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Silvestre Reyes Doesn't Know Difference Between Shiites and Sunnis - But Is He the One Running the War?

Reported by Janie - December 13, 2006 -

During Monday night's "Special Report", host Brit Hume used a portion of his "Two Minutes of Hate" (AKA "Grapevine" segment) to trash incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes for being unable to identify differences between Muslim sects. No mention, of course, of reports that the President who began the war was not only unable to identify the differences between the sects, but was unaware that various sects existed.

During the report Hume claimed, "And incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes had some problems answering questions about Middle East terrorism during an interview with Congressional Quarterly national security editor Jeff Stein. When Reyes — who has been on the committee since 2001 — was asked whether Al Qaeda was made up of Sunni Muslims — or Shiites — Reyes said 'predominantly Shiite' — which Stein points out is exactly wrong — Al Qaeda is militantly Sunni.

Reyes also couldn't answer the same question regarding Hezbollah, saying, 'it's not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It's a heck of a lot more complex. It's hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.' Hezbollah is a radical Shiite organization formed in 1982."

Comment: First, let me say it is absolutely preposterous that the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman is unable to identify the differences between the sects. In order to make to make headway in Iraq and bring our troops home as quickly as possible, we need leadership that understands what's going on in Iraq in the first place, and is able to make important decisions based on a fundamental understanding of the situation.

This is one of the problems with the former GOP leadership - they were entirely oblivious to the situation in Iraq, and why the problems began in the first place. In fact, this is what Hume left out of his supposed "fair and balanced" report.

According to Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. diplomat, the President that began the war was unaware there were multiplesects of Islam in the first place.

"A year after his 'Axis of Evil' speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, 'I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!'”

It doesn't matter what party affiliation is in charge - to be so entirely ignorant of the situation in which we've put our troops is absolutely unacceptable at any level. But for Hume to report that a Democrat is so ill informed, without mentioning the person that started the war in the first place was even more uninformed, in what is supposed to be a "fair and balanced" report is intellectually dishonest.