If you are on Howard Dean's mass mailing list for the Democratic Party, then you got this message too. Still, I think it is worth repeating and thinking about. John McCain has repeated the same gaffe several times.
The Democrats wrote:
Today, as he was questioning Gen. David Petraeus, he again confused the difference between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
At least five times as a candidate John McCain has stated that Iran (a Shiite nation) is supporting Al-Qaeda (a Sunni group) in Iraq. This is not some minor mistake, but a significant gaffe. He clearly does not understand the sensitive political dynamics in that region of the world.
The website Media Matters has been tracking McCain's habit of misstatement, going back to the Middle Eastern Trip he took with Joe Lieberman in March.
Much of the mainstream media has been ignoring McCain's linking of Shiite Iran with Sunni Al Qaeda, treating it as a simple gaffe- but the fact is that McCain has made this mistake more than once.
In the face of McCain's repetitions, it is impossible for us not to remember the post 9/11 rhetoric of the Bush Administration, in which they cited Bin Ladin and Saddam in the same breath so many times that, for the American public, the two became linked, despite the overwhelming lack of evidence to support any conjecture that they acted together.
Is McCain displaying a severe case of absent mindedness? If so, we should think twice about his ability to act as commander in chief.
But if McCain is resorting to the same kind of rhetorical duplicity that got us into 9/11 in the first place, and set us back so far in the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, then there is no need to think twice...he is unfit and unworthy to serve.
And if McCain is truly unable to see a difference, then he is guilty of the same tendency that Americans have often displayed in their world view: to see only a monolithic conspiracy, where there are, in fact, cracks and divisions to be exploited.
It was this tendency to treat the Communist Block as a monolith that brought America to grief in Vietnam, and it was the genius of Nixon and Kissinger to recognize that the seeming monolith of Communism actually masked a network of fissures and fault-lines which could be used against the enemy.
It has been America's tragedy (and Iraq's as well, perhaps) that the Bush Administration has fallen into the trap (out of mendacity or stupidity or a nefarious combination of both) of the Monolithic Block.
America will need, as her next President, a person who knows EXACTLY what the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni is....and how to exploit it to bring stability back to the world.
John McCain doesn't seem up to the job.