WE ARE GOVERNED BY IDIOTS….Jeff Stein has an op-ed in the New York Times today in which he recounts his adventures asking various mucky mucks if they know the difference between Shiite and Sunni. It was amusing, but I was going to skip blogging about it because it’s the kind of gotcha game that probably tells us less than we think. But then Attaturk pointed to a passage I had skimmed over. This is Rep. Terry Everett (R?Ala) after admitting he didn’t know the difference:

To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. ?Now that you?ve explained it to me,? he replied, ?what occurs to me is that it makes what we?re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.?

If you don’t know the whole Ali/Hasan story from the 7th century, that’s one thing. But if you literally don’t know that there are different sects of Islam that form majorities in different regions, and that conflict between these sects is as defining as the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland ? and you’re the vice chairman of the House Intelligence committee ? then we’re doomed. As Attaturk says, we are governed by idiots.