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

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

by Peter Van Buren
3.8 6

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We Meant Well 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down as it showed over and over how ridiculous our "work" is in Iraq. Shouldn't have gone there and shouldn't be there. Hope he can still keep his day job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, through entertaining but shallow anecdotes, documents the excesses of American empire through portraits of daily life as a paper pusher on a military base. He explains how billions were wasted on poorly planned projects that made the country less stable through their messed up economics. It's often funny in a dark way, but lacks a philosophical drive; there's no spark of redemption for anyone, even the Iraqis, and sometimes the funny stories about messing up Iraq feel depressingly nihilist and hopeless.
Anonymous 7 months ago
If you ever wondered why Iraq remains such a disaster this book is a great place to start.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've had the opportunity to talk to several people who were also "there" (served in different PRTs) and so far, the consensus is that this book is generally, sadly, accurate. Perhaps a blog site limited to those who could prove a PRT credential would be cathartic. Of course, the institution is pushing back and wants to pretend it was qualified (it wasn't) to undertake the mission. You've probably guessed by now, I'm a PRT vet. From the mention of the "undisclosed" West Virginia training site, the reader is somewhat mislead into thinking the PRT experience was somewhat more "high speed" than it was. The training site was a weekend road warrior race way, not hidden in any way. What I found mindless about the experience was that we were training to drive when we wouldn't be allowed to drive except from our CHUs to the DFAC (on base and with a 5 MPH speed limit) when it was too hot. Now, I guess the experience of knowing how to Y turn (I talked my instructor into letting me J turn when no one was looking) might be valuable when the SST was blocking the road (S. Sucking Truck). Something that struck me about the driving training (it was expensive) was that I had colleagues who could really use this training in many of the dung holes that we foreign service officers serve in. A generally light and easy read, the book is more a vignette collection than a story and won't make it to any sort of "high literature" category in the future. Read it if you are curious about the topic but don't plan on putting the book on your bookshelf. Best buy: the e-reader version as you can just delete it when you are done (can we just delete the whole Iraq and Afghanistan nation building debacle?).