Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bill Maher and Ward Churchill

Last week Ward Churchill was on Bill Maher's show Real Time. Jeff Jarvis did a podcast fisking of it that is a good play-by-play commentary. There are a few other point I would like to add.

First, Maher has had his own problems with 9-11. His ABC show Politically Incorrect was cancelled after he said that the terrorists were more courageous than American pilots. Maher claims to be Libertarian but an article on him years ago showed that he only agrees with the Libertarians on a few points.

So when Maher invited Churchill on he obviously considered him a kindred Spirit.

Maher was well-prepped. He had read Churchill's essay and planned on a quick reiteration of it. Churchill disappointed him. He had to be prompted and most of his points were lost. At one point they digressed and Churchill admitted that the fight against Hitler was a good one although he didn't agree with the way it was fought. Churchill's contention that we bombed Japan during the same war to put them in their place never came up.

Churchill claims that America has a 400 year history of violence lead to 9-11. I reviewed a speech that he made in February. There are several holes in his arguments. Possibly the biggest is the scope of the incidents. Are Islamic terrorists really motivated by actions taken by Dutch settlers during an Indian war in the 17th century? Do they even care about the firebombing of Tokyo?

Given 400 years, all countries have done something to someone. Especially when you pluck actions done during wars and present them out of context.

The only recent action that Churchill cited was the sanctions on Iraq. He brought this up on Maher's show. Most estimates say that the sanctions killed up to 300,000, mainly children. Maher inflated this to 500,000 and Churchill doubled it.

There is a perverse irony here. Churchill is saying that the lack of international trade killed 1,000,000 Iraqis and that that justified killing 3,000 people involved in world trade. I'm afraid that he looses me here. World trade is a horrible thing but without it people die? I wonder if he has actually thought this through?

They got to this point and then Maher did something unforgivable. He brought out the brother of a 9-11 victim to confront Churchill. He suggested that Churchill owed the brother an apology.

"apology?" Churchill asked.

Maher said that he thinks that the site of the World Trade Center should include a display on "Why they hate us." This is where Maher shows how closely he sympathizes with Churchill. Both are blaming the victims, or at least blaming the rest of us.

Would he suggest such a display at Pearl Harbor? How about at the concentration camps? I consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified but I would never suggest a big sign reading "Remember Pearl Harbor" be placed at either site.

Both men qualify as insensitive boobs who hate America and love the sound of their own voices.

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