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. His first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, was published in 2011, and his latest book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, has just been published.
Iraqis have a saying: “The rug is never sold”—meaning that there’s always more money to be made from any transaction. American defense contractors would agree.
Four months into Iraq War 3.0, the cracks are showing—on the battlefield and in Washington.
The US is at war in the Middle East, again. What could possibly go wrong?
After more than two decades of empty declarations of victory in Iraq, “success,” however defined, is impossible.
According to a recently declassified Justice Department white paper, the president can serve as judge, jury and executioner.
Since 9/11, the government has ceaselessly violated our constitutional rights—none more so than the right to privacy.
Since 9/11, power-hungry political leaders have eviscerated the First Amendment—and we’ve allowed them to do it.
A super-wealthy few have successfully defeated all of their rivals—unions, the media, honest politicians, environmentalists—and now are free to do as they wish.
The cumulative effects of years of deindustrialization, weakened unions and soaring inequality have fundamentally reordered the country.
Taxpayers are basically moneylenders to a government that is far more interested in subsidizing business than in caring for their workers.