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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

McCan't tell the difference

One of the bugbears of this blog is American politicians' inability to distinguish between Sunni and Shia. In the past I have criticized Democrat Silvestre Reyes of the House Intelligence Committee and Republican George W. Bush of the White House Unintelligence Committee for either not knowing the difference or conflating the two. I have also written a two-part series (here and here) on the peculiar nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Shia theocracy.

Yesterday, Daily Kos reported that Senator John McCain can't tell the difference either. While in Jordan with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (CfL-CT) at his side, McCain said this:
'We continue to be concerned about Iranian taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back [into Iraq].'

You can watch it yourself at 2:10 of this video, after the advertisement. As anyone who knows the first thing about Islam understands, Sunni al-Qaeda and Shia Iran are utterly incompatible, not least because al-Qaeda sees all Shias as apostates who deserve to be killed.

I expect a conservative Republican to stand for policies that I disagree with, but this revelation of McCain's global ignorance is depressing. This from a man running on a platform of national security and war-mongering. There is really nothing more to say about it other than this: the Republicans are running a foreign-policy idiot in a time of war.

Will American journalists warn the voters of the threat to international security that such ignorance in a potential president poses, or is that a silly question?



Anonymous 42 said...

When I originally saw McCain fumbling & Lieberman whispering in his ear, on CNN's camera, to remind him of his error, I thought of your Feb. 11th blog entry & smiled.

Now it just makes me sad. It looked like the last years of Reagan's term.

12:27 AM, March 21, 2008

Blogger Jeff Hussein Strabone said...

There is a difference between late McCain and Reagan's Alzheimer's-inflected final years in office. McCain suffers not from senility but from stupidity, at least when it comes to Muslim matters. He never understood much about Islam in the past, and he apparently has learned nothing new. McCain made the Sunni-Shia error three times before Lieberman (CfL-CT) corrected him that day, and then the next day he did it again, thus recanting his future running mate's correction. Besides stupidity, he's also guilty of stubbornness.

1:04 AM, March 22, 2008


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