Kudos to Glenn Greenwald for tearing Bill Maher a well deserved new one last night on “Real Time”. Sure, Maher is funny most of the time but his Islamophobic bigotry taints whatever laughs he has to offer. That’s why I was thrilled to see the always brutally honest Greenwald on the show.
The segment begins with a discussion of Benghazi, but the real fun starts around the 4:45 mark, when Maher embarks on a bigoted rant about the inherent violence of Muslims and Arabs, who he believes are incompatible with democracy because Islam is uniquely barbaric and won’t allow it. He goes on to imply that dictatorship is preferable in the Middle East, because unlike in the West, those Allah worshipers want Sharia law everywhere. As proof, he points to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syrian rebels with ties to Al Qaeda.
Then, like a boss, Greenwald puts Maher in his place, schooling him in the last four decades of U.S. imperialism in the region ranging from bombing campaigns that have killed and displacing millions, to the the installment and support of countless dictators whose brutal repression has made peace and democracy in the region nearly impossible.
Greenwald was joined by two other guests, Joy Reid and Charles Cooke. I don’t always agree with Reid, but she deserves a shout out for taking on Cooke’s assertion (around the 5:52 mark) that the American Revolution, unlike the uprisings in the Middle East, “was great”. Reid quickly fires back, “The revolution in the US was great unless you were a slave and then there was a war in which 600,000 Americans had to die to make it better.”
Reid adds, “In the middle East we’re saying that these are also imperfect revolutions. Whenever the U.S. goes in and tries to impose our vision of democracy in that region we fail. We took Mosaddegh out in Iran and we ended up with the Shah and then the Ayatollah.” Of course, Maher immediately jumped in to deny any U.S. responsibility for the state of the region. “It’s not our fault”, he said, at which point Greenwald entered the ring for an epic win.