I read this comment by Isidore 3 times. I can’t figure out the point of the comment. Saying that the author Peter Van Buren was “uninterested in finding out the truth” that he was looking to his daughter to deal with his own ignorance, etc.
Peter was a high ranking official in the State Department who was given the job of finding out how we helped to rebuild Iraq. It was a failure. I have followed his work but went to wikipedia for a summary.
We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People
Charged with rebuilding Iraq, the U.S. State Department instead spent taxpayer money on a sports mural in Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhood, hoping to promote reconciliation through art. They also paid for an isolated milk factory that could not get its milk to market, as well as a pastry class training women to open cafés on bombed-out streets without water or electricity.
According to Van Buren, the U.S. bought all these projects and more in the most expensive hearts-and-minds campaign since the Marshall Plan. We Meant Well is an eyewitness account of the civilian side of the surge—that surreal and bollixed attempt to defeat terrorism and win over Iraqis by reconstructing the world we had just destroyed. Leading a State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team on its quixotic mission, Van Buren details his year-long encounter with pointless projects, bureaucratic fumbling, overwhelmed soldiers, and oblivious administrators secluded in the world’s largest embassy, who fail to realize that you can’t rebuild a country without first picking up the trash.
This didn’t make the State Department happy. So the government went after Peter for telling the truth about what we did. He is lucky that he didn’t end up in jail, or like others like Thomas Drake who had his life ruined and pension revoked, or like Bill Binney, the former head of research at NSA whose house was invaded in front of his family and he came out of the shower to face guns drawn at him, for Peter, the charges were dropped and he got his pension. Here is a summary from wikipedia on how he was treated for telling the truth.
Struggle with the Department of State
Prior to the publication of his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People in 2011, and after 23 years of service at the State Department, Van Buren experienced a series of escalating, adverse actions.
These actions included suspension of his security clearance, confiscation of his Diplomatic Passport, being placed on administrative leave without cause cited, being physically banned from the State Department building, being placed on a security watch list, losing access to his State Department computer, and being reassigned to a makeshift telework position. The State Department also actively monitored Van Buren’s blogs, Tweets and Facebook updates posted during his private time on his personal home computer. Though the State Department at one point claimed Van Buren had not properly cleared his book for publication under Department rules, this claim was later dropped when it was clear Van Buren did indeed follow the rules.
After the Justice Department declined to pursue Van Buren for linking to a Wikileaks cable through his blog (perhaps a test case for the later prosecution of Barrett Brown for a web link), Van Buren’s termination letter came within days of a decision by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that investigates government wrongdoing and complaints of retaliation by those who report it, to look into his case. At this point the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU stepped in to defend Van Buren on First Amendment grounds. Indeed, the Washington Post claimed “Van Buren has tested the First Amendment almost daily.”
After several months of legal battles, the State Department withdrew its intent to fire Van Buren and he instead retired with the pension and benefits State sought to take away from him.