Peter Van Buren is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, a sarcastic, funny, sad, angry book about his work for the Department of State as the leader of two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in rural Iraq, 2009-2010. His blog at www.wemeantwell.com continues the story, with daily humor and commentary about Iraq, the Middle East and national security.
Van Buren, a 24-year veteran Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, spent a year in Iraq leading two State Department Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books), published in 2011, the Department of State began termination proceedings against him, reassigning him to a make-work position and stripping him of his security clearance and diplomatic credentials. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department with his full benefits of service.
Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, The New York Times, Salon, NPR, al Jazzeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, al Jazeera, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, CCTV, Voice of America and more.
He is currently working on a second book, about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s. Van Buren describes the work as a blend of Grapes of Wrath, the old Wonder Years TV show and good Bruce Springsteen songs.
Van Buren, along with other Federal whistleblowers like Tom Drake and Jesslyn Radack, is also working closely with Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker James Spione on a new film called SILENCED, due out in 2013.
Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.
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