Editions. War Games . Linda Polman ‘Polman shines a light on the multibillion dollar juggernaut that is today’s humanitarian aid network. But as Linda Polman’s War Games reveals, the delivery of aid can often have unintended consequences. Relying on decades of experience as. Conor Foley: Of course there are problems with the aid industry, but books like Linda Polman’s War Games only simplify the debate.

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Bottom line – it had to be said.

War Games: The Story Of Aid And War In Modern Times by Linda Polman

While reading this book, I was surprised at myself for not having the presence of mind to previously doubt the intentions and motives of various “humanitarian efforts” in countries far away from here, as well. Jul 17, Manuel rated it really liked it Shelves: In this brilliant eye witness gaems of the humanitarian aid industry, journalist Lina Polman gives us a glimpse into the problems faced by humanitarians all over the world whilst trying to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

Each chapter has a string of anecdotes illustrating their venality, incompetence, naivety or cynicism. Interesting though they are, they also quickly feel old.

This is not news. More from the web. I’m sure at least one such person could have been found. There wasn’t much that I hadn’t heard or experienced.

Nevertheless, more recent events which saw relief poor in did see more centrally organized efforts to minimize duplication and waste, the Haiti aftermath being the typical example. Yet rather than attempt to analyse the explanations and strategies that they have put forward over the last 15 years — many of them based directly on the experiences of the Goma operation — she seems content to remain on the abstract moral high-ground.

Marina Morales rated it really liked it Jan 04, Her framing of the quandary along the ethical lines between the deontological imperatives underlying the Red Cross tradition of impartial aid and the utilitarian observation that well-intended actions can actually increase suffering helps illustrate the challenge.

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War Games: the Story of Aid and War in Modern Times by Linda Polman: review

A large number of agencies had pulled out of the camps long before Polman arrived and her failure to acknowledge this weakens what is otherwise a fairly standard treatment of lindz issues. Of course there are problems with the aid industry. And while some of the time it can be as simple as helping the less fortunate, it can otherwise be a very complex situation.

It has been shown that democracies do not gaems from famine and that the amputations in west Africa, during the Sierra Leonan civial war, were fueled by the media’s attention for it. Yes, organisations that receive our money — whether through taxes or through donations — should be accountable to the people who provided that money. May 11, Andrea rated it it was amazing.

But the point, wxr the paradox, is that the people most in need of our aid are, by definition, the people who are hardest to help. Not very good at all. If you are already familiar with its course material as I wasLinda Polman’s book is an eye opener.

The book flowed really well ganes didn’t dumb down the issues for the reader. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. At our debate, Polman admitted that she has never even visited a restaurant in Kabul in which she claims waitresses were “dressed in miniskirts, split to the top of their thighs, with toy guns tucked into their garters” — an allegation which could easily lead to it being targeted for a terrorist attack. It was easy to read in short spurts – a few pages on the train or a couple quick pages while the kettle was boiling.

Great expose of the development environment and how it ploman practiced.

It should make all of us think about the moral dilemma in giving aid which prolongs and funds conflicts. Anger was mixed with laughter. Just to remind us that some good still exists in popman world. It’s an essential read for anyone pursuing a career in humanitarian aid and who wants to know more about how aid is implemented and practiced. It encourages the reader to think about media reporting on humanitarian wa, and to ask the right questions.


May 14, Tom rated it it was amazing.

War Games: the Story of Aid and War in Modern Times by Linda Polman: review – Telegraph

War Games has rightly been compared to Dead Aid — although Dambisa Moyo specifically exempts humanitarian aid from her “shock therapy” proposal — and it will appeal to a similar readership. Loading comments… Trouble loading? The life-and-death nature of humanitarian aid makes the harsh lens of scrutiny more necessary, not less. Meghna rated it it was amazing Jun 12, Patrick Kelly rated it it was amazing Apr 14, Yet, for all its weaknesses, this is a system that has saved and improved the lives of millions of people.

The operation has been one of the most extensively documented and critiqued, as it was a turning point for the humanitarian movement, and Polman draws on many of these secondary sources when discussing what went wrong and why so much international aid ended up being expropriated by the genocidaires.

Anyone who has ever visited the site of a major, well-publicised and well-funded humanitarian operation will know that they are characterised by waste and duplication.

Attacking humanitarian aid with cliche

Ask Them Questions’ chapter was succinct, insightful, and to the point. Insisting that aid organisations are ‘businesses dressed up like Mother Gammes, Polman discusses the possibility that aid can be used as In this brilliant eye witness account of the humanitarian aid industry, journalist Linda Polman gives us a glimpse into the problems faced by humanitarians all over the world whilst trying to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

An excellent read and quite an eye opener to the lay person like myself.