What The Hell Is The Matter With Bill Maher?


This one-time satirical comedian, always happy to have a go at the US Establishment, prepared to stand up and fight for the ordinary Joe, appears to be slowly moving into the very circles he once lambasted.

Of course, despite his irreligious protestations, we all know he’s Jewish. Consequently, criticism of Israel is verboten in his company, and he’ll find any excuse to rail against the Palestinian cause. Despite this obvious character defect, in the past I’ve always been prepared to forgive his occasional rants on the subject, as on other matters we’re in agreement ninety percent of the time.

However, his last show (Friday, March 21st) left me scratching my head in sheer disbelief. His first guest was the documentary film-maker Errol Morris. Morris has recently completed, “The Unknown Known”, a documentary on George W Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

It’s hard to imagine that Maher would show anything other than utter contempt towards a man responsible for the deaths of four thousand US military personnel and an uncountable number of Iraqi civilians, in what must surely rank as the greatest US blunder in its history (though Vietnam came close!) – at least, up until the time of writing.

Contrary to my expectations, Maher positively leapt to Rumsfeld’s defense, leaving Errol Morris feeling decidedly uncomfortable. (Transcript below):

Maher: You know, I’ve got to say — I think, you know, if we’re ever going to get anything done in this country, we have to not hate everybody who doesn’t agree with us all the time. This is guy who to me is like the anti-Bush. Bush was the guy who said, ‘I don’t do nuance,’ remember? This guy does nuance on everything. I mean, the title of the movie, “The Known Unknown.” What is his quote there that you took and made a whole movie about? ‘There are things we know that we don’t know, things we don’t know that we’ — I couldn’t even fucking follow it. But Donald Rumsfeld is a guy who thinks about things.
Morris: I wouldn’t go that far.
Maher: Really?
Morris: Really.
Maher: He doesn’t think about things? He put out 20,000 memos in his time.
Morris: There is thinking about things and then there’s obfuscating and evading things.
Maher: Yeah, there’s some of that, but…
Morris: Some of that? What are you talking about? That’s all that there is. There is nothing more.
Maher: I disagree. I don’t see him as the worst. First of all, I don’t see him as a giant egomaniac. You asked him [about] the Iraq War. Would it have been better if we never went at all? He said, ‘time would tell.’ Most other people in the Republican Party say, ‘absolutely, no doubt. It was the greatest thing we’ve ever did.’ ‘I don’t know. We’ll see.’ That’s his view of a lot of things.
Morris: ‘Time will tell,’ what kind of an answer is that really?
Maher: That’s a real answer.
Morris: No, it isn’t. I’m very, very sorry.
Maher: Really, you mean history has never judged anything over more than 10 years?
Morris: Look, someone suggests that they may not like your policies, may not like the war. What do you say? You say, ‘well, let’s wait a while, say 100 trillion years and then maybe we’ll find an adequate justification for what we’ve done.’ Maybe it will all turn out. Maybe we won’t be here anymore.’
Maher: So there’s nothing in between 10 years and 100 billion years, you see?
Morris: A small amount.
Maher: Well, I mean, ok, I will not concede that point. But we can agree to disagree.

There was more, but you get the gist…

Nothing fades more rapidly in the public consciousness than recent history, and it seemed Maher had totally forgotten that Rumsfeld, his deputy, Wolfowitz, Cheney, and a number of others who found cosy employment within the administration of George W Bush, were all supporters of William Kristol’s….


…and Robert Kagan’s…


…”Project for the New American Century”.

Wikipedia lists eighteen PNAC ‘members’ who served in GW Bush’s administration.[1]

Only a few weeks ago, Maher had Kristol as one of his guests. The PNAC was never mentioned. When Maher railed generally about the cost of all the recent military interventions and wars, Kristol returned:

It’s the price we have to pay for being the world’s policeman.”

Since when has America been the ‘official’ world’s policeman? It’s not. Remember INTERPOL? No, not the band! The International Criminal Police Organization, into whose hands the tracking down and arresting of those behind the 9/11 attacks should have been squarely placed. They ARE the world’s policemen.[2]

Maher totally ignored Kristol’s comment, never questioned it, and changed the subject.

Among other nasty things, the PNAC supported US world domination by dramatically increasing military spending ($15 – $20 billion increase annually) in order to:


Defend the American homeland;
Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars;
Perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
Transform U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs”.

Far from treating the 9/11 attacks as a horrible event deserving swift intervention by the FBI and other international police forces, the PNAC saw it as a great opportunity, almost God-given considering their written statement only twelve months previous, that their aims would be difficult to achieve “…absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor”.

I would not venture to suggest there was any collusion by the PNAC in the actual events of 9/11. Evidence for such, if there is any, is yet to be discovered, and the true facts of the attacks may well not be uncovered for decades, if at all. Indeed, it may well be the truth is already public knowledge.

However, there can be no doubt that Rumsfeld and associates cold-bloodedly used that horrific day to their own ends – resulting in the invasion of Iraq and the lasting devastation of that nation.

Not only was Rumsfeld complicit, he masterminded the whole show from his position as Secretary of Defense.

To this day he shows no remorse. Errol Morris indicated his view of Rumsfeld was that of an evil man: cold, deliberating, unfeeling and uncaring.

Maher describes him as “…a man who thinks about things.”

What Maher, perhaps, fails to recognize is that many of history’s most evil men were individuals who “thought about things.”

Despite my ongoing criticisms of Bill Maher I’ve not yet given up on him. His production company, “Bill Maher Productions,” has recently launched a new series on HBO, “VICE”. The first program laid bare the facts of Greenland’s ice-melt, and exposed the ‘bond’ system in Pakistan that keeps whole families in slavery.

There can be no doubt that Maher earns his money – $23million at the last count. Unfortunately, with money comes power, and a gradual consorting with others of similar fortune. This inevitably leads to a process of acceptance blinding to the shortcomings of those with equal, or even more, wealth and power.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” was a quote of the 1st Baron Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, in April 1887. We all know it.

Less well known is another of the baron’s quotations:

There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men.”

Donald Rumsfeld undoubtedly committed the most monstrous of errors. Is Bill Maher, perhaps, one of those ‘ablest men’ of whom the good Baron Acton was referring?

[1] “PNAC Associations with Bush Administration Wikipedia.

[2] “INTERPOL Wikipedia.

2 Replies to “What The Hell Is The Matter With Bill Maher?”

  1. I too find Bill Maher has changed over the almost 10 years I’ve watched him in his Friday evening “Real Time”. I put it down to the fact that he’s a Democrat through and through – he cannot see the fault in his party and president. Well…he’ll occasionally hint at a very slight discontent (just for balance you understand!) He’s still in the “Republicans bad Democrats good” mode; will not accept that they both work for the same masters, albeit using slightly different styles, to appeal to all.

    I was quite surprised at his reaction to the Rumsfeld discussion – decided he must be just playing devil’s advocate. I wasn’t all that clued up on the topic anyway, when that stuff was going on I hadn’t quite got my bearings in the US….not that I do now – or ever will! :-/

  2. I did like him at one point, RJA, but I lost him when his misogyny kept leaking through.

    I’m not shocked he’s riding the Bush et al wagon. Those millionaires sure hang together.


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