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There has been an unreasonable amount of truth lost in the unbridled arrogance that surrounds America’s war in Iraq. And because the geniuses at the wheel over here pay more attention to the rhetoric of democracy then the stickiness the real stuff lends to any situation—let alone one in which sectarian resentment is strong enough to bring on a civil war—we now face a mess that it seems we were completely unprepared for. Lost in all this, as usual, are the people. In Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War, Pulitzer Prize–winner Anthony Shadid makes gives human faces to those most directly affected by the shortsighted actions of George 2 and his crew. “Repression determined much of what happened in Iraq before the war,” writes Shadid in his prologue. “But the nearly absolute emphasis on the all-encompassing tyranny blinded many Americans to everything else that was there. Time and again, we envisioned, or were given, a simple, two-dimensional portrait of a country, waiting for aid and dreaming of freedom as it suffered under the unrelenting terror of a dictator.” As Shadid’s book details—and the American occupation has proved—this was not the case. Shadid reads at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Mike Kanin)