And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah…”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Pocito,” I said—a little.

“Pocito?! “ He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh….”

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.” ~Jeff Stein

Everyone knows 5:00 is quitting time!  Lousy journalist!  He must hate the American way of life, asking questions like that. Oh, sorry, that’s the Republican spiel.  The Democratic spiel apparently is to confess ignorance in a different language: Yo no se!  Behold, Silvestre Reyes, bilingual and incompetent! 

Yes, it’s so hard to keep track of the two sides in what is basically a binary schism in a religion of one billion people, especially when the most fanatical of the majority sect of that religion have made it one of their special goals in life to kill you and yours.  As Trent Lott might say of the two sects, “How can they tell the difference?  They all look the same to me.”  (I see that Stein also recounts this same Lott episode as a way of showing the widespread ignorance of people in the government.)