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

"THE MASTER SWORDSMAN OF DOLCHSTOSS."

( Via Publius ) Glenn Reynolds : "If, as seems likely, Iraq succeeds, Republicans will be able to say it was in spite of the Democrats' efforts. If, as remains possible, it fails, Republicans will be able to say it was because of the Democrats' efforts." Usually, people attempting to advance staggeringly disingenuous political arguments don't broadcast it like this, but, unfortunately, whatever points Reynolds may have gotten for candor are entirely canceled out by his only being candid about his intention to be dishonest. Eric Martin unpacks Reynolds' nonsense: "What remarkable analysis. Without definining, or even hinting at the definition of "success," Reynolds breezily sweeps aside myriad factors that have contributed to the failure of the Iraq endeavor to leave the blame solely at the feet of the Democrats. Not satisfied to leave the Dems on the hook for failure, Reynolds suggests that even if Iraq does succeed, we could still blame the Democrats for its near-failure. The troops...

IN WHICH I GO FROM SYD BARRETT TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERS IN THREE

Tom Stoppard talks about how Syd Barrett partly inspired his new play, Rock 'n' Roll , which deals with young Czechoslovaks in the late 60's, turned on by Western culture and music, negotiating their identities under a suffocating Communist dictatorship. Fred Kaplan uses Stoppard's play to ask whether this phenomenon could repeat itself in America's relationship with Arab publics. "What inspired many of the Eastern bloc dissidents during the Cold War—what they found so alluring about the West—was not so much our market capitalism or parliamentary democracy; still less was it our government's policies. It was the insouciant freedom of our culture. It was our rock 'n' roll. [...] What does America have going for it now? What could we send out to the world that might have the same impact on, say, Arabs and Muslims today that rock, jazz, and B-movies had on Russians and Europeans during the Cold War?" Kaplan notes an important difference between then and now: "Since the world was divided...

Un-Selling the Surge

Now that the neocons have moved the goalposts, how can Democrats counteract the charge that they're "defeatist" and "dishonorable" for wanting to exit Iraq?

Despite growing disenchantment with the war in Iraq, the well-organized conservative propaganda machine has been hard at work selling the "success of the surge." After relentlessly promoting the invasion of Iraq in the wake of 9-11, then denying or shifting blame for that invasion's negative repercussions, the neocons have now begun attacking anyone who challenges their "surge success" narrative for being defeatist and dishonoring the troops. Having moved the goalposts all the way up onto the line of scrimmage, the right now condemns anyone who will not recognize a touchdown. At The Weekly Standard , home base of the surgeniks, James Ceaser asks : "Will any of the Democratic candidates be able to summon the courage to concede an American victory in Iraq? No one, of course, can know the ultimate outcome of this long war. But the vaunted 'facts on the ground' now at least admit a trend leading to what might reasonably be called victory." Stirring. Kimberly Kagan, whose husband Fred...

CARTOONISHNESS IS NOT A DEFENSE

Following up on his article last Saturday about the federal raid on the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code (Norfed), a "sound money" organization which has been marketing " Ron Paul Dollars," the Washington Post' s Alec MacGillis notes an interesting defense against the government's assertion that Norfed's goal was "undermin[ing] the United States government's financial systems by the issuance of a non-governmental competing currency": "This argument met with ridicule over the weekend from the prolific on-line network of Ron Paul supporters and sound money advocates, some of whom sarcastically predicted that the feds would next be going after Disneyworld for selling "Disney Dollars" for use inside the amusement park. "Here is a Mickey Mouse coin issued by that criminal, separatist organization, the Walt Disney Corporation. Did someone fail Common Sense 101?" wrote one commenter on the Post's Web site, offering a link to an image of...

RE: HILLARY CLINTON'S FOREIGN POLICY

There's not a lot to work with, as I think Hillary Clinton's foreign policy has been surprisingly substance-free even for a presidential campaign, but two things immediately jump out at me. The first, obviously, is her attempt to position herself as a "serious" i.e. centrist national security Democrat, not like that Obama guy, who clearly has not yet perfected the art of squinting and nodding sagely about national security, but not as crazy as George W. Bush , who has irresponsibly screwed everything up with his irresponsible screw-ups. While I'm not among those who believe that sack cloth and ashes are required gear for every legislator who supported the Iraq war, I tend to think her explanations of her vote and her criticisms of Bush for his conduct (but not necessarily his conception, of the war and the ideological predispositions that led to it) amount to an incompetence dodge. Hillary talks a lot about internationalism and rebuilding alliances, but haven't seen any indication...

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