Of all the unfortunate products of our talent-depleted television world, Bill Maher is easily the most repugnant. His “Real Time with Bill Maher” is a much diminished platform for him, but still he manages to issue the occasional outrageous statement and generate for himself the sort of attention that his complete lack of genuine humor or sparkling intelligence could bring. He is, in a word, debased.
Maher’s appearance yesterday on the Situation Room is just one in a long string of examples of Maher’s manifestly limited reach combined with a willingness to see and raise MoveOn.org’s attack on General Petraeus, calling the highly decorated general a stooge and a liar:
BLITZER: Let’s talk about the war in Iraq, first of all, because the Democrats got the majority, in large part, I think it’s fair to say, because they promised they were going to end this war and bring the troops home. That’s clearly not happening right now and there’s a lot of frustration out there as a result of that.
What do you think?
MAHER: Well, they just don’t have the votes. That’s true. The — I guess we need another election to turn out more of the people who are basically keeping this war going.
It’s tough for the Democrats to explain that one to the American people, but that’s the truth.
BLITZER: Is there more that they could be doing, should be doing?
MAHER: Yes, I guess there is.
But, you know, what can you do with a situation where there’s one man who stubbornly has the power and will not relinquish it?
And he’s such a liar, you know?
I think that — if he would just be straight with the American people instead of saying things like the people who are attacking us in Iraq are the same people who attacked us on 9/11 — what a blatant lie. Or every day, every month since January, we’ve killed over 1, 500 terrorists and other extremists.
Who is a terrorist? [HH: Read Michael Totten’s most recent dispatch from Ramadi “Hell is Over”.]
Who are extremists? [HH: Read this article from yesterday.]
Who are the enemy? [Do you need a link? Is Maher really that stupid?]
What do these terms mean?
Would they even be the enemy if we weren’t in their country?
BLITZER: But you (INAUDIBLE)…
MAHER: Not to mention all the…
BLITZER: You listened closely to General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Both are career professionals — a career military officer, a career diplomat. They made the case, effectively for President Bush, that the U.S. should continue this strategy.
MAHER: Wait a second. He put the words in their mouth. That wasn’t the Petraeus report.
BLITZER: But they say those words were their own.
MAHER: Well, it was a White House written report. We know that. Bush has an interesting little scam going. He also quoted in his speech on Thursday night, Maliki. And he said basically that the Iraqi leadership is asking us to stay. So in other words, he puts words into his stooges’ mouths. And then, he quotes them.
It’s the same thing that …
BLITZER: Let me point out. General Petraeus who has been a military officer for more than 30 years, the first thing he basically said out of his mouth, last week, is I didn’t show this testimony to anyone. I wrote it myself. I didn’t have it vetted by the chain of command. Not by the White House. Not by anyone at the Pentagon. Not by anyone in Congress. Don’t you believe him when he says that?
MAHER: No. I’m sorry, I don’t. That report was — I called it the Enron surge report because they manipulated the statistics the same way Enron did. It didn’t count. Violence didn’t count if it was a car bomb. It didn’t count if it was Sunni on Sunni violence. It didn’t count if you were shot in the back of the head, instead of the front of the head. That’s utter nonsense.
They manipulated that report. Every independent report that came out about the surge contradicted what David Petraeus said. It said that the violence has not gone down. It just moved to different areas. It was never a case, Wolf, that we were wondering whether if we put 20,000 or 30,000 troops in a certain area, violence would go down. Of course, violence would go down in that area.
But violence in the country didn’t go down. And even Baghdad residents said, no. Violence is as bad as it ever was. Is from a reason why 93 percent of the Sunnis in that country think it’s OK to attack Americans? And want us dead? Fifty percent of Shiites want …
You can’t stop watching a show you don’t watch to begin with, but it would be wonderfully refreshing to see one or more invited guests to the HBO program simply reject the offer on the grounds that appearing with an anti-military, no-talent hater just doesn’t interest him or her.