And then some, writes MoDo (entire column here):
WASHINGTON: The only sects that may be more savage than Shiites and Sunnis are the Democratic feminist lawmakers representing Northern and Southern California.I expect righteous stupidity from the Bushies. But we're seeing too damned much of it from those like Pelosi and Harman from whom I expect a great deal more.
After Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman had their final catfight about who would lead the House Intelligence Committee, aptly enough at the Four Seasons’ hair salon in Georgetown, the new speaker passed over the knowledgeable and camera-eager Ms. Harman and mystifyingly gave the consequential job to Silvestre Reyes of Texas.
Mr. Reyes promptly tripped over the most critical theme in the field of intelligence. Jeff Stein, interviewing the incoming chairman for Congressional Quarterly, asked him whether Al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite.
“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” the lawmaker guessed.
As Mr. Stein corrected him in the article: “Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an Al Qaeda clubhouse, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.”
Mr. Stein followed up with a Hezbollah question: “What are they?” Again, Mr. Reyes was stumped.
“Hezbollah,” he stammered. “Uh, Hezbollah. Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish?” (O.K. ¿Que es Hezbollah?)
Sounding as naked of essentials as Britney Spears, the new intelligence oversight chief pleaded that it was hard to keep all the categories straight. Thank heavens Mr. Stein never got to Syrian Alawites.
Many Americans, including those in charge of Middle East policy, are befuddled and fed up with the intransigent tribal and religious fevers of the region. As Bill O’Reilly sagely remarked, “I don’t want to ever hear Shia and Sunni again.” But it is beyond the job description of top officials to wish the problems away, especially when the entire region is decomposing before our bleary eyes.
If Mr. Reyes had been reading the newspaper, he might have noticed Mr. Stein’s piece on The Times’s Op-Ed page two months earlier, in which, like a wonkish Ali G, he caught many intelligence and law enforcement officials, as well as members of Congress, who did not know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite.
“Too many officials in charge of the war on terrorism just don’t care to learn much, if anything, about the enemy we’re fighting,” he concluded. “And that’s enough to keep anybody up at night.”