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The White House is firmly defending a new policy barring companies from countries opposed to the Iraq war from bidding on $18.6 billion in reconstruction contracts. The Pentagon policy prevents companies from U.S. allies such as France, Germany, Russia, and Canada from bidding on those contracts because their governments opposed the American-led war that ousted Saddam Hussein's regime. Responding to the angry response from several U.S. allies, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday the policy was "appropriate and reasonable." Other nations that want to be eligible for a slice of the $18.6 billion can vie for contracts being financed by a separate international fund that the White House estimates will be worth $13 billion, he said.