Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is a foreign policy analyst and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles


Yoram Schweitzer , writing in Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth , throws some cold water on claims of victory against al-Qaeda: "Al-Qaeda has already achieved several of its goals in Iraq, and while these may be circumscribed, they will not be reversed entirely. The global jihad has indeed been reinvigorated and been granted a new pretext and new context for its continued struggle, for new recruitment, and for accelerated training of new combatants. [...] Moreover, Iraq for al-Qaeda is one of many theaters whose achievements can be transplanted elsewhere. The first of these alternate arenas, which is experiencing something of a revival in the last year, is Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda fighters, supported by the Taliban, have begun to recover and exploit the topographical advantages of the terrain to launch guerilla and terrorist attacks against the Karzai regime and the coalition forces. At the same time, al-Qaeda cells are operating in Pakistan against the Musharraf government and are using...


Responding to Ezra 's and my posts yesterday about Marty Peretz 's attack on Desmond Tutu , James Kirchick assists his editor-in-chief: “Duss's and Klein's criticism consists mostly of ad hominem attacks and a defense of Tutu based primarily, if not entirely, on the fact that he's...well...Desmond Tutu.” No: Marty Peretz claimed that Desmond Tutu, in a speech last Saturday, “actually threatened Israel -- and not just the State but the whole People.” I responded that this was not true, that it was not a remotely defensible interpretation of anything Tutu said, and linked to Tutu’s remarks (PDF) as proof. If calling Marty Peretz a a liar and a defamer because he lied about and defamed Desmond Tutu qualifies as “an ad hominem attack,” well, then you can bill me. As for my defense of "Tutu for being Tutu," I suggested neither that he was perfect, nor above reproach. I merely meant (and, frankly, I think this was clear) that the man's career-long commitment to non-violence and...


Marty Peretz , continuing to rise below even my worst estimation : "Archbishop Desmond Tutu preached in Boston on Saturday "in a lengthy and emotional address to a packed Old South Church," according to Sunday's Globe. And what did he preach about? The same topic he's always preaching about these days: the evil the Jews are inflicting on the Palestinians. You wonder why a South African cleric of the Anglican Church is fixated on Israel, or at least I wonder. It could be for the same reason that many Christian clerics have always found reason to damn the Jews. With his characteristic sneer he actually threatened Israel -- and not just the State but the whole People. 'Remembering what happened to you in Egypt and much more recently in Germany -- remember and act accordingly.'" This is, quite simply, libelous. I was present at Old South Church on Saturday, and without getting too deep into some of the issues I'm hoping to deal with in an upcoming article relating to the event, I'll just...


Ezra , I don't think Obama specified which Rocky-Apollo fight he was referring to. Given that Obama identifies as Rocky, we can probably assume he means the fight Rocky won, in Rocky II . In any case, he wasn't referring to the outcome of the match, as much as to the hype around it, and how that sort of thing can distract from the important issues under discussion, or, to continue the Rocky analogy, from the rustic, unadorned beauty of two human beings beating each other to a permanently brain-damaged pulp. In regard to Obama's use of the reference, I would offer that, despite being released all the way back in 1976, some awareness of the first Rocky , its plot, central characters and themes, and its contribution of the "training montage set to orchestral funk guitar solo" to the American filmic vocabulary, falls under the heading of "basic pop-cultural literacy." I am interested to hear others' opinions on this. --Matthew Duss


Following up on Spencer Ackerman 's very good article , I think it's important to understand that, while President Bush will of course treat any good news from Iraq as a vindication of his own "steadfastness," the tribal revolt was unforeseen by anyone who took part in planning the surge, and essentially fell into our laps. Through their brutality, arrogance, and disrespect for Iraqi tribal customs, al-Qaeda apparently drove their former hosts to revolt. To General Petraeus ' credit, he seems to have quickly grasped what was going on and used the resources given to him for the surge to exploit this development. Dave Kilcullen posted an excellent summary of the events which led to the revolt, its significant positive effects, as well as some of the possible downsides: "The negative implications are easy to state, but far-reaching. For one thing, we have spent the last four years carefully building up and supporting an Iraqi political system based on non-tribal institutions. Indeed, the...