Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Take Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence.

“Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” I asked him a few weeks ago.

Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: “One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.”

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.”


  1. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Fortunately at a lower level some people knew enough about it to finance, form, train and arm Shia death squads to fight the Sunnis.

  2. "know the enemy"...his religion is his essence; if you read the Koran, it's like Them: A User's Manual...

    so many intertwined motifs of orientalism here, can barely untangle...

    how many of these people know the difference between a methodist and a presbyterian? a lubovitcher and a satmer? catholic and greek orthodox? or a buddhist and a hindu for that matter?

  3. how many of these people know the difference between a methodist and a presbyterian? a lubovitcher and a satmer? catholic and greek orthodox? or a buddhist and a hindu for that matter?

    Not many, I'll wager, but they are not mentioned every day in the media in ever changing good guy/bad guy problem/solution roles.

  4. paul, yeah; but the jester here is doing the Feste work, not really dissent. These boobies don't know the difference between the brands of humanity they're trying to kill! Just a kind of court critique that makes one despair. And also putting this forward as the most meaningful thing, the way to sort out these objects of attack...Mebbe "al Qaida"'s relation to any kind of Islam is really similar to George Bush's relation to Methodism. Reading the koran is not going to help one understand Iranian state politics too well, or anyway it's more important to really understand the oil business, what the Iranian and US share, and this will illuminate various relations between masters and clients (iran and hezbollah, the US and "al qaida"), whereas diving into Christian/Muslim and then subdividing doesn't tell one too much. Most people are not theologians.

  5. I agree colonel, al q, wahhabi, sunni, sufi, shia are just the formerly colourful elements of a big brown plasticine ball that the west has shaped of 'islam' for us to play with.

    Beneath the habits of our xtian soldiers burns a greater love, that of both primitive and very sophisticated accumulation.

    I know the jester is just doing his job, but why now, and who has sanctioned such temerity? Is there are whiff of oligarchical correction in the air, has george outlived his usefulness?

  6. has gwb outlived his usefulness? I think maybe it's a combo of outliving usefulness and mission accomplished. everyone has the big things they wanted - bankruptcy reform, credit card stuff, tax breaks, averting the stock market crash, lots of booty. Now the rabble is restless, there will be a ceremony of restoration of the Moderate, Hillary or whomever, and this will feel to the public like a victory and a relief. Nothing will be recovered but it will look like 'reversal'. Carrying out the dismemberment of Iraq into three statelets would look best under the Dems, positioned as reasonable technocrats, as a 'remedy' for rather than realisation of the policy.


  7. really very much like Nazism and fascism I think. it's not designed to last and last forever but to resets things. I think seattle, chavism, aristide, bolivian coca growers, even lula, democratisation in Iran, (together with the rise of chinese power and the inability to disguise the not-so-pretty-after-all post USSR situation in eastern europe) all this was really taken more seriously than a lot of the american intellekshul cheerleaders took themselves.

  8. pretty much as I read it, the nixonian madman theory, domestically and internationally employed, has tipped the playing field towards an even more treacherous incline.
    The boy has done good, time for an understudy to read the script.