished Army reservists at huge salaries who are barely qualified and inflame the locals. If our American contractors had a 75% Iraqi workforce, the lights would be on in Baghdad and our troops would be heading home. And I didn't even mention the words "war reparation."

Ron Williams

San Juan Capistrano

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