We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
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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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - DeaconBernie - LibraryThing
This is a very difficult book to review. Taking the author at his word that this is a true account of his year in Iraq, one is struck by the disconnect with what we know and what we think we know ... Read full review
WE MEANT WELL: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi PeopleUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Laugh-out-loud stories about how the United States failed to rebuild Iraq.After 2005, the State Department suddenly received orders to reconstruct the country. In the loop after years of neglect, it ... Read full review
A Home in the Desert
Caring about Trash
A Story of Local Politics
A Torturous Lunch
The Doura Art Show
Promises to Keep
What Victory Looks Like
Some Chick Event
Widowed Tractors Bees for Widows
Other editions - View all
We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the ...
Peter Van Buren
No preview available - 2012