A couple of days ago, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino was talking about his concerns about American involvement in Libya when he said this:
“Where does it stop?” he said. “Do we go into Africa next? I don’t want to sound callous or cold but this could go on indefinitely around the world.”
We published that quote in The Times-Tribune on Wednesday.
For the last day and a half, the Republican congressman has been taking a pretty good skewering from bloggers, especially from the left, because Libya actually is in Africa. Think Progress, Little Green Footballs, Talking Points Memo and New York Magazine all chimed in on the obvious error. Steve Corbett laughed loudly on his WILK Radio talk show Wednesday.
In all honesty, when Mr. Marino said it, it did not occur to me that Libya is in Africa.
We haven’t heard a further explanation from his press secretary, but my guess is Mr. Marino did what many people do: he lumped Libya and Egypt, which is also in Africa, in with the Middle East.
Mr. Marino’s problem is he isn’t most people. He’s a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. Being careful about geography is important for a congressman who oversees U.S. policy in that part of the world.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party has offered to help. Spokesman Mark Nicastre sent this e-mail to Mr. Marino’s press secretary.
“Hi – This is Mark Nicastre with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. I saw this article earlier today, and I wanted to help Rep. Marino clear up some of his foreign affairs/geography confusion. Please feel free to pass along the attached map to your boss. Let me know if you have any questions or if your boss would like maps of any other continents,” he wrote.
Mr. Nicastre also attached this map:

Renita Fennick, a spokeswoman for Mr. Marino, does not dispute the quote, but said Mr. Marino was talking about sending troops into in Libya.