Although I’m mostly apolitical, there must be some basic level of awareness representatives might share. I don’t mind dumb politicians as often that means they can’t even do ridiculous things very successfully. And now that I think about it, this guy might even be a good thing–if we don’t know who might be an enemy, we either won’t confront them or we won’t know what hit us. There are good reasons we often hear ignorance is bliss, mainly because it’s so often the truth.
Incoming House intelligence chief botches easy intel quiz
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam — Sunni or Shiite — Reyes answered “they are probably both,” then ventured “Predominantly — probably Shiite.”
That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.
Reyes could also not answer questions put by Stein about Hezbollah, a Shiite group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations that is based in Southern Lebanon.
Stein’s column about Reyes’ answers was published on CQ’s Web site Friday evening.
In an interview with CNN, Stein said he was “amazed” by Reyes’ lack of what he considers basic information about two of the major terrorists organizations.
“If you’re the baseball commissioner and you don’t know the difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox, you don’t know baseball,” Stein said. “You’re not going to have the respect of the people you work with.”
While Stein said Reyes is “not a stupid guy,” his lack of knowledge said it could hamper Reyes’ ability to provide effective oversight of the intelligence community, Stein believes.
“If you don’t have the basics, how do you effectively question the administration?” he asked. “You don’t know who is on first.”
Stein said Reyes is not the only member of the House Intelligence Committee that he has interviewed that lacked what he considered basic knowledge about terrorist organizations.
“It kind of disgusts you, because these guys are supposed to be tending your knitting,” Stein said. “Most people are rightfully appalled.”
Pelosi picked Reyes over fellow Californian Rep. Jane Harman, who had been the Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, and Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, who had been impeached as a federal judge after being accused of taking a bribe.
2 thoughts on “Intelligence VS. Awareness”
Over the past four years the Democrats’ role has not been to better understand the threats that face America, but to bring down the Bush administration. In addition, a sizable percentage of Democrats do not believe a threat exists. So who cares if you the differences between Shia and Sunni? Talk to 90% of the people in Pelosi’s district and they will tell you the neo-cons are the enemy anyway. This is a great scenario we have…i mean, with Iran being about a year away from having a nuclear bomb and all.
Your comment is right on the money. There is a sizable percentage of people in the world who say there is no such thing as objective truth, that all is subjective. In their world, everything is not necessarily on purpose make believe, but that everyone is by default living in a world shaped by beliefs so that in the end, it really is nothing more than make believe.
They have no problem with the logical conflict within their premise “the truth is that there’s no truth”. They aren’t remotely embarrassed when they say this.
I wish I could say it’s mainly the left that thinks this way, but nowadays, the right has its own version of this going, and the results aren’t that encouraging.
As Mulder used to say, “the truth is out there”. It seems like it’s at least as far out there as it has ever been, and maybe getting farther.