Reyes Joins Bush in Failing Foreign Affairs 101
On Monday, Democrats began to pay the price for the ongoing feud between Californians Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman. In one of the first tests of her leadership, Speaker Pelosi bypassed Harman in favor of Texan Silvestre Reyes to head the House Intelligence Committee. Sadly Reyes, like candidate George W. Bush before him, failed his first test on foreign affairs.
In an interview in CQ on Friday, Reyes displayed staggering ignorance of the environment in the Middle East and across the Muslim world. Days after calling for more U.S. troops in Iraq to battle terrorists, Reyes mistakenly described Al Qaeda as "predominantly - probably Shiite." Reyes proceed to demonstrate a complete cognitive failure on the subject of Hezbollah, merely the Iranian-backed group now threatening the Siniora government in Beirut and the force behind the recent Israeli assault on Lebanon.
On one level, Reyes' can be forgiven for his ignorance. After all, he's just following in the proud tradition of George W. Bush. In 1999, Bush famously failed to name three foreign leaders when quizzed during an interview. (Ironically, Pakistan was among his errors.) Perhaps more infamous was Bush's gracious acceptance of the endorsement of a Canadian prime minister during his first race for the White House. Unfortunately for Bush, this prime minister, like so much of what passes for truth in the Bush administration, was simply made up.
So let's turn back the clock to March 2000, when George W. Bush received the ringing endorsement of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Poutine:
"Prime Minister Jean Poutine said he wouldn't endorse any candidate in this election, now he says he believes George W. Bush is the man to lead the free world into the 21st century."
Bush warmly accepted the endorsement:
"He understands I want to make sure our relationship with our most important neighbour to the north of us is strong and we'll work closely together."
There were a few problems, of course. The prime minister of Canada was Jean Chretien, not Jean Poutine. "Poutine" is a popular regional food of Quebec, a dish of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Bush, simply too ignorant regarding our neighbor to the north, fell hook, line and sinker for a prank by This Hour Has 22 Minutes star Rick Mercer.
Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, Silvestre Reyes is head of the committee in charge of oversight for the nation's myriad intelligence agencies during a time of war. And sadly for the American people, George W. Bush is President of the United States.