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

LOW HANGING (ORGANIC, OF COURSE) FRUIT.

Over at The Corner , one of Jonah Goldberg 's emailers responds to Goldberg's latest iteration of his argument that torture is no big deal by suggesting that Jonah "go read The Gulag Archipelago , by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It will tell you all you need to know about torture." Jonah fires back: I've read the Gulag Archipelago. It didn't tell me everything I needed to know about torture, it told me almost everything I needed to know about the evil of the Soviet Union. And, guess what? The comparison between the United States and the Soviet Union is idiotic and slanderous. Now, obviously, one doesn't have to believe that the U.S. and the USSR were morally equivalent in order to be deeply troubled now by the U.S.'s operating a global network of secret prisons wherein suspects are held indefinitely without charge and tortured. One just has to be decent. What brings Jonah's sanctimonious response to the level of farce, however, (or, as Frank Zappa used to say, "out of the realm of mere...

THE STRAIGHTTALK EXPRESS TO TORTURE TOWN.

Steve Benen examines John McCain 's sell-out on torture: To briefly recap, a spending bill to finance the nation’s intelligence efforts went to conference, where Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) added an important provision [requiring] the intelligence community to abide by the same interrogation standards articulated in the Army Field Manual, which, of course, prohibit torture. For McCain, this should have been an easy one. After all, he recently argued, rather forcefully, during a Republican presidential debate, “I would hope that we would understand, my friends, that life is not 24 and Jack Bauer. Life is interrogation techniques which are humane and yet effective. And I just came back from visiting a prison in Iraq. The army general there said that techniques under the Army Field Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn’t think they need to do anything else. My friends, this is what America is all about.” That was then. When push came to shove, and the nation looked to...

THE THINK TANK OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND.

Yesterday, the Hillary Clinton campaign charged Barack Obama with "shameless ... potential plagiarism" for offering economic proposals that the Clinton camp claims resemble Sen. Clinton's. While one has to admire the studied imprecision of the phrase "potential plagiarism", unlike the much-discussed provenance of the new Obama campaign slogan "We are the ones we have been waiting for," the source of the charges against Obama's economic proposals is clear: Kevin A. Hassett , Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies , American Enterprise Institute. Yes, that American Enterprise Institute . How odd that a few weeks after attacking Obama for saying nice things about Ronald Reagan , Clinton is now attacking him with talking points gleaned from the very pro-business, pro-war, anti-tax, anti-government think thank of which Ronald Reagan said "stands at the center of a revolution in ideas of which I, too, have been a part." Update : Commenter Benjamin notes that the Hassett quote...

THE QUALITY OF MERCY.

That Marty Peretz , he's all class : Reports about the "horrors of Israeli occupation," Peretz adds, don't particularly impress him. "I'm not under the impression that Israeli occupation is kind and sweet. No occupation is kind or sweet. But bad things happen everywhere, all the time," he says dryly. Yeah, big deal, they're only Arabs, right Marty? I think we can safely assume that Peretz's response to anyone brutish or callow enough to express a similarly blase attitude toward Israeli suffering would be anything but dry. I'm telling you, TNR 's offices would drown in a raging monsoon of spittle and chest hair, and Jamie Kirchick would be crushing paper cups non-stop for days on end. Update: Daniel Levy on why Palestinian suffering should and does matter : Here’s why this matters and it merits attention and even a two minute break from the relentless primaries speculation. The unresolved Palestinian issue resonates, it is not just a creation used by Arab regimes and al-Jazeera, it is...

FLAWED AND UGLY.

Reuel Marc Gerecht celebrates President Bush 's creative destruction: Although the White House often seems bedeviled by the task of defining "victory" in Iraq, it really isn't that hard. Flawed and ugly as it is, Iraqi democracy stumbles forward. The Shiite and Sunni Arabs are slowly establishing representative political arrangements within their own communities that allow some diversity of opinion. Leaving aside the fact that as this "victory" as Gerecht defines it, in addition to obviously representing a monumental climbdown from each and every one of the numerous justifications previously offered for the war, does not actually add up to "an Iraqi state" as much as to "a series of armed militia communities we're going to call Iraq," was this outcome really worth 4,000 American dead , over 28,000 wounded , and, by the end of 2008, some $600 billion in American treasure? Was it worth over half a million Iraqi dead, many times that maimed, and some 3 million displaced? Was it worth...

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