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

The Fog of Advisers

The proposal forthcoming from the 9-11 Commission to create a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to oversee all of the federal government's intelligence activities will be no panacea to solve all the problems that have plagued the American intelligence community for years. Surely, though, it will be a step in the right direction. That the community's work should be coordinated, rather than confused and riven by interagency rivalries, is obvious. Indeed, it's so obvious that the legislation setting up the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, and other key pillars of the American national security apparatus in the wake of World War II envisioned just that. The CIA chief is intended to be not only the top man at one agency, but also a true Director of Central Intelligence -- the president and the National Security Council's adviser on all things intelligence, including those matters that fall outside the CIA's purview. The reality, over the decades, has proven...

Have Faith, Part Two

If conventional wisdom is to be believed, John Kerry has a religion problem -- namely, that Americans think he's insufficiently devout. Every pundit in America has advice for Kerry on how to appeal to religious audiences on the trail and how to make use of his own Catholic faith -- but should he listen? Ayelish McGarvey argues that religion could lead Kerry to the promised land, but Matthew Yglesias fears that the road to defeat is paved with biblical quotations. This is the second round in a three-part debate. Click here to read the opening round and here to read the conclusion. Matthew Yglesias McGarvey writes that this debate is about swing voters, not "southern fundamentalists or rural Pentacostals," so at least we agree on that much. The question is whether "get[ing] comfortable with religion," to use the prevailing jargon for mention God more often, is a sound strategy for reaching them. We also agree that moderate Catholics are an important swing constituency but again, why do...

Gotta Have Faith?

If conventional wisdom is to be believed, John Kerry has a religion problem -- namely, that Americans think he's insufficiently devout. From the inner circle of the Kerry campaign to the front page of the Washington Post , every pundit in America has advice for Kerry on how to appeal to religious audiences on the trail and how to make use of his own Catholic faith -- but should he listen? Ayelish McGarvey argues that religion could lead Kerry to the promised land, but Matthew Yglesias fears that the road to defeat is paved with biblical quotations. This is the first round in a three-part debate. The second round can be read here . Matthew Yglesias Does John Kerry have a religion problem? So say several articles by my friend Amy Sullivan, an influential American Prospect story by my colleague and debate partner Ayelish McGarvey, a recent Slate piece by faith-based Steve Waldman, and a New York Times column by friendly conservative David Brooks. The New Republic hasn't yet tackled the...

True Lies

The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's 521-page report into the intelligence community's pre-war work on the Iraq issue has launched the country into another round of debate over whether the Bush administration simply relied on poor intelligence work, or whether administration appointees pressured analysts into hyping the threat. It's an important debate to have. And the fact that the Senate's GOP majority pushed scheduled the release date of the official inquiry in these matters must be regarded as suggestive. But this debate shouldn't obscure how much there is to learn from the report we already have. It tells us, for example, that the president may not have needed to engage in much politicization of the intelligence analysis process since he was more than willing to simply misstate the community's findings when he felt like it. One key question hanging over the Iraq debate was always, "Why Iraq? Why now?" After all, Saddam Hussein's malign regime had been engaged in low...

War of the Words

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that "The first draft of the Democratic platform that will be presented to the party's convention late this month ... declares that Mr. Bush's 'doctrine of unilateral pre-emption has driven away our allies.'" It's the sort of talking point I hear so often in anti-Bush circles that I almost just skipped right over it. Liberals should watch their words more closely, though, for political and policy disaster are lurking not far from too-quick condemnations of preemptive war. As the Bush administration tells it, preemption is an excellent thing. If the president sees a threat to the United States, he intends to strike first -- preempting it -- rather than waiting for America to come under attack. Do Democrats really want to be the party of "wait and see," standing idly by while our citizens are killed by terrorists and rogue leaders? The answer, of course, is "no." Any sensible person would favor preemptive action when warranted, hence the...

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