Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sunni or Shi'a?

Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA): “It’s a difference in their fundamental religious beliefs. The Sunni are
more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa. But I think it’s the Sunnis who’re more radical than the Shia.”

According to a recent New York Times article, some US counter-terrorism officials and Congress members charged with oversight over America's intelligence agencies don't have a clue about the Middle East or Islam. Asked whether Iran and Hizbullah were Sunni or Shi'a, Willie Hulon, chief of the F.B.I.'s new national security branch took a wild guess - the wrong guess. Read more about it here. See also our recent post on general idiocy in the American security sector.

1 comment:

Noah Kaye said...

I recently heard a disgruntled former US Foreign Service Officer speak. This guy was promoting his book, "Diplomacy Lessons: Realism for an Unloved Superpower." His name is John Brady Kiesling, and he achieved some notoriety briefly for resigning his post over the Iraq War and sending an angry letter to then Sec. of State Colin Powell that was published in the press. I should write a general post about Kiesling's schtick, but one of his most biting lines helps make sense of the disturbing ignorance uncovered by the NYT:

"We in the foreign service knew the Iraq War would fail because we've spent decades trying to understand foreigners so that we can get them to do what we want."

It's all very depressing.