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

A Simple Plan

On April 27, beneath the fluorescent lights of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' basement conference room, Representative Jim Turner unveiled "Winning The War on Terror," a large report prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security. Turner hoped that the report might spark national debate over what could easily be the most serious problem the nation faces. Instead, it vanished into the void, attracting almost no attention outside of his home state of Texas. Turner, after all, simply isn't a power player in Washington. He's the sort of backbench, minority-party congressman who has time to linger after an event and chat with reporters from small-circulation magazines. He won't even be in Congress much longer, having essentially been forced from office by a redistricting plan engineered by Tom DeLay to divide Turner's constituents among six jurisdictions. But Turner's lame-duck obscurity isn't a reason to ignore his work. Indeed, it...

New World Order

Presumably exhausted after hours of earlier testimony before both the Senate and the House, Don Rumsfeld strayed a bit off-topic late Friday afternoon in response to a question from Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). Langevin wanted to know, sensibly, "how do we restore our credibility on human rights," in the wake of revelations of torture and abuse at U.S.-run detention facilities. Rumsfeld's answer: America is not what's wrong with the world. And the overwhelming majority of the people in the world know that. I mean, why do people line up to get into this country, year after year? I read all this stuff -- "people hate us, people don't like us" -- the fact of the matter is, people line up to come into this country every year. It doesn't come through on the transcript, but it was clear from Rumsfeld's tone, his body language, the expression on his face, and the look in his eye that this was one of those disturbing moments when you realize that this administration's real problem isn't that...

On the Ground

Dick Cheney knows what's going wrong in Iraq: media bias. Asked Thursday night during a conference call with supporters about "some of the things that are happening in Iraq that are really good but just never get through the media," the Vice President advised of a cure: Fox News. "I end up spending a lot of time watching Fox News," Cheney said, "because they're more accurate in my experience, in those events that I'm personally involved in, than many of the other outlets." Another administration lie, perhaps, but I worry that it may be all-too-true. Maybe the Vice President really does think that Roger Ailes' non-stop agitprop is the best way to stay informed. Certainly it would explain a lot. If, as Fox reported Friday, the new Al-Hurrah television network -- the centerpiece of America's public diplomacy efforts -- really is a big success, then maybe our long-term prospects for combating terrorism the Bush way are looking good. Back in the real world, though, it's failing and the...

Our Man in Baghdad

Last week we learned that John Negroponte would become America's new ambassador to Iraq and will be running U.S. policy in the quasi-sovereign state that will exist from July 1 until elections can be held and a permanent constitution ratified. He speaks no Arabic and he has no experience in the Middle East or the Islamic world. He does have experience, however, dating back to his service as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to1985, when he was responsible for implementing Ronald Reagan's illegal intervention in the Nicaraguan civil war. This experience also extends to turning a blind eye to serious human-rights abuses by the U.S.-funded Honduran military and lying to Congress about it. As a democracy-promotion strategy, the choice of Negroponte is a bit, shall we say, odd. The press, meanwhile, doesn't seem to have time for the story. Particularly egregious has been The New York Times , which didn't see fit to cover the Negroponte nomination at all in its print edition. Judging by the...

The Full Negroponte

Iraq will once again become a sovereign nation on June 30, 2004, as power is handed over to a yet to be determined group of individuals that will act in the name of the Iraqi people. Still, it's going to be a mighty funny sort of sovereignty. The country will be patrolled by more than150,000 foreign military personnel, overwhelmingly American, operating under the command of an American general. Not only will the "sovereign" Iraq lack control over the foreign troops in its midst, whatever Iraqi security forces can be trained during the transitional period will also be controlled by the American commander. Overseeing all of this will be an American "ambassador" who, in light of the military situation, will have a lot more leverage over the host government than your typical diplomat. Commensurate with this unorthodox setup, the embassy will be by far America's largest, with more than 3,000 civilian employees stationed there. The administration announced Sunday that the president would,...

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