Books on the Iraq tragedy continue to come off the presses with lightning speed. Nearly all of them point out the mistakes by our side in starting or managing of the invasion of Iraq.
Few explain it as fully as John Agresto’s new book Mugged by Reality.
I do not know how Americans can continue to be uninformed about the devastation in Iraq when so many eye-opening, informative reports keep coming. Yes, most of it is depressing, but it is time the country awoke from the dream of “planting democracy” to the nightmare George W. and crowd continue to exploit.
Author Agresto at first believed in what the Bush administration was trying to do. The Brooklyn native used his expertise and spirit to help Iraq become a liberal democracy. A reviewer wrote his “book is refreshing and brutally honest.” (Only the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post reviewed the book). Agresto’s nine months with the CPA in Iraq showed him the shortsightedness and arrogance of the Americans after the invasion.
The religion, history and psyche of the Middle East were left out of planning for the Iraq invasion. Just plain human nature should have made the war-monger neo-cons research more than they did before dashing in like a white knight going to save a maiden in distress.
Agresto’s conclusions are not the common ones being shouted between pundits and television news “experts.” Over and over it is evident that democracy cannot be transplanted and made to grow just by having a few elections.
Look at Gaza. The Palestinians had elections and voted Hamas in. Our government turned its back on the freely elected party because we did not want them to win. Now the Hamas have taken over Gaza by force.
This administration has proved again and again they do not know how to do diplomacy. And then they wonder why we are so misunderstood in the Middle East.
The intellectual honesty of this book should be included in any serious examination of how to proceed in developing a real American foreign policy.
Agresto writes: “In this age, we are all, all of us, seduced by hope but mugged by reality. 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.”
Mugged by reality, our side continues to chase the enemy from town to town, area to area and refuses to face reality. The enemy is beaten down but soon returns. This “surge” has been going on four years under different names.
Britt Towery is a retired Baptist missionary in Texas.