Monday, December 11, 2006
Silvestre Reyes, chairman-designate of the House Intelligence Committee.
'O' IS FOR.... Here's a dictionary definition from Word Web Online:
Noun: oversight 'owvur`sIt
Yeah, I'm talking about the little "quiz" Reyes failed that most every right-wing blogger will be chortling about over the next day or two. Just an excerpt from an article by the National Security Editor of CQ.com, Jeff Stein, for those of you who need a reminder:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominantly?”
“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.
I don't know where to start on this. There are so many implications. In fairness to Reyes, though, I'll cite another quote from the same article that some of us righties will probably omit (by inadvertence, I'm sure):
To his credit, Reyes, a kindly, thoughtful man who also sits on the Armed Service Committee, does see the undertows drawing the region into chaos.
For example, he knows that the 1,400- year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., and Terry Everett, R-Ala., both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI.
In fairness to myself, I'll note that I've conceded the stupidity of Republican politicians in the past, more than once, in fact. But we're entering a new phase in our national policy-making process, one in which the Congress is going to try to steer national foreign policy by committee. The Republican dunces, bad as they were, played a different role in the government. They used their political skills to try to give their party leader, the President, as much of what he wanted as was consistent with their overriding desire to get reelected. Under the new regime, the Democrats are planning to harass, undermine, and obstruct the President in the mistaken belief that their recent electoral victory represents an endorsement of their political positions rather than a repudiation of Republican corruption and sloth.
In this context, it's much more relevant to ask what they really want, what they anticipate as the results of their policies, and what base of knowledge drives the first two. Reyes's quiz performance tells us something important about these general questions and something specific about two individual politicians: himself and Nancy Pelosi.
As to Reyes, Jeff Stein's assertion that he is "a kindly, thoughtful man" is ridiculous. To aspire to a life-and-death responsibility one is totally unqualified for is the opposite of kindly; it is selfish and utterly uncaring of others. It is also the opposite of thoughtful, because it's far from considerate to perform surgery without medical training. To be a member of Congress voting at frequent intervals on matters that relate to the national security of your country without bothering to learn essential facts about the competing factions of the enemy who is sworn to annihilate the people you represent is criminally ignorant. Reyes may be "nice," but he doesn't know enough to be a back bench congressman, let alone chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence. He should be sent home forthwith.
Then there's Nancy Pelosi. Elected to her seat by a few hundred thousand voters, she is now the second most powerful figure in the United States government. How does she choose to use her new power? By plunging herself -- and, not so incidentally, the country she intends to "govern" -- into one vengeful bitch fight after another, consequences be damned. First, she nominates a demonstrably corrupt and addled old ward heeler to be her number two in order to score off an old male rival. Then, she nominates two completely laughable candidates -- Hastings the Crook and Reyes the Dolt -- for chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Why? Because she just can't stand to be in the same room with that c*** Jane Harman, a fellow female legislator from her own home state.
In case you're not getting it, we're talking All-Time Dumb here. Classic Democrat affirmative-action diversity. Hastings was black, so she figured San Francisco voters (the only ones she's accountable to, don't forget...) wouldn't mind that he's as ethical as Marion Berry and Al Sharpton combined. And Reyes is hispanic, so she never even thought to ask if he actually knew anything about the Islamic fascists who are killing Americans every day of the week. Government by face color as a substitute for competence. In fact, she doesn't give a rat's ass about corruption, competence, or even the lives of her dimwit constituents. She cares about destroying her political enemies and sucking up to the brain-dead hedonists of her decadent city.
Lest we forget, that's why the framers of the Constitution created an executive branch and gave it so much power to conduct foreign policy, despite their deep fear and long bad experience with kings. When it comes to life-and-death national issues, decision makers have to be accountable to more than 0.001 percent of the voters. And decisions made by committees of politicians are both accountable to no one and doomed to prefer showy rhetoric to rational rigor.
Is all this funny? Yes. In a way. As long as you're a fan of Desperate Housewives. It's also not funny, because U.S. security over the next two years, at least, is being driven by a compulsion to surrender to an implacable enemy simply because surrender is the opposite of the hated opposition's policy. Many Americans are going to die from sea to shining sea because Nancy Pelosi's stunted self-esteem requires inside-the-beltway victims aplenty. Pathetic.
The rest of us should be asking of the new Democrat leviathan, What do you really want? What do you think is going to happen if you get your way and drive GWB from office in disgrace? Does it matter that hundreds of thousands will die in Iraq? Since when did you really care about the lives of American troops? Did you ever take any responsibility for the million and a half dead in Cambodia after you had your tantrum in the Sixties? Have you ever really learned anything? Or is the whole agenda just a kind of Hollywood movie remake -- the evil Nixon (Bush) triumphantly replaced by the sublime Carter (? Where can we find anyone as bad as that ?) -- with no thought of any kind given to the real-life events that follow the closing credits? When you're from California, the future -- that is, the real-world future -- is frequently an oversight.
Reyes, if you really are a kindly man, resign. Pelosi... well, forget it. We'll skip to the next step, which is identifying the new Carter. God. Help. Us. All.