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Bill Maher: Major League Irony as Tommy Smothers Appears on Politically Incorrect

September 28, 2001

Earlier this week there was major league irony on the Bill Maher show Politically Incorrect.

The show took place at the height of the controversy over Maher's comments that "we" were "cowards" for fighting terrorists in the past by "lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away."  While at first seemingly deliberately misinterpreted by some as an attack on the military by Maher, what Maher meant, and what was later generally accepted as his meaning, was that the politicians were cowards for not allowing the military to "do its job" for fear of causalities that could hurt the politicians' popularity.

On the show, and introduced with a great deal of respect and affection by Bill Maher, was Tommy Smothers of The Smothers Brothers comedy act.  Smothers expressed empathy with what Maher was going through.

Bill Maher, Tommy Smothers and the Vietnam War

The Smothers Brothers program on CBS was canceled at the height of the Vietnam War because of their outspoken opposition to the U.S. intervention in Indochina.

As noted elsewhere, Bill Maher has stated over and over again on his program his support of the Vietnam War.

So here we had one comedian -- Tommy Smothers-- who was fired for opposing a U.S. war, speaking in solidarity with another comedian --Bill Maher -- who not only is a vehement supporter of the war Smothers opposed, but was facing the loss of his program for making comments that were meant to call for more, not less, U.S. military action.

I wonder if Tommy Smothers knows of Maher's enthusiastic support for the Vietnam War.  I thought we might see some fireworks over that, but when Smothers mentioned how he had felt it necessary to oppose the "sickness" back then, Maher said nothing. 

Maybe Bill Maher remained silent out of respect for the legendary Smothers, or maybe they've agreed to disagree privately but not in public.  Maybe from Smothers' perspective, it's a case of regardless of the position being taken, defending the right to speak out.

In any event, it must be said that Bill Maher does deserve credit for letting dissident voices be heard this week who oppose any massive U.S. military strike on Afghanistan, and advocate alternative means of protecting ourselves and bringing bin Laden et al to justice.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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