Mugged By Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions

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The benchmark, if we can call it that, then shrank to the somewhat lesser vision of an Iraqi government that can stand up on its own, so that America can stand down. But that did not materialize, either. So we heard that if only the fractious Sunni and Shiite factions in the Iraqi government could have breathing space to reconcile their differences, and if only we could do more to blunt the force of the insurgency, that would be progress. Today, we hear John McCain and legions of conservatives braying that we are, in fact, winning some go so far as to say we have already won.

Iraq, he argues contra his fellow conservatives, has been a fiasco. Log in or Subscribe. This article is protected by copyright law. Permission is hereby granted to excerpt up to words, providing that the excerpt is accompanied by proper credit to the author and a link to the full article at the website of TOS.

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Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention middle east higher education mugged by reality john agresto iraq was difficult like mr agresto american culture military war americans iraqis political saddam tyranny america critical mistakes perhaps policy. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. The power of John Agresto's intellect comes across in this book, especially in the brief but clear discussion of citizenship and civil society.

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Agresto is a serious academic and thinker, who led one of the nation's top liberal arts colleges. Unfortunately, the author seems unsure of how to handle himself overseas, in a bureaucracy, in dealings with foreigners, the military, etc. In this slim volume, Agresto laments over and over about being blown off by junior U. He's hopping mad that donor nations did not follow through on pledges to fund higher education in Iraq. Oh, and he's hopping mad, personally affronted even, that the problems of Iraq, decades in the making, did not yield to his energy and enthusiasm over a span of nine months, not including leave breaks.

Mugged By Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions

He's also hopping mad at the military. Perhaps some Colonel yelled at him in a meeting. In the end, this book is less about higher education in Iraq, and more about the hopping mad author and his short stint as an innocent abroad. This is the best book on Iraq. Nothing else even comes close.

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It's the best because John Agresto had the education and background to understand what he was seeing once he got off the airplane. Daugherty Aztec, New Mexico. John Agresto, is a self-described neoconservative who spent nine months working in Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority to revitalize higher education.


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The title of this book has long been a popular headline - The Economist is using it this week 22 March to describe the situation in Iraq, and the Hoover Institution's Policy Review used the phrase in in an essay on the crime epidemic. Feminists and others have also claimed that they have been "mugged by reality," and it seems one of liberalism's frequent laments when confronting the wider, less liberal world.

The title, while a recycled one, is accurate when considering Agresto's driving contention: And the pre-eminent reality of the day is a religious fanaticism, self-assured, unafraid of death, unafraid of killing, medieval in its outlook yet armed with powerful modern weaponry, growing in its mass appeal and able to co-opt democratic forms and elections. There is plenty herein to upset assumptions on both sides of the aisle.

His intellectual honesty is evident in that he has not claimed to have found the easy answers too many pundits rave about: The book was publ An account of his year in Iraq by the former president of St. The book was published before the surge, and it would be interesting to get the author's perspective on the merits of that policy, as well as an updated vision for Iraq's future. However, this book is an excellent combination of memoir and philosophical meditation on contemporary politics.

Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions

Jul 01, Courtney rated it liked it. Sobering account of an American's experiences in Iraq, working for the Department of Education in the post-war country. Written by a conservative but is very 'fair and balanced,' a good insight into the bleak situation there. May 12, Donald rated it really liked it.

Mugged By Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions by John Agresto

Sort of astounding account of the Iraq war by a self-proclaimed neoconservative who went to Iraq to help reorganize the university system. I knew the war was horrible, obviously, but it was shocking to read about how grossly incompetent and delusional the whole thing was.

Aug 25, Zayne rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is a perfect mix of well-told memories and political commentary. Though, very clearly, a republican, Agresto does not let that overrun the book.

It is well written and well informed. It also, oddly enough, gives fairly accurate predictions for the region well before anything came to pass.

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Apr 15, Stan Lanier rated it liked it. The reflections of a Republican serving as a civilian in Iraq in the early days of that war. To my mind, his observations about efforts in Iraq are more trenchant than his domestic philosophical and political musings. Still, the title tells it all. Aug 16, Joseph added it. Bayad Ali rated it really liked it Sep 01, Rafi Hoq rated it liked it May 22, Sarah Shaw rated it it was ok Jan 03, Joshua Rosenblum rated it it was amazing Jun 09, Kate rated it liked it Aug 05, Tracy Henry rated it really liked it Aug 05, Gundopush rated it really liked it Oct 29, Travis Jackson rated it liked it Oct 17, Jane Shaw rated it it was amazing Dec 19, James Aird rated it it was amazing Dec 18, Heroux rated it it was amazing Mar 22, Patrick Riazi rated it really liked it Sep 06,