Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

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 new book is We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books).

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - 12:45pm
For $178 Million, the US Could Pay for One Fighter Plane – or 3,358 Years of College
Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what Benjamin Luxenberg, on the military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes beyond Luxenberg's practical query, striking deep into who we are and what we will be as a nation. Unlike nearly every other developed...
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Monday, September 19, 2016 - 9:15am
It’s Personal: Apologizing to My Daughter for the Last 15 Years of War
I recently sent my last kid off for her senior year of college. There are rituals to such moments, and because dad-confessions are not among them, I just carried boxes and kept quiet. But what I really wanted to say to her -- rather than see you later, call this weekend, do you need money? -- was:...
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Monday, July 25, 2016 - 11:45am
Defeating Islamic Terrorism. Here’s How…
As terrorism struck again in Nice and Germany and… Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full declaration of war from Congress, the first such formal invocation since Pearl Harbor. Trump was short on specifics but very clear he would take the...
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Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:30pm
At Cleveland Repub Convention, ‘First Amendment Zones’ Will Detain Protesters Far Away From Trump
Once upon a time, all of America was a First Amendment Zone. That’s now as dead as Alexander Hamilton. The city of Cleveland revealed part of its security plan for the Nuremberg rally Republican National Convention. Securing the convention will require a heavily policed, fenced off 3.3 square-mile...
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Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 9:45am
New Service Sends Summaries of Your Social Media to Landlords, Employers to 'Assess' You
Here’s a shout out to all of you who said “If I’ve got nothing to hide I’ve got nothing to fear” after the Snowden revelations. And this little gem deals only with publicly available information about you. Imagine what it’s like when it gets into the good stuff you think is private. An Orwellian...
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Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 2:30pm
The FBI ‘Missed’ Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen. What Should We Do?
If I had to choose one phrase to sum up America’s efforts against terrorism since 9/11, it would be that lay definition of mental illness, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Following 9/11 we had to go after the terrorists in their dark lairs. So we did, in Afghanistan...
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 12:30pm
Obama and the Myth of Hiroshima
On May 27, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the site of the world’s first atomic bombing. Though highly photogenic, the visit was otherwise one that avoided acknowledging the true history of the place. Like his official predecessors (...
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Monday, May 16, 2016 - 10:00am
The Snapchat Version of American Victory
One of the most popular apps these days is Snapchat. It allows the sender to set a timer for any photo dispatched via the app, so that a few seconds after the recipient opens the message, the photo is automatically deleted. The evidence of what you did at that party last night is seen and then...
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Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 9:15am
Another Way the Rich Get Richer: Their Parents Give Them Obscene Amounts of Money Nearly Tax-Free
It’d be great if we were all self-made men, like Citizen Trump. Of course, his self-making, like that of many wealthy people, is based in large part on a wealthy parent giving him a ton of money. Why work for a living when you can just hang around drinking single malt until daddy dies and leaves...
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Monday, May 9, 2016 - 1:45pm
For Upcoming Conventions, Secret Service Aims to Handcuff First Amendment
Thomas Jefferson said that an informed citizenry is critical to a democracy, and with that as a cornerstone the Founders wrote freedom of the press into the First Amendment to the Constitution. The most basic of ideas at play is that the government should in no way be allowed to control what...
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