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

Views
Monday, July 17, 2017
How to Sustain Perpetual War? Easy: Hide the Bodies
Sustaining America’s state of post-9/11 perpetual war requires skillful manipulation of the public at home. The key tool used for this purpose is the bloodless narrative, a combination of policy, falsehoods and media manipulation that creates the impression that America’s wars have few consequences...
Read more
Views
Thursday, May 18, 2017
The Human Price of Trump's Wars
“My guilt will never go away,” former Marine Matthew Hoh explained to me. “There is a significant portion of me that doesn't believe it should be allowed to go away, that this pain is fair.” If America accepts the idea of fighting endless wars, it will have to accept something else as well: that...
Read more
Views
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Flashback! Questions from the Last Time America was Supposed to "Take Out" Assad
History is a funny thing, because we forget it so easily, and so quickly. That forgetting is usually based on the political needs of the moment, and politicians and the media count on us being that way so they can manipulate us. Works nearly every time, too. One of the latest versions of this is...
Read more
Views
Thursday, February 09, 2017
Dark Threads of Immigration in America
For those who say “This is not who we are,” well, look again. It all seems to be exactly who we are and have been. President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers, immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries is only the latest twist of dark threads that have always...
Read more
Views
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Symbolic Failure Point: Female Afghan Pilot Wants Asylum In The US
History loves little markers, tidy packages of symbolism that wrap up a big, complex thing. You know, the helicopter on the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon standing in for years of failed war, the Berlin Wall being knocked down to visually note the end the Cold War, that sort of thing. Well...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Looking Ahead: Clinton’s Plans for Syria
Hillary Clinton has a plan for defeating Islamic State in Syria. Donald Trump has one, too. With the conflict in Syria spreading beyond its borders, it’s essential to understand the new president’s strategies – and how they may need to be adjusted over the next four years. Trump: Safe Zones Trump...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Does Free College Threaten Our All-Volunteer Military?
Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what writer Benjamin Luxenberg, on military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes deeper than Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are as a nation. Unlike nearly every other developed country , which...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
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...
Read more
Views
Monday, September 19, 2016
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:...
Read more
Views
Monday, July 25, 2016
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...
Read more

Pages