If It Weren’t For You, Reading The News Would Be Depressing!

The road to Baghdad

I had to break our brief blogging hiatus to say thank you for investing in Iraq’s future. I know our staff say ‘thanks’ a lot, but we’re constantly reading things and hearing stories that give us great reason to thank you.

Here’s today’s reason: Recently, NPR News posted an article about Peter Van Buren, a former member of the US State Department’s reconstruction team in Iraq. In a nutshell, this team is here to strategically help rebuild Iraq and to benefit Iraqis.

Van Buren claims that, during his first year of working to help the Iraqi people, he “encountered oblivious bureaucrats, comically misguided projects, greedy contractors, a never-ending cash flow, and campaigns aimed at improving the lives of Iraqi people. But many of those campaigns were misguided.” In his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Van Buren describes the State Dept.’s Reconstruction team as actually acting more like a short-term PR team than a long-term development team. 

Translation: it was more about superficial perception than actual, helpful reality. 

He says, “Everyone was told that they needed to create accomplishments, that we needed to document our success, that we had to produce a steady stream of photos of accomplishments, and pictures of smiling Iraqis and metrics and charts. It was impossible, under these circumstances, to do anything long term…” 

So, back to my point: thank you for investing in long term solutions to Iraq’s medical needs. Thank you for supporting our work and for constantly pushing us to be what the Iraqi people need rather than what strokes our egos and makes us feel good. Your love for these children and their families is more than a PR stunt, and, for that, we’re thankful!