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Oct 26, 2010

John Dolan, Academic Fraud

by  Dr. John Agresto*

John Dolan  -- John Carrol Dolan – Berkeley PhD, sometimes author, and late of the American University of Iraq, decided he would write a petulant diatribe bemoaning the fact that he was fired from this university.  It’s true; he was.  That may be the only thing true in his rant.

It was a risk hiring him, I admit.  Contrary to what Dolan states, we knew when we hired him that he was strongly against the War in Iraq.  We read his resume, could see where he stood politically, and we didn’t care.  We didn’t hire him because we wanted “intellectual diversity” or to show how open minded we were – we hired him to teach English, and didn’t care about his politics.

To be sure, we did ask him when we interviewed him why he couldn’t seem to keep a position in higher education for very long, but he convinced us that the forces of political correctness had done him in – he had standards and, in this lax age, administrators didn’t want professors with standards.  It was a crock, but we didn’t know that.

Even when we searched the web to find out more about Dolan, we refused to believe what others saw.  Yes, when we read the few reviews of his autobiographical book, Pleasant Hell, and saw him described as “pathetic,” “morally bankrupt,” a “misanthropic narcissist,” “twisted,” and “self-hating,” we were given pause.  But when we read that the book was “useful as a case study in abnormal psychology” and, especially, “I hope to God that Mr. Dolan doesn't have children, for I would never let him near mine,” we thought the comments so over the top as not to be credible.  Sadly, we were wrong.

The end for Dolan came not when any “neo-cons” wised up to his politics, but when two perfectly liberal and ordinary faculty members, perhaps fed up with his constant snide remarks about them and their colleagues, decided to read further than I had.  They found the run-of-the-mill adolescent prose: George Bush is “slow witted, human-flesh-consuming,” his minions stand before mirrors “as the pus streams down their drooling, rotting faces,” “their desire to consume human flesh is relentless.”  Some of it was less run-of-the-mill but perhaps more perverted.  Here’s his description of his desire to throw a vial of smallpox at Judith Miller: “Let the pox eat away her face, and then stop it before it kills her. She'll have plenty of time to think about journalistic responsibility every time she puts her Khiels' seaweed mask on...and peels it off with yet another layer of her rotting pox-infested facial flesh.”

But the faculty here found more than jejune stupidity and perversity.  Consider a most peculiar essay entitled Cleanse the World:
“We have a choice of two scenarios:                                                                                 
1. We can let the world demographic trend continue. In a century the population will be 14 billion devout imbeciles (a nice volatile mix of Hindu and Muslim -- what fun Saturday nights will be!). These headless mobs will sooner or later (bet on "sooner") extirpate whatever remains of the techno cultures that created them, then die back from plague and war….
2. We can prune now, using the weapons we possess.… We could kill Jesus, Yahweh, and Allah in one stroke by nuking the entire Middle East (except Turkey; Turks are cool). Jerusalem, the most fecund source of vicious delusions in human geography, will be transformed into a lake of glass that can never again infect a soul -- as will Mecca, Medina, and Bethlehem.
[We can also kill] the…population of all those states which seceded in 1861…. Think of the fascinating religious arguments that Southern Baptist fundamentalists can have in the Afterlife, where they will meet Muslim and Hindu imbeciles with the same range of interests and IQ! It's the right thing to do -- and a pleasure, too!”

As you might notice, putting the words “Muslim” and “imbeciles” together is one of Dolan’s favorite motifs.  Quite sensible for a person who would like to continue teaching in Iraq, no? And no doubt conducive to the safety of his colleagues and the security of the university.  Still, John Dolan was eager to teach these “imbeciles” provided the pay was good enough. But more on pay in a bit.

But more. One of Dolan’s more autobiographical pieces is headed “How to Lose Money Running a Speed Lab.” Elsewhere he admits to the joys of writing when drugged. (My, who would have guessed it!?) Perhaps future employers, in order to avoid the mistake we made, might want look at his interview in an article aptly titled “The Man Who Loves to Hate.”  “I could have been a contender instead of a bum, which is what I am, a bum.”  Of course, when one describes oneself as a “sullen, socially inept nerd with an aversion to bathing,” it’s actually hard to be a contender, at least in most civilizations.

We have, as you may have guessed, only scratched the surface. But that’s fine.  Dolan has discredited himself so well that he leaves only a little more to be done here. Perhaps the most important and interesting thing about John Dolan, however, is not that he’s a druggie or an unwashed nerd, but that he’s a liar and a fraud.  In his article attacking Joshua Mitchell and me (not to mention his colleagues and his students), he says how amazed he was when, upon arriving in Iraq, he was given $5,000, just like that.  That is amazing, as he was given (as everyone new was given on arrival) a mere $500, since payday was a month away and we were fairly sure everyone might need to buy some food, some provisions, maybe even some soap. 

Outright lies and mean-spirited distortions abound -- like our paying Dolan in cash to reimburse him for his flight and lodging for the interview.  I guess we could have paid him with an Iraqi credit card, or by an Iraqi check, but I’m not sure that would have done him much good back in Kirkland, Washington. (No good deed….) The receipt? Yes, we got receipts -- we took his airline, transportation, and lodging receipts. But the strangest lie was when he says, rightly, that he was on the verge of death and a Moldovan doctor here in Iraq saved his life.  But it wasn’t his wife who found the doctor for him, as Dolan writes – it was Joshua Mitchell, chancellor here at AUI-S.  Of course, Dolan cannot admit that any supposed “neo-con” could have saved his life since, in John’s universe, all neos are bad, bad, bad.  But, it’s true, not only did neo-cons hire John Dolan, support John Dolan, and pay John Dolan, one of them literally saved his life.  And that simple truth a person as mendacious and self-loathing as Dolan can never admit.

To be clear, some of Dolan’s fantasies I actually like.  I like the idea of my taping $500,000 to my body and sneaking over the Turkish border into Kurdistan to start this university.  I like the thought of my evading the guards, tunneling under the barbed wire, dodging the dogs.  Sadly – and obviously -- not a word of it is true; but Dolan believes it and repeats it, oblivious to any rational distinction between the real world and his imagination.

But, still, why do I say that John Carrol Dolan is not only a liar but also an Academic Fraud?  Here’s why: When members of the faculty brought me evidence of Dolan’s lack of suitability for a position at this or, I dare say, any university, what bothered them most was a picture he posted in one of his articles showing a blonde woman (ostensibly mocked-up to be Ann Coulter) smiling as she’s being graphically gang-raped by four Arab men. (“Short, dark and hairy Middle Eastern men,” as Dolan describes them.) (“Oh Annie, you little fascist flirt, you know you want it,” he writes.) It was a picture and text described by his faculty colleagues as “filthy,” disgusting,” “triple X pornography.”

It was this picture that I specifically cited when I wrote Dolan asking him if this was indeed his doing and, if so, that he no longer had a position at this university. (I did not make this determination on my own. It was the unanimous conclusion of a committee of two faculty, the chancellor, and me.) What was Dolan’s response?  To publish an article pretending that this was all political, that the “neo-cons” were out to get him, and that he didn’t see anything wrong with the article I cited – indeed, he provided a link to it.  The only problem is, the article he links us to now has the picture totally expunged! Any writer, any intellectual, any academic who tries to deceive his readers by changing what he wrote and depicted after the fact and making believe he never wrote it, is a fraud. 

But, of course, while Dolan may sanitize what he will – and by doing so tacitly admit his shame – all one needs to do, as I did, is to use a reconstruction engine on the link, go into the archives, and download the original.  For access to this article or for any that I’ve mentioned in this response, just Google “John Dolan/Neo-Con” or “John Dolan/Muslim imbeciles” or “John Dolan/hate.”

Oh, one last thing: The concluding statement in the article on Dolan called “The Man Who Loves to Hate,” quotes Dolan as saying, “How far would I go to get a tenure track job?  I’d kill, literally kill, for a tenure track job.” Future colleagues of John Dolan, take this to heart: “literally kill.”  Or, as one reviewer of his autobiographical novel said, “I am reminded of Columbine.” So are we all.

* Dean of the AUI-S Faculty 

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81 Comments: on "John Dolan, Academic Fraud"

Mahdi Abdullah Murad said...

Well Done Dr. Agresto. BUT, what we want from the AUI-S administration is to be aware of choosing those who apply for AUI-S. Their backgrounds should be known precisely then they should be accepted.

We're done with the first Dolan. but, be careful from the second one in the future.

Dana Jaf said...

After looking at some of Dr. Dolan's articles, I came to the conclusion that Dr. Dolan shouldn't have come to Iraq in the first place, and AUI-S shouldn't have accepted him. A simple Google search of "John Dolan" will lead you to much worse than what he has said in the infamous article. Dr. Dolan has not only hurt neo-cons, he has hurt the followers of Jesus, Yahwah and Allah, something unacceptable. He may find excuses for those words and can call them "metaphorical" but nobody will buy that. This incident can be a good opportunity for a moment of reflection. Don't import people and ideas that are against this land's people, culture and religion.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion. Although we are not used to these kinds of arguments, we should appreciate it. It is a step in the right direction. Well done Student blog

Rekar Hussein said...

Once one of my AUI-S professors said, "I would not give any comments while I am in AUI-S, and please do not print that I don't!" I am sorry for I did print what he said!

Anonymous said...

Good job Dr. Agresto. we should appreciate that you published one of your wonderful articles in student voice, hooray for you. if Dolan knew that Auis was a corrupt school, then why he taught there? I know money talks, but Dr. Agresto you proved that in Auis money is for those who deserve it.
Ako Esmail

Anonymous said...

How was Dolan as a teacher? Does that count for anything?

Mark G said...

Hi Dana,

I'm sorry you've reached that conclusion, because I think you've misread the situation. It's impossible to judge Dolan's lines taken out of context like that. He's a creative writer who mixes satire with seriousness in a complex way that doesn't lend itself to simplistic interpretation.

Agresto is obviously trying to smear Dolan (just like the US gov is doing to Julian Assange of Wikileaks) in order to deflect attention away from the corrupt operation he's running.

If I were you, as a journalist, I'd think more critically about the people in power than the ones who've already been cast away and slandered by those people in power.

I've much more to say, but just wanted to add that for now. - Mark Grueter

Mark G said...

It's important to note that Agresto's tactic is straight out of the American right-wing/neocon playbook: avoid the important issues and instead attack your opponent's 'morality'. Thus, we are told, Dolan is a "druggie".

In a debate with Gore Vidal at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, conservative leader William F. Buckley, apropos of nothing, accused Vidal of "promoting pornography" as if those were the last words that needed to be said and the argument was over. In other words, Buckley sought to "discredit" (a word Agresto uses as well) Vidal's political opinions by referencing one of Vidal's books that dealt creatively and artistically with the taboo subject of sex.

The whole point of freedom of speech is that it has to be exercised. If it's not, the whole concept is meaningless. Artists and writers should not be destroyed by would-be tyrants like Agresto who are too thick to appreciate irony, even when it's served to him on a skewer with béarnaise sauce.

Mark G said...

Nowhere, I should add, does Agresto show that Dolan as a human being or teacher was somehow unfit for AUI-S. Only as a writer, as an artist, as a political commentator, does Agresto find fault.

Agresto does allude to some mysterious "snide remarks" that Dolan made about his colleagues during his tenure...as if Dolan was unique among AUI-S faculty members in making snide remarks about others! (Assuming that Dolan did, which I don't know.)

I've only met John Dolan a couple times, but I think he is a good, honest man (and a great writer - certainly better than hacks of academe like Agresto and Mitchell) and I hope some people (faculty and students) will stand up for him against this pernicious, administrative assault.

Dana Jaf said...

@Mark Grueter,

I am not involved in the personal or ideological tensions between Dr. Agresto and Dr. Dolan, and I don't want to be. Its roots are in America and its fruits are here.

I had Dr. Dolan as my teacher, and I -with his own recognition- was among his best students. At least it was how it seemed to me. Do I think he is a professor who knows his subject best? Absolutely. Do I think he taught his subject best? Not at all.

Dr. Dolan has made, without any doubt, some references in his article and "the article" that can't be understand but as offensive, offensive to me as a Muslim, as a Middle-Eastern, and as an AUI-S students. Students here were not angry because he has said something bad about AUI-S. That unfortunately has turned into a tradition for whoever leaves. We were angry because Dr. Dolan sounded in his article as person who was fired from an "unpleasant hell".

I have not justified the firing, or at least that is not what I meant in the comment. Simply because i was not asked to. But I believe that every American, and here neo-con and liberal doesn't concern me much, should realize that he/she is living in another society, completely different from his/her. If someone didn't respect my values, I will not harm him/her, but I will certainly not deal with him/her the way I deal a respectful and peaceful foreigner.

AUI-S is my college, if I saw a nonsense going on, I will be the first one to shout out and try to correct it. That has been fortunately what I have done in the past.

Mark G said...

See, that's what's so revealing about AUI-S: nobody will stand up for Dolan because they're afraid of losing their own position. It's an institutional gift that Agresto is probably too stupid to realize he's been blessed with. He thinks people are actually with him, when, in fact, they're all just trying to cover their own asses and collect their paychecks. This is obvious to anyone who can think at all.

Mark G said...


I think I understand your position. But I insist that John Dolan is in no way anti-Arab or anti-Muslim. I've been reading him for years. I understand his writing. Don't judge it if you don't get it.

The only Americans who are against Iraqis are John Agresto and his backers at the Department of Defense. They are trying to turn your country into a US puppet regime and launching pad for a new war with Iran.

Mark G said...

Dana, you wrote: "We were angry because Dr. Dolan sounded in his article as person who was fired from an 'unpleasant hell'."

I really hope you understand that it's an unpleasant hell for teachers because of the administrators, not because of the students. People like Agresto are what make it hell.

As far as Dolan's performance as a teacher, I should think you might make allowances for the fact that the man was deadly sick for much of the year?

Mark G said...

Perhaps the most interesting question is - who are the snitches? Who are these groveling, backstabbing cowards who actually went to Agresto with the idea of trashing Dolan? Might've been somebody who wanted his job? Whoever it was, I bet it wasn't some boy scout who was simply 'looking out for AUI-S's best interests'.

Dana Jaf said...


That is what you get from the comment, and that is because you have created a fantasy about AUI-S for yourself. AUI-S is not divided to pro-Agresto and anti-Agresto camps. It is not!

Dr. Dolan was my teacher. That is enough reason for me to respect him. However, Dolan the writer is way different from the Dolan the teacher. There is nothing important in his article, is here? What was that? A professor from Georgia used The Last Best Hope in his American History class. A young American lady was raped and the dean of students wanted some more modesty in clothes and awareness in treatment. There are not even close a real and serious criticism.

I don't allow myself to object to Dr. Dolan's right to defend himself and express the pain he has gotten after being fired. That is his right to be angry and frustrated. But I don't have to defend any particular position.

Here is a suggestion from a friend for you, rearrange your priorities. Being concerned about AUI-S without having a clear reason is a waste of time and energy.

Anonymous said...

Pretty weak stuff from Agresto -- he doesn't address Dolan's charges, except to say dolan got 500 not 5,000

Mark G said...

Dana, my friend, I'd like to tone it down as well. But I have a question: why should I need a reason to be concerned about AUI-S? I would think you'd welcome attention, not discourage it.

Maybe you can explain why Agresto mentioned where he imagines Dolan now lives (Kirkland, Washington)? Was that supposed to be a threat? If not, then what was the purpose?

Your admitted lack of comprehension of Dolan's writing is the central problem in all this. Agresto doesn't 'get it' either. Either that, or he's playing dumb. Like Freud, Nietzsche or Foucault, it's not something I can readily explain. Either you understand it, or you don't. The point is that you shouldn't pass judgments on things you don't understand.

Dana Jaf said...

Mark, I believe it is not that sophisticated. Take it easy!

You can't bring a single serious argument up and you keep repeating the same old stuff over and over again.

I see no point in speaking when there is nothing new to be said. Please read the articles, news and pieces that are published on this blog and come to you, since you are a follower, and you will see for yourself that we have much work to do as the AUI-S student body. That includes reforms in the system, faculty body and the way AUI-S deals with problems, but ruining the AUI-S experience is not one of them.

Mark G said...

I respect your opinion, Dana. I think you're a good guy. But Agresto's attempt to smear Dolan is a disgrace. John Dolan - a racist? Anti-Arab? That's absurd and anyone who knows him or understands his writing knows that it's absurd. As far as Academic Frauds go, well, that's just classic psychological projection displayed by Agresto.

Anonymous said...

wow, there is a silent war going on. i guess that is enough. let's move on. you are not going to get much out of this.

Anonymous said...

Whu Mr. Anonymous, whenever there is a debate, someone comes and says let's put an end to it. Why? I really enjoyed this useful dialogged here. I see no wars here, and if there is one, it is not silent. So, put aside that old eastern attitude for God's sake.

Anonymous said...

the reason why i said it is time to move on because i have been hearning the same argument over and over.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what this is all about, but this is the Internet, dammit, so I have a strong opinion on the topic.

Anonymous said...

The very quote he uses to reinforce the absurd idea that dolan is anti-Islamic or anti-Arab also smears Christians and jews to the exact same degree and even advocates ethnic cleansing of the bible belt. (probably not as bad an idea as it first appears). It's obvious to everyone who has read Dolan that he is no bigot. He is just cynical of human nature and has no tolerance for liars and apologists; he's not going to stay silent about the Islamic savagery in the world just because it might offend some people!

Anonymous said...

Dolan’s point was that he was fired after Agresto discovered an article he wrote five years ago; an article that was and is available on the internet. Agresto states here that he was well aware of Dolan’s position on the Iraq War but they hired him anyway. What a saint. Only Dolan’s position on the Iraq war likely had very little to do with his hiring or firing.
Agresto writes that when considering Dolan for the position he was “given pause” after reading book reviews of “Pleasant Hell.” This may be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. While considering him for the position, he isn’t so much concerned with the content in Dr. Dolan’s other writings (many articles similar in tone and the use of hyperbole as the ones he referenced here), but a book review of “Pleasant Hell.” A book reviewer’s opinion of Dolan seemed more significant to Agresto then the work of the man in question. That is, if you believe he bothered to read any of Dr. Dolan’s work other than the one article used as a pretext to fire him. Agresto likely made no study at all of Dolan’s work prior to hiring him. Not even a cursory reading. If he had, he would have discovered that all of Dolan’s articles for the eXile are offensive to some degree, depending on your sensibility.
Then, some time later, he’s fired because of an article, an article in keeping with almost all other articles Dr. Dolan wrote for the eXile.
This is a simple case of workplace games. Some petty tyrant in the faculty didn’t like Dolan for whatever reason (I’m sure it wasn’t outrage over the Ann Coulter picture) and decided to build a case against him. In other words, he was likely fired because of office politics with a heavy overtone of politics politics. Perhaps someone decided to avenge those “snide remarks” Dolan made and hatched a scheme to get him in trouble with the administration, a scenario that is as American as apple pie.

Anonymous said...

ha ha, wow! agresto, you da man

love the way you casually, apropos of nothing, mention Dolan could use some soap - that's great stuff, right there. you're a wag, no denying that!

that "i coulda been a contender" line, tho? not Dolan's. surprised you don't recognise it. Americal classics, man! Get with the program.

Anonymous said...

While I suspect the truth is somewhere between the two accounts, Dolan is one of the best writers alive today, and you're a hack.

-- said...

So are you prepared to assert that Jewish employees were not in fact asked to be silent about their religious beliefs?

akarlin said...

Does anyone else find this blog's slogan "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" to be as ironic and Orwellian as I do?

Anonymous said...

YOu both suck. I'm going to bed. I do hope that at some point those humorless Moslems will lighten up a bit. Dolan is a funny man, but the subtlety may be lost on people who don't speak English as a native language. His satire is also lost on people who are so uptight they can't stand any questioning of their great moslem culture or humor that's typical of a comedy club. Our native comedian John Black once said the reason those moslems are so uptight is they don't know have a sense of humor and it all boils up and eventuallly goes BOOM! I think he was right about that.

Anonymous said...

OH I forgot you people are so sensitive you will probably not like the "s" word I used. Feel free to edit out that word. Dolan's style is dark comedic satire. It's actually kinda funny, but of course guys like that are usually a little wierd and hard to get along with. I really enjoy his work. I also respect Agriesto's or whatever his name is, right to fire the wierdo because you Moslems are still way too uptight. Lighten up a bit will you? Making fun of your culture doesn't mean we don't respect you. We make fun of ourselves too. The funniest thing I heard from an Iraqi comedian was "the Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my neighborhood." IF we can all laugh every once in a while and lighten up a bit maybe the world won't go boom boom. When you Moslems can lighten up and appreciate satire as a comedic form then you will be ready to join the modern world.

TLW said...

I think Dr Dolan is an excellent writer; his views represent the alternative to the mainstream American views, some of which may be discarded in the coming years, to be replaced by ideas that are less mainstream now.

Anonymous said...

Read the War Nerd. The writer is brilliant and hilarious. Read the article written in the build up to the invasion of Irag. Dolan writes that we shouldn't think that the bush neocon oil men pushing for war in are just bluffing. He knows oil men ans yes they are that stupid to actually invade Iraq. Chalabi, now oil minister is an Iranian spy. Iran now owns Iraq with the exception of the Kurdish area. Pre war equal rights for women and Christians. Now religious nuttery. Put that in you blog and smoke it.

Anonymous said...

It's rich that the neo-cons marshal dispossessed White male support through their critique of political correctness, yet the dean of this foreign policy (school) tool used it to fire Dolan, obviously for his political views.

Bester said...


If Ann Coulter is portrayed as being "done" by middle east men, it's only offensive to her personally. If you have no idea what this is about, then yeah, you can feel offended, as a precautionary measure. Just in case. Get a little outraged.

I've lived in a country that had a 50% muslim population. It was a well known fact there that if you talk in a foreign language, muslims around you start feeling offended, thinking you just insulted them. If in doubt, they always feel offended. Very preventive of them, isn't it?

Argusto plays very well on that. Also, on the fact that simple minded people don't take kindly to free speech, like calling all religious people morons. Sure, it may be offensive to persons of sensibility, but that's an opinion. That's how opinions work, people either agree with you or think you're a moron.

Bester said...

Also, seems like everybody missed the point of that article. Dolan was simply saying that the war in Iraq was a useless waste of human lives and other resources.

To simply put it, he was against that war and was denouncing everyone who made that war possible.

His writing style is being accused, nobody even got to the actual meaning. A tough writing style is a crime against humanity, sure.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate that you care so deeply about the flourishing of student life at AUI-S, but I found your comments about Dr. Dolan troubling. You wrote,

Dr. Dolan has not only hurt neo-cons, he has hurt the followers of Jesus, Yahwah and Allah, something unacceptable.

From this statement, it sounds like you’re deeply opposed both to the Student Eye slogan (“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”) and to the secularly oriented principle of free speech that is, generally speaking, enshrined in American academia. So Dr. Dolan has written satirical and critical pieces about various religions and world cultures. Insofar as he is a serious scholar and a fair minded teacher, why would you want to prevent someone with his views from coming to your country?

It is clear from his article and the subsequent interview that he holds a great deal of respect for the students at AUI-S and that you all impressed him a great deal. That said, if you think it is “unacceptable” to write potentially offensive things about religion, then maybe the Euro-American educational tradition is not for you. But perhaps I have misunderstood you.

He may find excuses for those words and can call them "metaphorical" but nobody will buy that.

Here I have to agree with Mark G.: it isn’t easy to grasp the satirical and polemical styles and perspectives at work in some of Dolan’s more “offensive” or provocative writings, and you are wrong to take them so literally. I wonder how you feel when Westerners read a few lines from Islamic scriptures out of context and conclude that all Muslims must advocate the killing of apostates, infidels, and unchaste women?

But I disagree with Mark G. when he says you either get it or you don’t. As with religious scriptures, the more you learn about and read from a given literary tradition, the better you will understand it in its complexities. And that is why I think it is unfortunate you are so opposed to having people like John Dolan teach at your university. It was similarly unfortunate when Americans protested Tariq Ramadan being allowed to teach at Notre Dame.

This incident can be a good opportunity for a moment of reflection. Don't import people and ideas that are against this land's people, culture and religion.

The American invasion of Iraq has left hundreds of thousands of your fellow Iraqis dead and turned millions more into refugees. John Dolan was against the war. Agresto was for it. One of these two men is clearly against the people of Iraq, but it isn’t John Dolan.

Chris Connolly said...

Its sad that Agresto feels the need to brag up Joshua Mitchell, who agresto describes as a neocon, for finding John Dolan a decent doctor.

Would it be appropriate to just let members of your faculty die, and step over their rotting corpse?

leif said...


Why do you pay $15,000 for unqualified professors to teach RIGHT-WING PROPAGANDA as US History?

Why do you take MILLIONS of US taxpayer $$$ to teach this right-wing propaganda, in a country where the US has caused OVER A MILLION CIVILIAN CASUALTIES with our war and bankrupted their nation?

Why do you kick out students (without refunds) who have legitimate medical or family problems?

AND WHY... why do you think smearing John Dolan because his writing has included references to sex and drugs can somehow make people forget that you aren't answering these serious questions?

Please, Kurdish students, see through this deception... satire is one thing, corruption is another, and it is the serious offense.

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments here are dramatically overstated and border on "conspiracy theory" babble. Wouldn't it be amazing if there was a secret agenda behind everything in the world? What if there really is a mastermind at work behind the scenes working everyone like puppets?

In reality, those of us who started AUIS did have big dreams for the university. But more importantly, we had an idea of what it would become and what we had to do to turn this into a reality.

I was a founding employee and there longer than the people commenting here and certainly years before these so called educated professors showed up. All the hard work and planning we all put in (yes, without any input from an evil mastermind trying to push us in a specific direction) seems to be lost on these people who just don't seem to live in the real world. Perhaps they are too busy trying to convince everyone of their obviously superior intellect to see what most of us know to be true.

In the real world gentlemen, when an organization hires you, you generally have to conform to the way they want you to operate. Yes, you pompous intellectuals, I said the "C" word. Why is it that these people think that when AUIS gave them a job that they now had no boss and got to push their own personal agendas forward? In the real world we all have a boss, and he/she has the right to make sure we do our jobs in a way they are happy with. Oh gosh, now Academics cannot exercise their God given right to not answer to anyone.

Why can't John have an idea for the University he is so invested in? What is wrong with John trying to mould the university into what he sees as the best educational institution possible for Iraq? Are you suggesting that any of you are better qualified to design a university? Again, in the real world, an organization without direction will not be around very long.

Perhaps these people will even try and suggest that this letter was written as part of John's plan to conquer the universe. But, in the real world, we started AUIS to help Iraq with no hidden agenda what so ever, and these people certainly should have exercised a little more integrity when applying for the job they got paid for - just needing money is no excuse for lying and hiding your true intentions while with us. As a senior administrator for AUIS, I feel qualified to tell you, I made hundreds of decisions for AUIS and not once did John or Josh get involved and try to push me in another direction. I was a part of the real team at AUIS and I was allowed to develop my department any way I saw fit.

If we truly are judged in some way by the company we keep, I am proud to be considered a friend of John Agresto. Mr. Dolan, with all due respect, you are a horrible human being for what you have done here and I hope Google treats you well in the future. I think it was quite genius of John to include Dolan's entire name in his letter - so there will be no hiding the next time he applies somewhere. I am sure Agresto's accurate and brilliant account of Dolan's exploits will be showing up every time someone Google's his name. It may be back to the soup kitchen for you and your lovely wife I am afraid; the real world wants team players, not anti-social, barely functional, conspiracy theorists like yourself.

Barry said...

Funny this fellow from this tinpot college in a sandpit has chosen to be anonymous when complaining about Dolan hiding things, particularly when, from all accounts (even the boss's), Dolan listed his writing in his CV and has everything online.

Anonymous said...

Hey Barry,

My name is Darrin Vander Toorn, former Director of CED. I figured most people would know from my description above - nothing to hide I am afraid.

Mark G said...


It is ludicrous to imagine that Agresto's smear job will somehow taint Dolan's 'Google record'. All of the articles Agresto distorted/cited were already easily available to anyone who could do a search for John Dolan. It is quite strange, actually, that Agresto felt the need to spell out John Carroll Dolan twice in the piece. What the hell's the difference? Or was that supposed to be some kind of a threat? Like telling readers where Dolan lives (or so Agresto thought) so that some crazed AUIS fan might hunt him down and beat him up.

Anyway, nice to see you kissing Agresto's butt. You wear it well.

Mark G said...

"As a senior administrator for AUIS, I feel qualified to tell you, I made hundreds of decisions for AUIS and not once did John or Josh get involved and try to push me in another direction."

That's right. You were a part of the problem. It should be noted, folks, that Darrin's department was an incredible sham in itself. Lies, all lies, about sums it up. And if anyone was there primarily for the money (and for the power trip) it was Darrin. He bragged about it, for goddsakes. Anyone who knew him knew that. At least Dolan had the decency to admit he was there for the money...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark G said...

Aside from the fact that I lied and had a secret agenda, I think that I was the best instructor at AUIS while I was there. Think of what I could have taught these young Iraqi minds had I not been discovered....

I speak out like this and try to make issues out of things that aren't really there because

a. I am embarrassed about being fired
b. I can't get a real job back in the U.S.
c. I haven't been on a date since 1986
d. I was diagnosed as a high functioning sociopath

None of this disqualifies me for a job there except the fact that I mistrust anyone above me in the chain and resent any kind of authority. I hope everyone can forgive my obviously disillusioned outbursts and understand I now know I was wrong.

Mark G said...

FYI, in case anyone's confused: The person directly above is of course not me, but is rather a spiteful little coward - probably our notorious "meathead" (Rosalind's best coinage) Darrin - doing an obviously silly impersonation.

Note, again, the attempt to smear rather than openly confront. Even though I'm right here to debate. - Mark Grueter

Mark G said...

FYI, in case any of YOU are confused: The Mark G from above claiming that the other Mark G isn't Mark Grueter, isn't Mark Grueter - I am Mark Grueter! And you are all wrong! Living in my mother's basement doesn't mean I am not functional and identity theft is a crime! Don't judge me, I am just doing my thing....

The Real Mark Grueter

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Keep talking, Mark Greuter. It helps -- just not the way you want it to.

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome! The students themselves are taking Greuter down! You gotta love this blog!

Mark G said...


Show yourself you evil swine! Resistance is futile! I am a good teacher - I really am! Please somebody be my friend. I promise I won't won't start a blog about you and I promise to always be true..... Fine then! I hate you and will start a blog about you - "People Mark G Hates" will be the name of it - and you are on it! While I am at it I will add Bruce Willis and Ronald Regan as well so that people think I am important!

By the way, everyone is welcome at the Star Trek convention next week in New York. You'll love it! Long walks in the Village dressed up like a Klingon!!!!! Oh how I love life! - The Real Mark Grueter

Anonymous said...

Don't hurt me you incredible writer, and yes I'll be there!

Anonymous said...

John Dolan is a magnificent satirist, whose writings will one day be collected in a volume, but John Agresto reveals himself in his grasping screed to be nothing more than a constipated dour fool who, incredibly and laughably, uses Amazon book reviewers as legitimate sources for his hiring decisions.

Can you imagine anything so stupid?

That single fact alone tells us that Agresto gives even nincompoop, hack educrats at similar sad Potemkin structures calling themselves universities a bad name.

Incidentally, Rush Limbaugh was exposed druggie, but I can easily imagine John Agresto eagerly kissing his fat ass until suffering a concussion, and then waking up and doing it some more.

Anonymous said...

Mark can't seem to get ass out his mind...

Anonymous said...

If you read all the way through this fumbling excuse of a hatchet-job, you owe it to yourself to read Dolan's response. http://exiledonline.com/mugged-by-mediocrity-dr-dolan-schools-neocon-imbecile-john-agresto-in-the-art-of-character-assassination/

Anonymous said...

John Dolan's fitting response to this drivel, "Mugged By Mediocrity," is available here: http://tinyurl.com/2cvybfb

It's a rare treat to see a Reaganite dipshit drubbed as thoroughly as Agresto. Good luck to all the AUI-S students. You're going to need it.

Anonymous said...

put Agresto in gitmo imo

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dolan was very helpful professor. Different way of learning English helped us. Shame this dispute happened.

Anonymous said...

So the best you can come up with is snippets from Amazon.com reviews of his book? Really?

At least Dolan was never publicly decried as "Mediocre" in one of the biggest, most widely circulated newspapers in the USA. I feel sorry for AUI-S students who are saddled with a draft-dodging chicken hawk.

Anonymous said...

Haven't Americans done enough to the Iraqi people without saddling these intellectually thirsty students with the likes of this fat, draft-dodging, neo-con Sancho Panza, who has busied himself here by prattling foolishly about Amazon book reviewers, bathing, Ann Coulter and pornography?

Good heavens, these students deserve an articulate leader -- not this over-fed Cheney lapdog from Planet Pseudo-Academia.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "agresto" wop for "gooseberry" ?

Anonymous said...

Its easy to scratch the surface of John's writing and find things that seem offensive, thats just his style.

He truly is a rare and fantastic author, no surprises though that the majority of people don't get him.

I know a lot of people who greatly enjoyed his creative writing course at Otago University way back when, hope he can find a good home somewhere at an institution that can recognize him.

In person John is very knowledgeable and humble, a good teacher no doubt.

ianam said...

Good grief, what a piece of work this article and its author are. One could teach an entire course on propaganda and rhetorical fallacies based on this text alone.

Anonymous said...

Though sometimes a fan of Dolan's writing, I'm certainly repulsed by his ideological proclivities. I'm sure he'll find a tenure on one of the many Canadian campuses where his political opinions are considered baseline normal, even noble - where being a leftist activist certainly does not hurt employment prospects.

Paraphrenia is one symptom of the illness Dolan was suffering from (megaloblastic anemia apparently caused by B12 deficiency). Perhaps his behavior while afflicted with this illness can be excused medically.

Dan said...

Who knows - maybe Mr. Dolan used "Amazon.com reviewers" as a reference on his resume......but short of that, hilarious.

Past that, I wouldn't want to be the non-American (or uptight American, I suppose) trying to read and understand Mr. Dolan's sophisticated and subtle style. Without an intimate knowledge of American culture it would be hard to grasp the satire. Certainly a fantastic, unique writer, but not for everyone.

Russ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The really funny things about this post is not that Dolan was fired, but

1) that he was hired in the first place, AS DOLAN HIMSELF ACKNOWLEDGES.

2) that the president of a college with supposedly high standards wrote such a snotty little hit piece. Classy.

Connor said...

@Dana Jaf and other students

"I am not involved in the personal or ideological tensions between Dr. Agresto and Dr. Dolan, and I don't want to be. Its roots are in America and its fruits are here."

I don't blame you for not understanding this, Dana, but I assure you, by siding with Agresto, you're siding with a crew of Americans that Americans themselves want to be rid of. Agresto & Co. (his neo-con, imperialist, right-wing buddies) are little more than Mafioso with access to American tax-payer money.

Trust me on this: Americans like Agresto are vastly overrepresented in the Middle-east.

I don't envy your position. You're being educated in an institution run by a gruesome crew of thugs, and that's not your fault. Maybe cozying up to creeps like Agresto is your best chance for a decent life. That would be unfortunate, but I'm over here in cushy U.S.A., so who am I to judge?

Just know that Dolan is not your enemy, I assure you.

Anonymous said...

This last post doesn't do anything to help achieve what the ultimate goal of AUI-S is; educate students in Iraq. As far as I can tell, the writer pities the low level of intelligence of the students at AUI-S by "not blaming them for not understanding". Seems a bit elitist to me.

The writer is at best an amateur anarchist that distrusts any form of organized education (or organization in general for that matter)and wants to project these insecurities on the students at AUI-S. Sorry "Connor" but I have more faith in the ability of these students you pity that they are capable of maiking their own minds up about the instructors they experience at the school. If they don't like Dolan then why are they automatically wrong? Perhaps they have enough mental power to make this decision on their own.

To describe administrators at AUI-S as a "gruesome crew" shows your own intention behind this post - makes me think that your last name could be Grueter. It shows a lot of your own level of awareness and intelligence when you resort to such fear mongering tactics to try and get students to believe what you are saying. What happened to their freedom to follow what they believe in? Perhaps that is only valid when they agree with you and do not make their own decisions.

Honestly, I hope one day people like you begin to accept that there is no "hidden agenda" run by secret administrators in the world - they just don't like you. Which is perhaps where all of this comes from. Maybe in your past you feel that someone (maybe even Agresto) didn't recognize you for something you thought was a strength of yours, and this is where all of this is coming from. Here is some life advice, if no one recognizes you as being a good at something, chances are it is not the American government trying to secretly wage a personal war against you - you are probably just not good at something - sorry.....

EClips said...

Darrin fails to realize that as a life-long bully, it is people like him that create these "unwanted" and "anti-social" people that "nobody wants". It's unfortunate that all of our mothers can't leave their fathers and, erm, "marry" their way into money so that we can fall into it (and walk around as if we deserve it by birthright). The world would be a much better place if we had high powered executive step-daddies molding us into little yes men, right Big D?

Dolan may have been a fraud, maybe not. Whatever the case, somebody does not follow up thoroughly enough on background checks. For example, I'd be willing to bet that Darrin neglected to list his job during univesity as a male stripper on his CV, and nobody looked hard enough to dig it up.

Anonymous said...

I like to think of ir as teaching geeks coping skills for later on in life. Sounds like this writer needed some more bullying.

Connor said...

"Sorry "Connor" but I have more faith in the ability of these students you pity that they are capable of maiking their own minds up about the instructors they experience at the school. "

"Seems a bit elitist to me."

Oh spare me. Pathetic beyond belief. I was referring to the students not having the context to fully understand the cultural/political divide in the U.S.A considering that they do not, you know, LIVE here. Just as I am ignorant of the cultural/political divide in 21st century Sicily or any other nation in which I do not and have not ever lived. Truly bizarre that you think you could successfully frame that as an 'elitist' attitude.

The fact is that the Agrestos of the U.S.A. are a despised lot in their home country. They plundered the nation's resources and sent its children to kill and be killed. It's not surprising that they're hated here. In the Middle East, I suspect they're a privileged and protected class. I thought the students should understand that.

By the way, you kind of tipped your hand--Your charge of "elitist" is proof positive that you're likely an American right-winger/neocon between 55 and 68 years old. ("Elitist" being their favorite slur.) Straight out of Fox News. Is that you, Agresto?

"If they don't like Dolan then why are they automatically wrong? Perhaps they have enough mental power to make this decision on their own."

From what I understand, Dolan's students liked him quite a bit.

"The writer is at best an amateur anarchist that distrusts any form of organized education (or organization in general for that matter)and wants to project these insecurities on the students at AUI-S."

Jesus H. You're like a celebrity trial attorney here. Or a McCarthyite. I can't tell which. The ghost of Roy Cohn lives on in you, Agresto!

Anonymous said...

Well that was a a bowl of bag chowder for sure. Honestly, the whole "I love John Dolan" tantrum is getting old. Sure some people liked him, and yes, some did not. This has no bearing on the reasons why he was fired. He wrote some pretty controversial stories involving Muslims and an American lady for starters. Try to explain that to your students when and if they read it - awkward.

To deny that Dolan isn't a brilliant man is ludicrous. His writing and ability are certainly rare. Still doesn't make him a good professor in Iraq given the content of some of his work. What is really amusing is how some people like to try and align themselves with Dolan with the hopes that they might be recognized as being of the same caliber. Go write some stories and get published, then maybe you will earn a seat at the table. Until then keep walking behind Dolan and fluffing him as he needs it.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Mr. Darren Vander Toorn isn't aware that he didn't get the reference he thought he would from Mr. Agresto when contacted by a school in Canada. You should put down the kool aid glass now Mr. Vander Toorn - and you should absolutely stop using Mr. Agresto as a reference. With 'friends' like that you will never need enemies. Carry the flag if you want to - but it won't undue the damage that has been done to your reputation by your own hero. I believe it is called 'stupidity' in Canadian english as well.

Anonymous said...

Reality check for Darrin Vandertoorn. Agresto is giving you horrible references. You may have a letter of recommendation - but everytime Agresto is called about your 'abilities' he tells them that you act like a 'grade schooler' best to check this out for yourself. There is a reason as to why you are not finding the job that you want.

Moss said...

From a whowhatwhy.com profile on the university:

"One student we spoke with expressed resentment at being force-fed a kind of colonialist pap via the principal textbook in his American history survey class. “This book talks about Indians not very friendly[sic], like a bad people.” Seeking to recall the title and author, he went and pulled the book off his shelf, and read aloud: The Last Best Hope, by William J. Bennett—John Agresto’s mentor and perhaps the leading theorist of the neoconservative cultural movement that seeks to defend traditional interpretations of the American adventure. Bennett himself characterized his book as an attempt to make Americans feel good about their history."

Ugh. Agresto's neocon overlords destroy a country, kill and displace hundreds of thousands of people, yet they can't even step away from crass cable-news politicking for one minute to give their students a decent education.

To any AUI-S student reading this: no moderately-respectable first-tier or second-tier American university (public or private) would ever, ever, ever assign a Bill Bennett book even if the professor was a card-carrying Republican. I assure you.

I went to a university where several prominent Republican officials sent their kids. Many conservatives on campus. Several in the administration and on the faculty. And I assure you, this would never, ever happen.

Anonymous said...

FYI - the US government has never given a dime to AUIS - nor will they ever. Why? Because regardless of his huffing and puffing about his great reputation -- NO ONE knows John Agresto in DC. Sure - he may have some very distant name connections to a few - but so do a million other people in the US. And while he tried to hype up his friends like 'Donnie' Rumsfeld as he loves to call him, in reality he's no big deal and his credentials and reputation were already questionable before he ever stepped foot in Iraq. The US government would never put a single US tax payer dime in the trust and care of 'Johnny' Agresto. Private donatations from Iraqi's , which are running out now, are what has funded the school from day one. The idea that money was ever taped to Agresto to smuggle anywhere is not true - because anyone - as the US government already knows - would be out of their mind to give him that kind of cash in the first place which is why the school has never been able to raise funds from other sources. Both he and Mitchell are tight fisted arrogant hacks and everyone knows it which is why they were incapable of raising money and establishing a self-sustaining university. Their reputations were right in line with their abilities.

Anonymous said...

AUIS is such a corrupt place. Most students are cheaters and many of the faculty could never find a job in the USA. I was a professor there and left appalled.

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Heather said...

Poor Darrin. His biggest problem is that he was never a Hickey. He tried. He was technically close. He wanted it to be true sooooo baaaaad. But we know what he really is, not what he pretends to be...

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