John McCain doesn’t know the difference betweein Shi’a (e.g., Iran) and Sunni (e.g., al-Qaeda). Or between his ass and a hole in the ground.

John McCain doesn’t know that Iran is a Shi’a country and that al-Qaeda is a Sunni terrorist group. That leads him to fantasize that Iran is supporting al-Qaeda.

That’s OK, though. He’s passed the Commander-in-Chief threshold.

Or stumbled across it. Or something.

Update And the McCain campaign is lying about it.

In a press conference today, John McCain misspoke and immediately corrected himself by stating that Iran is in fact supporting radical Islamic extremists in Iraq, not Al Qaeda — as the transcript shows. Democrats have launched political attacks today because they know the American people have deep concerns about their candidates’ judgment and readiness to lead as commander in chief.

Well, actually, no. He “corrected it,” not “immediately,” but after Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear. And he made the same mistake on the Hugh Hewitt show.

Hilzoy has more:

It’s important to be clear about exactly how clueless this is. It’s like saying that some neo-confederate group is secretly funneling money to Louis Farrakhan, and then having an aide have to whisper: no, no, it’s the Aryan Nation; wrong extremists! It’s like suggesting that McCain is making a play for Kucinich voters, and having to be told that, no, you really meant Ron Paul: wrong losing candidate! No one who had any understanding at all of Iraq, or for that matter about the Shi’a/Sunni split and which side Iran was on, would get confused about this, any more than someone with any knowledge of US politics would get confused about whether neo-confederates were likely to be supporting blacks, or conservatives were likely to be supporting the Socialist Workers’ Party. It is exactly that clueless.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com