We Meant Well How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People

ISBN-10: 0805096817

ISBN-13: 9780805096811

Edition: 2011

Authors: Peter Van Buren

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"One diplomat's darkly humorous and ultimately scathing assault on just about everything the military and State Department have done—or tried to do—since the invasion of Iraq. The title says it all."—The New York TimesCharged 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 that lack water and electricity?As Peter Van Buren shows, we bought all these projects and more in the most expensive hearts-and-minds campaign since the Marshall Plan.We Meant Wellis 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.A work of "scathing, gallows humor" (The Boston Globe),We Meant Wellis a tragicomic voyage of ineptitude and corruption that leaves its writer—and readers—appalled and disillusioned, but wiser.
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Book details

List price: $19.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Publication date: 8/21/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 5.52" wide x 8.14" long x 0.81" tall
Weight: 0.858
Language: English

Peter Van Burenhas served overseas as a State Department officer for more than two decades in places like Thailand, Japan, and Iraq, among others. When not on assignment, he lives in northern Virginia. This is his first book.

Help Wanted, No Experience Necessary
Inhaling: Arriving in Iraq
A Home in the Desert
Unexpected Blows: Day One with My Team
Money and Our Meth Habit
Caring about Trash
Water and Sewage
Democracy in Iraq: A Story of Local Politics
Milking the US Government
A Torturous Lunch
One Too Many Mornings
Haircuts and Prostitution
A Break for Dinner
Humanitarian Assistance
The Doura Art Show
Three Colonels
Some Chick Event
Widowed Tractors, Bees for Widows
Chicken Shit
Midcourse Correction
The Embassy Lawn, Where the Grass Is Always Greener
Economic Conference Blues
Spooky Dinner
The Day after a Day at the Embassy
Soldier Talk
General Anxiety
Everyone Was Looking the Other Way
Promises to Keep
Dairy Carey
4-H Club Comes to Iraq
Seeing the Dragon
Missing Him
What Victory Looks Like
Exhaling: Leaving Iraq
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