• LaSalle Students Get An Insider’s View of Iraq’s Reconstruction

    March 4, 2013

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iraq

    LaSalle University in Philadelphia was kind enough to host me last week as part of their continuing series of “Diplomats in Residence.” The CBS affiliate in Philly wrote a nice story on my talk to the students:

    La Salle University students heard a scathing account of America’s counterinsurgency effort in Iraq, from a former State Department officer who wrote about his year in the program.

    The speaker’s darkly funny account could have been disheartening but the students found it a valuable lesson.

    Peter Van Buren can sound like a cynic, with his tales of billions spent in Iraq on projects such as sheep for widows and art shows that provided little more than photo ops for U.S. officials, but the reason he gave at LaSalle for writing and speaking about his experience is decidedly idealistic.

    As Van Buren says, “You all have the chance to not do this again.”

    He has suffered for his candor. It cost him his job after the State Department conducted a campaign to discredit him. But Van Buren got his message across to the students.

    “Hopefully, looking at what happened in the past, we can do things right and figure out how to connect with the people better.” He adds, “We won’t make the same mistakes. We see what we do wrong and we make sure not to do it again. We need to make sure that history does not repeat itself.”

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  • Recent Comments

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      re: “We need to make sure that history does not repeat itself””

      1. Mark Twain was correct when he said, “History never repeats itself, but it rhymes.”

      2. Chesterton: “The World does not progress, it wobbles.”

      But as for PVB’s visit to La Salle, I might as well share this celebration of the good welcome he received, since the Empire already knows who I am! ;-): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTw7SYd05vc

      03/4/13 2:45 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      PS to my above comment, here’s some more Philadelphia Soul – this one being even more appropriate for PVB, the O’Jays’ “BACKSTABBERS”!:


      03/4/13 2:53 PM | Comment Link

    • JVC said...


      Good job PVB. Probably the best lecture on foreign policy those students are going to get.

      03/4/13 3:49 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “You all have the chance to not do this again.”

      Cool. I told my dog he has a chance to not shit on the rug again when it’s raining outside.


      03/4/13 4:08 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Dog crap is a lot easier to clean up. This shit is gonna take some time…

      03/4/13 4:12 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps. Good for you PVB. Vs the DoS. I can just hear Kerry telling Karzai the same thing. Hahahahahahahahaha!

      03/4/13 4:21 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “This shit is gonna take some time…”

      you betcha. The U.S. of Asshole will take a shitload of buttwipe.


      03/4/13 4:27 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Pitch wrote:

      “The U.S. of Asshole will take a shitload of buttwipe”…

      …it’s a long term, ambivalent affair between the Empire and its unrequited lovers. Its essence is this, the essence of the American Empire and its enthusiastic but unrequited lovers. (Looking especially at England, a nation with a long history of unrequited buggery):


      03/4/13 5:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “We won’t make the same mistakes. We see what we do wrong and we make sure not to do it again. “We won’t be fooled again.”


      State has been at this insanity since 1963. If you really believe change is possible, I gather you are a big fan of Lindsey Lohan and Charley Sheen.

      03/4/13 6:41 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Rich Bauer said…
      “If you really believe change is possible, I gather you are a big fan of Lindsey Lohan and Charley Sheen.” unquote

      Yeah, well hope springs eternal..or some such shit.

      Speaking of eternal hope and big fans, I bear great fucking tidings. First off, big fans. Like big fans of George Dumb Ass Bush. Welllllllll…. I’ve got a great big ole sooprise for that portion of America that thought GWB was god himself..you know who I’m talkin bout, right? That dimwits “portion” of the american population I speak of here, is the exact same portion of America that would have you killed had you spoke out against the BUSH REGIME, the Irag War, the Military, especially our beloved troooooooops, the Torture, the Murder, the Genocide, Quantanamo, Detainee justice, illegal Corporate Surveillance, the NSA, the CIA, waving American Flags, Mom & Dad, Apple pie, or any other goddamned “american value” that made you either “with us..or with them” bullshit.

      Right. Well….ummm, let’s do this.

      Dear Portion of America that LOVES George W. Bush.

      I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, pal, but guess what? All this time you were wandering around that Parallel Universe of War Criminals dujour, certain homo sapiens back here on earth didn’t think that shit they were doing was cool. In fact, they spent five long years lookin at all that shit. And you know what shit I’ma talkin about, right?…like..oh..I don’t know..maybe like kidnapping a couple a hundred human beings, and..ahem..”rendering” to some god forsaken third world US supported dictatorship dungeon, where, oh amongst other things, the best thugs Amerika had to offer, did their best to pay homage to deSade on their bodys, minds, and psychi. Oh, and meanwhile, our good ole military, god bless their good ole pea picken hearts, are having a good ole time butchering men, women, children..hey..by the thousands, give 100k plus or minus, too.
      Oh, lest we forget our good ole DoS too, think of all those speeches and good tidings our beloved State Department hero reaped on those wretched souls all over the world. You know..that We Meant Well shit. Yeah, they goofed. Over and over and over..like to the tune of how many trillion bucks?
      Well, frankly, I haven’t got the time, space, or desire to list the thousands of things ole Bushiboy did during his tenure at the helm, but I think you get the picture. After all, YOU were the cheering squad during ALL THAT SHIT, right?. Right.

      Weeeeeeeeeell…. SOOPRIZE SOOPRIZE SOOPRIZE! Yo lovin war criminal masquarading as a dumb ass POTUS done sent himself and his entire cabal up the fucking War Criminal creek without so much as a John Woo to paddle with.


      goddamn was that a great fucking laugh. Been a long time.


      ya know, sometimes life comes up and gives yo mug a great big ole kiss.

      03/5/13 6:08 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      03/5/13 6:40 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps. Any one who doesn’t get the big picture by now is either addicted to synthetic lobotomy serum, or is an inhabitant of the Parallel Univere of Neuron Free Skull Cavity’s.

      03/5/13 6:44 AM | Comment Link

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