Valerie's Reviews > We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People

We Meant Well by Peter Van Buren
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's review
Nov 09, 2011

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bookshelves: 2010-12-washington, middle-east, american-histories
Read in November, 2011

Van Buren is really angry. Also bitter. Cynical. Possibly depressed. But he's also quite funny (multiple laugh-out-loud moments) and a keen observer. Except that Iraq is much, much wealthier than Afghanistan, much of this book could have been set there, for its critique of top-down strategies, Congressionally-mandated nonsense projects, self-absorbed bureaucrats, and the complete odd-couple mismatch of civ-mil partnerships. Made me nostalgic.

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