Waiting for the End of the World

14 Dec 2006 /

While you’re waiting for the end of the world, have a look at this frightening interview, in which Jeff Stein, Congressional Quarterly‘s national security editor, talks to Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, about the major players in Islamic terrorism:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately [sic]?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up al Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

I say no. I was telling my dad about this interview last night . . . when I got to the “Al Qaeda — Sunni or Shia?” question, he said, “They’re Sunni,” very matter-of-factly, like I’d asked him if Derek Jeter plays for the Yankees or the Red Sox.

Keep in mind that Rep. Reyes gets paid $165,200 a year to know more about this stuff than the average 70-year-old retiree.

And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah…”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

Funny stuff! I’ll bet he misses this one too . . .

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Poquito,” I said–a little.

“Poquito?!” He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh….”

Was that Spanish? OMG, I feel a lot safer now!

I really hate people who don’t put in the effort. Maybe instead of shutting it down at 5 p.m., he could go till 7, 8, or 9 p.m. and try to learn something about the people who’d like to end Western civilization as we know it. Oh sure, it would mean missing the free taquitos at happy hour, but wouldn’t it be worth it in the long run?

I apologized for putting him “on the spot a little.” But I reminded him that the people who have killed thousands of Americans on U.S. soil and in the Middle East have been front page news for a long time now.

It’s been 23 years since a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed over 200 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, mostly Marines.

Hezbollah, a creature of Iran, is close to taking over in Lebanon. Reports say they are helping train Iraqi Shiites to kill Sunnis in the spiralling civil war.

“Yeah,” Reyes said, rightly observing, “but . . . it’s not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s a heck of a lot more complex.

“And I agree with you — we ought to expend some effort into understanding them. But speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

I totally know what you mean! I have a hard time keeping up with all the latest developments in my business too! But I try. I make a daily effort.

My dad couldn’t believe it: “No, he didn’t really say that.” But he did!

This must be why people endure the personal indignities necessary to succeed in politics.

You can make a very nice income without doing any actual work.

You can kick the president’s ass for years on his handling of major issues without offering any ideas of your own, and without even knowing the basic facts.

You can endanger the entire nation by being entrusted with a key national security position despite the fact that you’re as dumb as a rock, and then laugh in the face of a man who exposes you as a fraud and a dangerous imbecile.

Willful incompetence never had it so good!

I don’t usually offer investment advice, but in this case I’m going to make an exception. Long: blankets, canned goods and shotgun shells.


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