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

ISBN: 9780805096811 | 0805096817
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Pub. Date: 8/21/2012

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"One diplomat's darkly humorous and ultimately scathing assault on just about everything the military and State Department have doneor tried to dosince the invasion of Iraq. The title says it all." The New York Times 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 cafes 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 surgethat 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 writerand readersappalled and disillusioned, but wiser.

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