But now Jeff Stein reports that a large number of senior American policy makers and national security officials still don't know the difference.
Here's Terry Everett, vice-chair of the House subcommittee on technical and intelligence issues, and apparently a nice guy, with an epiphany he ought to have had a while ago:
“One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.”
To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. “Now that you’ve explained it to me,” he replied, “what occurs to me is that it makes what we’re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.”