War Games, By Linda Polman (trs Liz Waters)

A road to hell paved with good intentions

Reviewed,David Evans
Sunday 06 March 2011 01:00

In this compelling book, Linda Polman excoriates humanitarian aid organisations for turning a blind eye to the potentially disastrous results of their work in war-torn countries.

She argues that delivering vast amounts of money and resources to conflict zones can be a dangerous policy, and describes how warmongers from Afghanistan to Darfur to Rwanda have prolonged murderous campaigns by appropriating aid.

The author draws on her own experiences as a war reporter, and her first-hand descriptions of the moral compromises of aid agencies in the field give the book the flavour of a satirical novel: with a gimlet eye and a certain black humour, she evokes the grim absurdity of humanitarians giving succour to genocidaires.

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