National

Bits and pieces of U.S. time in Iraq are sold off

FALLUJAH, Iraq — The remnants of the U.S. occupation of Iraq are being sold to the highest bidders in yard sales across the country.

The outskirts of cities like Baghdad, Fallujah and Ramadi — once bastions of the Sunni insurgency — are now destinations for bargain hunters interested in items such as generators and trailers. As the U.S. military draws down to 50,000 troops by the end of the summer, the junk left behind is quickly becoming part of the Iraqi landscape.

Families buy $1,000 trailers once fashioned into sleeping quarters for soldiers and Marines. Base latrines have become cheaper alternatives to traditional dwellings made of brick and concrete. Air-conditioner units and large generators that can stave off Iraq's blistering summers are sold at half-price.

Merchants say they come across the loot in different ways. Some was found, some was stolen and some was sold to them. Much of it, they say, was just given away.

U.S. officials worry that much of the tens of millions of dollars worth of U.S. equipment being handed over to the Iraqi government is quickly stolen. Under federal law, U.S. agencies must show that no other division in the government needs equipment before it can be donated or left behind.

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