Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gomer Pyle meets Maxwell Smart

In Washington Nobody Gives a Shi'te: Little Green Footballs approves of a New York Times article describing the travails of a reporter who found as he interviewed appointed and elected officials in Washington that very few were aware of the difference between a Sunni and a Shi’ite. “Most American officials I’ve interviewed don’t have a clue. That includes not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies. How can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?”

Maybe things aren't as bad as the NYT reporter suggests, but his charge of ignorance is probably true to some extent. My only quibble is that he spends most of his time decorating his gallery of doofuses with Republicans. Having just read Lawrence Wright's The Looming Towers and Michael Scheuer's Imperial Hubris, it is abundantly clear from those two books that the Democrats didn't know the difference between a horse and horseradish either. Democratic Congressman John Murtha recently proposed to defend Iraq from bases in Okinawa.

Sheesh. We're doomed! We're doomed.


Blogger Jeff Medcalf said...

Fortunately, we're only doomed to the extent that we depend on our elected and appointed officials.

Unfortunately, that extent has been increasing since the 1890s, to the point where many people now don't seem able to tie their shoes without a government permit.

But it will get better, because our dependence is not structural, but preferential, and we are nothing if not adaptable and individualistic.

10/17/2006 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Hawaii District Two Democratic Congressional candidate Mazie Hirono calls for establishment of a U.S. “Department of Peace to educate us into peaceful ways of resolving our conflict”—but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Her comments, which came during an August appearance in a Honolulu KHNL-TV “speed-campaigning” event, are echoed by her supporters, in her campaign literature, and throughout her political history.

Backers of Dennis Kucinich’s Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are among her biggest and earliest supporters. Hirono has promised to join Rep. Neil Abercrombie as a member of the far-left CPC if elected leaving Hawaii with a one-dimensional congressional delegation.

The current co-chairs of the CPC are Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), the only member of Congress to vote against the use of force in Afghanistan after the 9-11 attacks. The CPC co-chairs supported Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) June, 2006 plan to retreat from Iraq to Okinawa.


10/17/2006 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Democratic Congressman John Murtha recently proposed to defend Iraq from bases in Okinawa. Sheesh. We're doomed! We're doomed.

Better yet, let's defend America from bases in America. Ninety years of sending our boys "Over There" ought to be enough.

10/17/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Lanny Ddub said...

I say let's stick our heads in the ground and negotiate jimmy carter style.

It's easy just point your arse towards Mecca. If that's not enough offer up $ and nuclear reactors.

My Lord, its enough to make you want to bribe the homeless with cigarettes and liquor to vote R. Maybe I'll canvass the Alzheimer wards for a voter registration effor. I'll have to get up early though to beat the D's.

10/17/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This is hardly new. It has been true for decades that if you asked politicians, commentators and bureaucrats simple questions about, to take just one example, the size of the defense budget or of the armed forces, and actually required them to answer, you often got shockingly ill-informed answers.

10/17/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

as WW II fades in memory, along with the leaders of that era, the narcissism in Washington has become overwhelming; it's become increasingly apparent that the herd of politicians most interested in their own exploits at the present time outnumber the level-headed leaders we need at this time...

...I hope this, along with the picture of division painted by the media, doesn't lead to the ultimate miscalculation on our foes part, in mistaking the power of the President to take matters into his own hands; for instance, pulling a Madrid and thinking the repercussions will be the same as in Spain...

10/18/2006 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

As meme chose said, this is hardly new. in fact, it is endemic with all democratic governments. People are much, much more likely to vote for someone who knows the name of the current NASCAR points leader than the name of the current leader of Pakistan. That's because we vote for people to literally "represent us". That's US, not THEM. The downside is perhaps a little more ignorance of what could turn into key facts (all still 'learnable"), but the upside is that the politician will be slightly more likely to vote the way we would want them to if it were us making the decision. This is precisely why foreign adversaries almost always "misunderestimate" us. We ARE an ignorant nation a lot of the time, because WE DON'T CARE ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS, ONLY OUR OWN. We would appreciate just being left the @#$% alone. Our open, brawling, disorganized, freewheeling society is almost exclusively inwardly-focused, so we never project a deadly serious, organized, consistent, hard-assed foreign policy (like, say, the old USSR).

Until someone messes with us.

Then, almost overnight, we turn into their worst nightmare and stun the world with the speed, ferocity and no-holds-barred nature of our response. Because THEY GOT OUR ATTENTION, AND WE DIDN'T LIKE WHAT WE SAW.

We are certainly doomed in the sense that our way will always be messy, maddening, inefficient, wasteful, and expensive - in hindsight.

10/18/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Whitehall said...

Reminds me of the controversy over nuclear power plants back in the 70's and '80s. I was amazed at how many of the people taking leadership positions in the anti-nuke camp (or at least were not shy about spouting off about nuclear issues) couldn't explain the difference between an alpha particle and a gamma ray.

10/18/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Plenty of blame to spread around when it comes to recognizing what the Iraqi Shiites are all about. Some pro-war commentators actually thought it was a "victory" when Shiite Islamists seized control of the nation through elections in January of last year. Ten minutes on the internet could tell you their history and goals, and yet commentators sold the public this notion that everything was on track with the Khomeneist clerics in charge. Talk about Shiiteheads.

10/18/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Well, they don't have the time to study Islam like I have for the last five years. You know... they are too busy screwing up this country.

As far as anyone in our government knowing what the National Defense budget is, forget it.

It changes almost monthly and is so screwed up that not even the reporters that are assigned to cover it can keep up with it.

Except that they all say that all the military services budgets are being cut.

Can you imagine that...? In a time where we are at war? Yep, unbelievable, but true.

As far as what and who and what we should do...

A good primer to start with, to see what our problems could soon look like, should be this article written last year to us.

By a South African journalist, by the way..no lefty is she, with good reason.

Read it.

We can't say we have not been warned!

Papa Ray
West Texas

10/19/2006 12:04:00 PM  

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