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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mugged by Reality

I passed by this book several times before I finally picked it up and started reading through it. The market is saturated with personal memoirs and political critiques of the Bush Administration's handling of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and unfortunately a lot of those books aren't terribly unique, well-written, or interesting. I don't think John Agresto's Mugged by Reality is going to be THE book about Iraq, but I think it's well ahead of the field and deserves to be read.

Agresto has several points about Iraq, but the central theme that resonated with me was the assertation that, contrary to popular opinion, our failure was not that we did not carefully consider the cultural and religious differences of the Iraqi people -- our failure is that we focused too much on those issues, and didn't recognize the basic human reality of the situation. In an effort to respect their "Iraqi-ness", we lost sight of their basic humanity and the needs of a people suffering under a tyrant. As time passes and we gain perspective on the war, I can't help but think that this may well prove to be one of the biggest failures of the war effort.