Matthew Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.

Recent Articles

Iraq the Vote

The most important election in determining the future of U.S. policy in the Middle East may not be the one happening on November 2. Sometime in the 10 days after the victor takes the presidential oath of office on January 20, another election will take place in Iraq. This will determine the composition of a national assembly that will govern the country while writing a new, permanent constitution. A legitimate and stable outcome of that election is crucial to both Iraq and the United States. Unfortunately, it also seems increasingly unlikely. The success of the Iraqi election is the basket in which the Bush administration has put all its eggs. Speaking at the Republican national convention, President Bush described the mission in Iraq as “clear.” We are there, and in Afghanistan, to help “new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible.” The elections will be the moment, effectively, when the United...

Isn't It Ironic?

I used to be one of those people who got really annoyed at the widespread misuse of the word "ironic," as in the Alanis Morissette song -- or in this report from the Center for American Progress into the sorry state of American security that landed on my desk last Thursday morning. They write that "the Bush administration deserves an 'F' for its weak and contradictory efforts to control the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and materials. This is ironic in light of the administration's recognition that a terrorist armed with such a weapon poses the greatest threat to the American people." Another thing that annoys me is when people don't use serial commas, and the first sentence there is a great example of why this is a bad idea. That's also not what irony is. Nevertheless, I don't worry about that stuff much anymore because it seems like just about everyday I learn something new about how little the government is doing to stop terrorists from killing me with a...

Surrender Monkey in Chief

The president, as he revealed last week, doesn't think he can win the war on terrorism. That's a bit of an off-message remark for a man whose re-election campaign is predicated on the notion that only he can win the war on terrorism. Worse, the statement suggests the president has only a passing familiarity with the generally accepted meaning of the term "war on terrorism." Then again, we already knew he wasn't very bright. Even stranger than this, however, is what the president said he thinks is possible: "I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." Total victory may indeed be setting the bar too high, but is it so unreasonable to expect the president to promise that his policies will reduce the incidence of terrorism, mitigating the problem if not solving it? Apparently so. George W. Bush not only won't bring us total safety, he won't even make us safer -- instead he'll make those who threaten us "less...

Rudy Can Fail

Tell me that Rudolph Giuliani did a good job on September 11 and you'll get no argument from me. Say he was, all things considered, a good mayor and, despite my disagreements with him on some matters, you'll get no argument from me. If we were in the middle of a presidential campaign focused on the topic of reducing urban crime, he'd be just the man I'd expect to see giving a prime-time address. If we were in the middle of a presidential campaign focused on the topic of rallying a confused and frightened population with inspiring rhetoric and personal leadership, again, he'd be a good choice. But we're not in the middle of either of those campaigns. We're in the middle of a campaign that the president, saddled with a domestic agenda that's unpopular across the board and an increasingly problematic war in Iraq, desperately wants to make about preventing future terrorist attacks. What business, exactly, does Giuliani have being the featured speaker on the convention night that's...

The Steadfast Flip-Flopper

John Kerry is a flip-flopper. In 2001, for example, he voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, but now he says that federal education spending should be further increased. In 2002, he voted to give the president authority to threaten the use of force in order to get United Nations inspectors back in Iraq, but now he says that the president was wrong to invade Iraq when without a UN mandate when inspectors were already in the country. He's unprincipled, see? The president, by contrast, is a man of steadfast convictions, as witnessed by the blank gaze he exhibits when speaking. Not one for nuance, George W. Bush papers over the distinction between harsh, accurate advertisements financed by “527” groups capable of raising unlimited funds and harsh, inaccurate advertisements financed by 527 groups capable of raising unlimited funds. No, to him it is a point of principle: The "shadowy groups" must be stopped, whether their charges are accurate or not. It's a bit hard to say what the...

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