Peter Van Buren, former State Department Foreign Service Officer in Iraq, discusses the minimal effect 63 billion dollars had on rebuilding Iraq since the 2003 invasion; his experience leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team with lots of cash but very little know-how; putting together laughably unhelpful conferences for hot-button issues like women’s rights; giving large cash handouts to Iraqis while public services in the US went unfunded; the Iraqi government’s minimal control outside major cities, where tribal mafia-like clans reigned; and why Prime Minister Maliki will allow the US occupation to continue, so long as he keeps getting free swag.
MP3 here. (19:59)
Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well. He is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.