Julian Sanchez header image 2

photos by Lara Shipley

We’re in Deep Shiite

October 17th, 2006 · No Comments

For once, I agree with Jonah Goldberg: The revelation that large numbers of government officials tasked with making decisions about this sort of thing appear to be totally innocent of the fundamental theological divide in Islam and how various contemporary groups fall along that divide. Granted, I probably couldn’t go into phenomenal detail either, but I can summon up the broad-brushstrokes picture, and I’d expect, say, the members of a debate club at any half-decent high school to be able to do the same. Hell, some of the stuff the people putatively running the War on Terror don’t know—Al Qaeda’s Sunni; Hezbollah’s Shiite—should be common knowledge to anyone who’s picked up a newspaper or turned on a television set in the last four years. I expect we won’t be bringing back literacy tests for voters anytime soon, but would it be too much to ask to implement one for elected officials? I’m actually half-serious here: Why not draw up some kind of very basic set of knowledge that anyone sitting on (say) an intelligence subcommittee would need to have to do their job effectively and use that, rather than mere seniority, to dole out the seats? (Because the people with seniority are perfectly happy with the status quo, of course, but still…)

Tags: War