Monday, December 11, 2006

Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda

After Nancy Pelosi was finally talked out of putting an impeached Federal judge in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, she went and placed Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes into the top slot. But, as Jeff Stein of Congressional Quarterly’s discovered, Reyes, doesn’t really know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite and five years after 9/11 believes that Al Qaeda is a Shiite organization.

Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up al Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?
The reason why I found this amusing is that an anonymous coward has been heckling me (what's new?) in the comments section and made a big deal as to whether I knew who the players in the Iraqi insurgency were. I wonder what this poor fool is going to do when he sees that while he's busy attacking a lowly lil' blogger, the topmost officials of his party couldn't pass the same test he's making a big deal about here? Heh.

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