'Losing the Battle for Hearts and Minds' in Iraq

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The U.S. put much of its global credibility on the line with its invasion and occupation of Iraq. The reconstruction program of subsequent years has been marred by violence, instability in the Iraqi government, the influence of Iran, and millions of American dollars either unaccounted for or wasted. In 2009, Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren spent a year in Baghdad working for the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team, where he oversaw efforts to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure.

In his new book, "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People," Van Buren chronicles his experience in Iraq, and charges that many of the reconstruction efforts there are misguided, wasteful, or flat-out failures.

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