On plantations, slaves knew an enormous amount about their owners and overseers. They had to, because their lives depended on it. Meanwhile, their owners knew close to nothing about them, because, who cares what slaves think?
CIA intelligence analyst Kenneth Pollack:
For the last sixteen years, Iran has always been one of the countries I have worked on... I have never been to Iran... I also do not speak any Farsi (Persian).
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!”
Democrats’ new intelligence chairman Silvestre Reyes:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
"Al Qaeda, they have both," Reyes said. "You’re talking about predominately?"
"Sure," I said, not knowing what else to say.
"Predominantly — probably Shiite," he ventured.
The Iraq Study Group Report:
Our embassy of 1,000 (in Baghdad) has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency.