Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

Muqtada's Got a Posse

Patrick Cockburn's new book, Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq, confronts neocon myths about the political situation in Iraq.

On March 20, Bush administration Iraq hands Dan Senor and Roman Martinez published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Whatever Happened to Muqtada?" The item -- which was accompanied by a cartoon drawing of the Iraqi cleric that seemed inspired by racist propaganda of the 1930s -- declared Sadr a spent force in Iraqi politics. Senor and Martinez were engaged in what has now become a semi-annual ritual among pro-Iraq war cultists: Prematurely celebrating the demise of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. (Last year, Crooked Timber blogger John Quiggin compiled a partial list of Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds' premature "Sadr is finished!" ejaculations.) Senor and Martinez's blithe declaration of Sadr's decline, their presentation of him as a rogueish rabble-rouser, and their failure to acknowledge of the deep resonance of his message in Iraqi society was unsurprising. The article is emblematic of the pro-war community's enduring, simplistic view of Sadr as a crude bandit or, as...

LOOK UP THE NUMBER.

As part of an apparent effort to reinvigorate political journalism's most tired cliches, James Kirchick declares that "the Left lacks a sense of humor." He offers as proof my Think Progress post from Tuesday, in which I noted what a sad commentary on conservatism it was that Christopher Buckley felt that John McCain needed to be forgiven for opposing torture. Quoth Peretz 's ward: Aside from the fact that the author of this post totally misses the point in that Buckley is lampooning McCain’s conservative critics, he also seems like a total party pooper. Observe that, in the column, Buckley refers to the “the Archfiend, Ted Kennedy” and notes that Fred Thompson “could barely manage to stay awake during his own announcement speech.” Indeed, Buckley opens the piece with an anecdote about a New Yorker cartoon. The problem with the liberals at ThinkProgress is that, since they themselves have no sense of humor, they cannot recognize a joke when it hits them square between the eyes. Observe...

RULES OF ATTRIBUTION FOR THEE...

I'm with Cernig on the Clinton campaign's "plagiarism" charge against Obama : I think they take at least as big a hit on this as he does. TPM has more , and points us to this from Jake Tapper : In a conference call just now the Clinton campaign would not guarantee that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has never used someone else's rhetoric without crediting them. I asked Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, if they could assure the public that neither Clinton nor McGovern has ever done what Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, did when he used the rhetoric of Gov. Deval Patrick without footnoting him. They would not. In fact, Wolfson seemed to say it wouldn't be as big a deal if it were discovered that Clinton had "lifted" such language. "Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric," Wolfson said. That's some quick thinking, Howie. --Matthew Duss

YOU HAVE ANGERED THE SCHOLZ.

Still running also-ran Mike Huckabee has been using Boston's song "More Than A Feeling" at campaign rallies, and performing it with his band. News of this has reached the ears of Boston's founder, guitar geek demigod Tom Scholz , who is not amused : Huckabee, a bass guitarist himself, has the endorsement of one of the band’s former members, Barry Goudreau, but its leader Tom Scholz made it clear that the group has never endorsed a candidate and even if it did, the former Arkansas governor was not in tune with them. “Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and with all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for,” Scholz said in a statement. “In fact, although I’m impressed you learned my bass guitar part on More Than a Feeling, I am an Obama supporter.” Scholz then announced his intention to release a response to Huckabee in the form of a sequel to "More Than A Feeling" entitled "But Substantially Less...

BRAND NEW IRAQ, ONLY SIX-HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS! WHO WANTS TO PLAY?

Continuing to man the "Surge Success!" booth at the Bush Country Fair, neocon carnie Reuel Marc Gerecht looks at the bright side of life: Regarding the Iraq war and jihadism, two facts stand out. First, if we make a comparison with the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979-89, which was the baptismal font for al-Qaeda, what's most striking is how few foreign holy warriors have gone to Mesopotamia since the U.S. invasion in 2003. What's impressive about this is that for years the Bush administration and the neocon apparat relentlessly inflated the numbers of foreign fighters in Iraq, first in an effort to deny the genuinely indigenous, nationalist nature of the insurgency (after first denying the insurgency's existence for over a year), and then to tie Iraq to the broader war on terror by over-representing al-Qaeda's role there (something which only caused al-Qaeda's stock to rise in the Middle East). Don't you remember, these guys had a whole " flypaper " theory worked out, in which terrorists...

Pages