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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The research is also often just bad. But the point, and the paradox, is that the people most in need of our aid are, by definition, the people who are hardest to help.

These two tribes had a long history of bad blood. And while some of the time it can be as simple as helping the less fortunate, it can gams be a very complex situation. Not very good at all. The essential gift book for any pet lover – real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends.

We should be generous and open hearted — but match this compassion with a laser-like focus on outcomes and an unsentimental willingness to pull the plug on organisations which fail to deliver the goods for poor people.

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 polmab increase suffering helps illustrate po,man challenge.

Attacking humanitarian aid with cliche

Short but very much to the point, this is an examination of the aid industry. A large number of agencies had pulled out warr the camps long before Polman arrived and her failure to acknowledge this weakens what is otherwise a fairly standard treatment of the issues.

But, just as importantly, the aid system needs to be made more accountable to the wishes and preferences of the people we are trying to help. Hannah rated it it was amazing Jun 14, If we want to give our aid to places where it will be spent without any worries lknda unintended consequences or the risk of corruption, we might as well give it to Sweden or Switzerland.


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

Her previous book, We Did Nothing, is a well-written critique of various UN interventions that took place in the 90s and combines a mix of good personal anecdotes and being-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time luck. It’s a good book and deserves to be read if you want to be educated on the international humanitarian aid industry.

War Games covers some similar ground — in fact, there is quite a bit of repetition from the previous book — but Polman’s grasp of her material seems far less sure this time. Her argument is simple: Her book deserves to be taken seriously. War Games is investigative journalism, not an academic treatise, so while it’s certainly well-researched, Polman is not pretending to be impartial, comprehensive, or to provide any solutions to the problems she diagnoses.

Many of these points are familiar to those immersed in the aid world, but Polman has done a good job in bringing them to wider attention. That’s not always t When I told my friend what I was reading his response was a roll of the eyes and the comment, “Heaven forbid people try to help somebody without being criticized for it. Food, medical care, shelter, etc I was very wrong. That’s not always the case, but this is merely a small part of the book.

An Introduction” which you can find at https: Preview — War Games by Linda Polman. Sep 08, Alex Maxwell rated it it was amazing Shelves: Return to Book Page. From Rwanda to Afghanistan, from Sudan to Iraq, this brilliantly written and at times blackly funny work of reportage shows how the humanitarian aid industry, the media and warmongers the world over are locked in a cycle of mutual support. Dec 04, Babak Fakhamzadeh rated it liked it Shelves: Interesting though they are, they also quickly feel old.


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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. It is bleak reading: Polman guides us, at times not so gently, into understanding that the aid industry is not at all how it is portrayed by the media. Somewhat annoying, as the subtitle of the book, The Story of Aid and War in Modern Times, suggests a more structured and researched approach.

Little did the Red Cross volunteers realize, they had been helping many Hutus, who were gaining food and useful items for trading to further carry out their destruction of the race of Tutsis.

It has made me more sceptical and will make me question even more how my actions impact gamee on the ground. 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.

The pages of this necessary but contentious book burn with a righteous moral anger about the contradictions and tensions of delivering humanitarian aid in conflict zones.

Jun 12, Jane Walker rated it it was amazing Shelves: