Bill Maher Fails
His History Test on Afghanistan, War on Terrorism
October 25, 2001
Bill Maher of Politically Incorrect has been making some statements
lately concerning Afghanistan and the war on terrorism that show he needs to
study his history a bit more carefully.
Here's one assertion
Bill: The Persians,
the Iranians had a secular Western government. They overthrew it for
the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Huh? The Iranians last
had a "secular Western government," a freely elected democracy, in
1954, which the CIA overthrew. The U.S. then installed in power
Maher calls the Shah's
government "a secular Western government." The Shah
was a monarch and the government was a dictatorship, notable for its
corruption and cruelty. It was the Shah whom the Iranians overthrew
for the Ayatollah.
Bill Maher: Contradictions
On the one hand, Maher
remarks favorably on our role in overthrowing many governments:
Bill: I think we
need the CIA to get back into business. I think we need Muslim-Americans
to join the CIA in big numbers, become spies and foment revolutions in
That's how we used to do
it, and it worked pretty well before we got scared of doing it that way.
On the other hand, Maher denies
we ever did so:
Bill: You know what?
We are hardly an oppressive, imperialist force.
Bill Maher: His Historical Overview
Beyond his inconsistent
assertions, is the sheer lunacy of Maher's claim that "it worked pretty
well" when we fomented revolutions in other countries in the Middle
- Syria, 1948 - The
U.S. overthrows the regime; Syria turns anti-U.S.
- Iran, 1954 - The
U.S. overthrows nationalist Mossadegh, puts the Shah in power. Result:
Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 Islamic revolution.
- Egypt, 1955 - The
U.S. tried to kill nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser. He turns to the
- Iraq, 1958 - The
U.S. puts Col. Kassem in power. He turns into an anti-American lunatic.
- Indonesia, 1967 -
The U.S. overthrows Sukarno. The army and mobs then kill 500,000 Sukarno
- Libya, 1969 - The
U.S. helps a young officer, Moammar Khadafy, seize power in Libya, then
tries to kill him in 1986.
- Iraq, 1975 - The
U.S. helps young Saddam Hussein seize power. In 1979, the U.S.
encourages Saddam to invade Iran in an effort to crush Iran's Islamic
revolution. Some 700,000 die in the war.
- Lebanon, 1983 -
U.S. forces intervene in the civil war to prop up the Christian
government, 240 U.S. Marines die.
If that's working
"pretty well," I'd hate to see what failure is like.
Bill Maher has admirable
positions on many issues, but he really should learn a bit more about Middle
Eastern history so as to avoid putting his foot in his mouth again and
misleading his many viewers.