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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Knowing Your Enemy--Who Does? Who Doesn't ?

It is an interesting point, exactly how well do the top Democrats understand the
nature of our enemy? I explain and have a long video showing exactly what these people are taught and how they are taught to hate us and the Israeli's... the post is called Spoonfed Hatred, Morning, Noon and Night. They are shown cartoons when they are young of children becoming suicide bombers, the video also shows a three years old being taught by repetition that the Israeli's are pigs and dogs, it is disturbing, but necessary to see to be able to fully understand the enemy we fight and why there is a need to fight them. has an excellent piece showing that Silvestre Reyes, the new incoming chairman of the House Intelliegence committee, although willing to learn, does not know the enemy yet.

Now the five-term Texas Democrat, 62, is facing similar unpleasant surprises about the enemy, this time as the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

That’s because, like a number of his colleagues and top counterterrorism officials that I’ve interviewed over the past several months, Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.

It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield?

To his credit, Reyes, a kindly, thoughtful man who also sits on the Armed Service Committee, does see the undertows drawing the region into chaos.


Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

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.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

That is a very good question... is it too much to expect and isn't it their responsibility to learn these things? FAST?

Then when Reyes was asked about Hizbullah, this was the answer.

I apologized for putting him “on the spot a little.” But I reminded him that the people who have killed thousands of Americans on U.S. soil and in the Middle East have been front page news for a long time now.

It’s been 23 years since a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed over 200 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, mostly Marines.

Hezbollah, a creature of Iran, is close to taking over in Lebanon. Reports say they are helping train Iraqi Shiites to kill Sunnis in the spiralling civil war.

“Yeah,” Reyes said, rightly observing, “but . . . it’s not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s a heck of a lot more complex.

“And I agree with you — we ought to expend some effort into understanding them. But speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes is not alone.

Read the rest, it is not a piece criticizing Reyes, it is a fair piece that makes it clear that all sides of the aisle did not understand the nature of the newest enemy we fight, from the administration down.

Personally I have nothing against Reyes, in fact, I am sure there will be many things I dislike about his stances in certain areas, but I believe there will be just as many instances where I agree with him. He seems to be trying to learn the realities of who we are fighting, rather than walking in lockstep with certain Democrats that do not care to learn. That is always a good thing.

Reyes also seems to understand that leaving Iraq too soon would create a regional chaos that will come back to bite us in the ass and end up bringing our soldiers right back into the region in short order... he makes that clear in his Newsweek interview:

Dec. 5. 2006 - In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a stepped up effort to “dismantle the militias.”

The soft-spoken Texas Democrat was an early opponent of the Iraq war and voted against the October 2002 resolution authorizing President Bush to invade that country. That dovish record got prominently cited last week when Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi chose Reyes as the new head of the intelligence panel.

But in an interview with NEWSWEEK on Tuesday, Reyes pointedly distanced himself from many of his Democratic colleagues who have called for fixed timetables for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Coming on the eve of tomorrow’s recommendations from the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission, Reyes’s comments were immediately cited by some Iraq war analysts as fresh evidence that the intense debate over U.S. policy may be more fluid than many have expected.

“We’re not going to have stability in Iraq until we eliminate those militias, those private armies,” Reyes said. “We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq … We certainly can’t leave Iraq and run the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan” was before the 2001 invasion by the United States.

Later into the interview Silvestre Reyes makes a very good point:

But when asked what he told Pelosi about his thinking on Iraq, Reyes replied: “What I said was, we can’t afford to leave there. And anybody who says, we are going pull out our troops immediately, is being dishonest … We’re all interested in getting out of Iraq. That’s a common goal. How we do it, I think, is the tough part. There are those that say, they don’t care what Iraq looks like once we leave there. Let’s just leave there. And I argue against that. I don’t think that’s responsible. And I think it plays right into the hands of Syria and Iran.”

Which brings us right back to the ISG recommendations... the one about Iran and Syria and their ridiculous proposal that we somehow engage with the very people that are arming the militias in Iraq right now.

U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.

This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.

Quite naive to think we can deal with the very people that are encouraging the violence in Iraq...then in an interview, I actually saw Baker say, they did not expect the Iranians to accept responsibility in helping in Iraq, but by our "trying" to engage them we would show the world that Iran is a rejectionsist... what kind of silly game is that to be playing in the middle of a war? To make a recommendation, then to admit that you never expected it to work in the first place?

At least the Pentagon's report when they are finished will not be suggesting political "games" but actual military options with opinions from the military that is IN Iarq and fighting, instead of a group with no military experience that spent a total of one day in Iraq and never left the green zone.

Others discussing this:
Captain's Quarters.
TPM Muckraker.

Keep up with who is discussing these issues at memeorandum.