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- December 14, 2020 at 2:08 pm #4621Dora TurnboleGuest
We Meant Well
How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
by Peter Van Buren
- ISBN: 9780805094367 (0805094369)
- Genres: history, politics, war, memoir
- Language: english
- Release date: September 27, 2011
- Author: Peter Van Buren
- Format: hardcover, 288 pages
- Publisher: Metropolitan Books
About The Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title
From a State Department insider, the first account of our blundering efforts to rebuild Iraq — a shocking and rollicking true-life tale of Americans abroad
Charged with rebuilding Iraq, would you spend taxpayer money on a sports mural in Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhood to promote reconciliation through art? How about an isolated milk factory that cannot get its milk to market? Or a pastry class training women to open cafés on bombed-out streets without water or electricity?
According to Peter Van Buren, we bought all these projects and more in the most expensive hearts-and-minds campaign since the Marshall Plan. We Meant Well is his eyewitness account of the civilian side of the surge — that surreal and bollixed attempt to defeat terrorism and win over Iraqis by reconstructing the world we had just destroyed. Leading a State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team on its quixotic mission, Van Buren details, with laser-like irony, his yearlong encounter with pointless projects, bureaucratic fumbling, overwhelmed soldiers, and oblivious administrators secluded in the world’s largest embassy, who fail to realize that you can’t rebuild a country without first picking up the trash.
Darkly funny while deadly serious, We Meant Well is a tragicomic voyage of ineptitude and corruption that leaves its writer — and readers — appalled and disillusioned but wiser.
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