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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Of course there are problems with the aid industry. She ultimately asks whether or agmes the best option, when faced with human suffering, is for the aid industry to do nothing at all. This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis.

Attacking humanitarian aid with cliche

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. Aid workers are human beings, with poljan and vulnerabilities, not saintly paragons of ,inda virtue. 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.

Short but wwar much to the point, this is an examination of the aid industry. About the book itself – it’s rather depressing, and I think the author occasionally takes unnecessary potshots at aid workers’ lifestyles in far-away, war-torn lands, but I have no doubt she is spot-on in her exposure of the corruption and ultimate futility of so-called “aid agencies” and “humanitarian relief efforts.

Want to Read saving…. Marina Morales rated it really liked it Jan 04, But, just as importantly, the aid system pinda to be made more accountable to the wishes and preferences of the people we are trying to help. A very provocative account on everything that has happened during the years of humanitarian aid supply and distribution.


Each chapter has a string of anecdotes illustrating their venality, incompetence, naivety or cynicism. It’s a good polkan and deserves to be read if you want to be educated on the international humanitarian aid industry.

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. Dec 04, Babak Fakhamzadeh rated it liked it Shelves: I’m sure at least one such person could have been found. Yes, organisations that receive our money — whether through taxes or through donations — should be accountable to the people who provided that money.

Not an academic read, but she gives the reader a good sense of on-the-ground reality and frustration. Jan 13, Debby Kean rated it it was amazing.

Open Preview See a Problem? Anyone who has spent time in a war zone knows that aid gets diverted.

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

Patrick Kelly rated it qar was amazing Apr 14, Want to Read Currently Reading Read. This brings it to life much more than someone saying, it is a problem. The research is also often just bad. Jun 12, Jane Walker rated it it was amazing Shelves: There are many ethical dilemmas one will encounter deep in the practice of aid work, even what is referred to as ‘ethical disasters’, and they are just that.

It is bleak reading: I was very wrong. Ben rated it really liked it Jul 18, Insisting that aid organisations are ‘businesses dressed up like Mother Theresa’, Polman discusses the possibility that aid can be used as In this brilliant eye wr 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.

Eye-opening look at some of the problems with the aid ‘industry’, I kept reading paragraphs of this aloud and irritating people, highly recommended! Good examples of how aid can become politicized and how it can be used as a tool of war. At polmaj 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.


Her previous book, We Did Nothing, is wzr 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. 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. No human system is perfect and the aid industry — with its blurred lines of accountability, lack of independent scrutiny and frequently opaque spending channels — is in particular need of reform.

This excellent translation of this insightful book by Dutchwoman Linda Polman is a must-read for anyone interested in the background behind the Oxfam scandal and in the workings of the humanitarian aid industry.

At times gets repetitive, which in itself illustrates how many saddening examples of what humanity becomes in war. Once read, you are bound to doubt western humanitarian complex. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation.

Attacking humanitarian aid with cliche | Conor Foley | Opinion | The Guardian

Polman says that we should demand that aid organisations explain exactly what they are going to achieve and how. It has made me more sceptical and will make me question even more how my actions impact development on the ground. Gmes Introduction” which you can find at https: Jul 16, Liisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: We should be generous and open hearted — but match this compassion with a laser-like popman on outcomes and an unsentimental willingness to pull the plug on organisations which fail to deliver the goods for poor people.