The Iranian government is run by Shiites, and hates Sunnis. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni group, spends most of its time trying to kill as many Shiites as possible. Obviously, these groups are interchangeable, right?
AMMAN, Jordan — Sen. John McCain [...] said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. [...] Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”
In recent days, McCain has repeatedly said his intimate knowledge of foreign policy make him the best equipped to answer a phone ringing in the White House late at night.
Thank goodness McCain had a former Democrat standing by him to correct his embarrassing gaffe.
Okay, that’s unfair, because some Democrats — including Texas rep Silvestre Reyes — who is only the fucking chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, so it’s not like his job requires him to know anything about Iran, Iraq, or al Qaeda — are likewise ignorant of the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. (Although neither Clinton nor Obama would have made McCain’s asinine error). Republicans like Terry Everett and [the late] Jo Ann Davis don’t know the difference, either, even though they lead intelligence committees. Neither do the FBI’s leading counterterrorism officers.
Our foreign policy is run by soundbite-vomiting nincompoops who adeptly advance careers — often, like McCain, selling themselves as foreign policy experts — but don’t give a shit about doing their jobs well. And our media lets them get away with it, by and large, because without the mother bird politicians vomiting soundbites, what would baby bird reporters ravenously eat?
Politicians aren’t ordinary citizens. These aren’t shoe salesmen with blogs. These are people are entrusted to take the time to make informed decisions, because ordinary citizens are too busy working for a living. It’s appalling — worse, disgusting, and in a better world impeachable — that after so many years of war and so many hundreds of thousands of lives lost, leading politicians haven’t taken their responsibilities seriously enough to learn the fucking A B Cs.
P.S. “Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.” — Senator Trent Lott.
UPDATE: McCain’s people are now claiming that this was just a slip of the tongue, which McCain corrected immediately. But he only corrected it because he had Lieberman there whispering in his ear — and he made the same slip of the tongue the previous night on a right-wing radio show.