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


In a strong early contender for worst column of the year, Tony Blankley weighs the costs of the Iraq war: First, of course, the debit side must be noted, foremost the human cost, to date: about 4,000 dead American troops, about 30,000 injured, perhaps half seriously, including more than 600 amputees and about 3,000 diagnosed traumatic brain injuries. Many more Iraqis have been killed. The financial cost of the war will run above $1 trillion. We have also, at least temporarily, driven thousands of Muslims into the radical ranks, created great enmity in much of the Muslim world (and not a little in Europe also.) Against these costs and terrible human losses, on the credit side we eliminated a vicious anti-American regime and aborted any future plans they might have had for developing nuclear weapons. We intimidated Libya to give up its surprisingly advanced nuclear program. And, if the recent National Intelligence Estimate is to be believed, Iran happened to give up its nuclear program...


Josh Patashnik , responding to Andy McCarthy 's claim that Benazir Bhutto was killed "by the real Pakistan": [This] seems to me akin to saying in 1968 that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by the "real America"--not completely absurd, but far from capturing the reality of the situation. It's an insult to the disenfranchised majority of Pakistanis who reject both Musharraf and al-Qaeda. Indeed. --Matthew Duss


Max Boot claims "Charlie Wilson's War" for his team, describing "neocon movies" thusly: Movies...that support active American intervention in the world in support of our ideals as well as our strategic interests. Now, of course, that's not neoconservatism, that's just plain good old liberal internationalism. Neoconservatism, as practiced by actual neoconservatives, is more accurately characterized as appropriating the language of values and ideals to give political cover to the vigorous pursuit of our strategic interests. Though I do take attempts by once-proud neocons like Boot to redefine their ideology so broadly and innocuously as to include everyone other than Ron Paul as a sign that they understand that it has not aged well. As for "Charlie Wilson's War" being a neocon movie, consider: The film seriously underplays the brutality of U.S. allies, while stressing the viciousness of our enemies. The strategy of arming Afghan warlords is presented as a wonderful plan whose...


Cernig comments on reports that Muqtada al-Sadr may extend the cease fire he declared in late August. ( Via Eric Martin .) Meanwhile, Cap'n Ed puzzles over why Sadr continues to refuse to play his assigned part in the "decline into political obsolescence" narrative that the Cap'n and so many other conservative scribes have persisted in writing lo these many years. Sadr has proven a wily foe in Iraq, and one has to wonder what he hopes to gain from this decision. No one really understood his sudden decision to adopt the cease-fire, either, except that he had already tried fighting a smaller American force and lost badly. Sadr didn't want to give the US another reason to go after him personally, and in fact fled the country when the surge started. [...] One hint may be in his new enthusiasm for his religious studies. He has long wanted to be taken seriously as a cleric, but lacked the formal training that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has, as well as his standing. Sadr, who got...


Negar Azimi explains how, rather than continuing to pressure Egypt on human rights and democratic reform, the Bush administration has reverted to supporting Hosni Mubarak 's dictatorship, treating it as an ally in the "war on terror" and a bulwark against the growing Iranian and Islamist influence which has resulted from the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Isn't that wonderful? By agreeing to be a recipient of extraordinary rendition detainees , you too can get the heat off your authoritarian regime. There's no overstating how deeply dispiriting this sort of thing is to Arab political reformers, or how strongly it confirms al-Qaeda propaganda about American methods and intentions in the Middle East. Ayman al-Zawahiri was himself radicalized by the torture he endured in Mubarak's prisons, and now, after a head fake in the direction of political reform, the U.S. is back to underwriting that torture. Ring, freedom, ring. --Matthew Duss