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Maher writes: "Now, I'm against chemical weapons, and I don't care who knows it. And there's no doubt a guy like Bashar al-Assad deserves to get blown up: using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting civilians is purely and profoundly evil."

Comedian, activist Bill Maher. (photo: HBO)
Comedian, activist Bill Maher. (photo: HBO)

The US: World's Policeman or Schoolyard Bully?

By Bill Maher, Guardian UK

14 September 2013


ew rule: 12 years after 9/11, and amidst yet another debate on whether to bomb yet another Muslim country, America must stop asking the question, "Why do they hate us?" Forget the debate on Syria, we need a debate on why we're always debating whether to bomb someone. Because we're starting to look not so much like the world's policeman, but more like George Zimmerman: itching to use force and then pretending it's because we had no choice.

Now, I'm against chemical weapons, and I don't care who knows it. And there's no doubt a guy like Bashar al-Assad deserves to get blown up: using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting civilians is purely and profoundly evil.

But enough about Monsanto. When it comes to Syria, I do understand the appeal of putting the world on notice that if you use poison gas, the United States of America will personally fuck you up: we will seek out the counsel and support of the entire family of nations, and then, no matter what they say, we will go ahead and fuck you up.

But however valid that argument may be, it is, I believe, outweighed by the fact that we have to stop bombing Muslim countries if we ever want to feel safe from terrorism in our own. The Chemical Weapons Convention is important, but to the jihadi in the street, it just looks like we're always looking for a new reason to bomb them. We keep calling this part of the world a tinderbox - and we keep lighting fires there.

Even worse, bombing seems to be our answer for everything.

Since 1945, when Jesus granted America air superiority, we've bombed Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, Somalia, Bosnia, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen. And Yemen only because the tenth one was free.

How did we inherit this moral obligation to bring justice to the world via death from above? Are we Zeus? It doesn't make any sense. Our schools are crumbling, and we want to teach everyone else a lesson?

And look, like I said, I'm no fan of Assad. And I say that openly: I don't care if it costs me jobs in Hollywood. I think he's the worst kind of sociopath - the kind who commits unspeakable acts, but who looks like a menswear salesman.

I'm just pointing out that in recent years, our foreign policy debates look like the Facebook page of a loner who shot up a McDonald's. We're the only country in the world that muses out loud about who we might bomb next:

Iran, yeah we might bomb you ... thinking about it ... maybe, depends on my mood.

We did this with Iraq after 9/11, even though they had nothing to do with 9/11. We do it with Iran every day. And now, it's Syria's turn. We're like a schoolyard bully who's got every kid in the class nervous they're going to be next - and I don't know if anyone should have that power. Can you imagine going to work and sitting at the lunch table in front of ten people and saying:

Hey, you think we should ... kill Bob? It would send a message to Steve.

Who acts like this?

People in other countries don't talk like this. Probably because, if they did, we'd bomb them. Is there no self-awareness about how arrogant it looks to sit around politely pondering who needs a good bombing?

And,we're the only nation - as we have seen in this Syrian fiasco - who threatens to drop bombs on you while telling you we don't want to get involved!

We're just bombing, please, don't get up - no boots on the ground, just a little light bombing, we'll be out of your hair in a week.

I remember being on the Howard Stern show 12 years ago this week, right after 9/11, and Howard said that, in retaliation for 9/11, America should bomb a Muslim country, any Muslim country, it didn't matter which one. And yet somehow, I was the one on trial for talking crazy.

And I thought to myself, really? Bomb any Muslim country - that's the policy? Get a map of the Middle East and just throw a dart at it?

Well, apparently George W Bush was listening that day because that's exactly what we did. your social media marketing partner


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+168 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-14 22:21
Bill, you are a smooth surface on a rough stone. You speak the truth. And "they" will hate you for it. There is a greater majority of "us" who love you for your wisdom.
+52 # maddave 2013-09-15 01:10
Bill's "wisdom" is shallow and incomplete.
"Syria" is NOT about poison gas or dead civilians. It is about Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and Israeli Imperialism. Washington does not care about 1500 dead Muslim civilians. We killed 100's more than that in Iraq; we use chemicals (white phosphorus, napalm, CS) at will and supported Saddam's gas attacks on Iran & his people . . . until we needed a quick, pat reason to execute him. Like WMD's in Iraq poison gas usage in Syria is an emotionally salable excuse for war. Here're the simplified reasons for our current ire with Syria:
1. Europe buys expensive LNG from Saudi & Russia; both profit handsomely. Iran & Qatar propose an LNG pipeline thru Iraq, SYRIA, Lebanon and thence by sea to Europe - thus competing with Russia & Saudi's cozy LNG market.
3. The active, Zionists' Greater Israel Plan (GIP) proclaims Israel's "right" to all land from the Nile's mouth to Southern Egypt; across Saudi Arabia to Kuwait; up the Euphrates thru central Iraq and Syria; into Turkey and thence to the Med. Sea.
Before the GIP can be realized, however, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Iran & Jordan must be Balkanized - preferably by the USA.

DO NOT take my word. Google "Proposed Syrian Pipeline" and "Greater Israel Plan". Read both the pro and the con hits: make up your own minds!

ALL WARS ARE ECONOMIC and they are always supported by lies & propaganda.
+44 # wrknight 2013-09-15 10:02
No, it's not shallow at all. In fact, it's very profound. Bill's point is not about Syria, or poison gas or anything but the American mind set that attempts to justify violence against anyone for whatever reason we chose. Don't like someone? Go bomb them. It doesn't matter what anyone else says, make up a good excuse and go do it. Then we wonder why people don't love us.

While what you say is true, it's unrelated to Bill's commentary. You should learn to read for comprehension.
+5 # maddave 2013-09-15 14:03
wrknight, perhaps it is you who should learn to read past the obvious and the supporting, transparent propaganda. As for my comments being unrelated to Bill's you are correct to a point. In a pre-war situation, everything is related. Unless one is a Bush or Cheney, he/she cannot honestly cherry pick some factors and and ignore others as Bill did.

Start with the basic fact that neither the USA nor any other belligerent bombs for the sake of wasting bombs or creating collateral damage. They invariably go to war - with whatever weapons are necessary to win - for the profits. In our case, the profits accrue to Corporate America; consequently, our canon fodder must be given a reason for being cannon fodder and We The People must be fed an ostensibly valid excuse - the more emotional the better - to pay for the war!! (Corporate America only PROFITS from our wars, they do not finance or pay for them.) WMD's worked in Iraq, so we upped the ante by 1500 dead civilians and played it again in Syria.

I presume that - to your disadvantage - you were too lazy (or arrogant) to check the Google sites that I suggested.
maddave - MENSA# 10089587, Intertel & Cebrais pending.
+11 # wrknight 2013-09-15 16:05
Notwithstanding anything you say except for your criticism of the author, Bill's point is valid and it is not shallow - it is profound.
-7 # maddave 2013-09-15 19:42
What some see as "shallow" some others see as the Marianas Trench. It's all relative.
-33 # larrypayne 2013-09-15 10:53
Thanks, maddave, for pointing out that Maher is not such a great purveyor of truth. Judging from the ratings for Bloedorn's adoring comment, readers on this forum love Maher.

Let me see if I can get a record red number by saying that Maher's public stance on 9/11 truth is close to treason.
Maher is smart enough to know that the government's ridiculous conspiracy theory is almost total fiction. Yet Maher continues to support the lies in order to get his fat paycheck (and protect Israel). How can you love a person like that?
+8 # maddave 2013-09-15 14:11
No, no Ol' Buddy. I am a faithful Bill Mather fan. In this case he was limited to a short few paragraphs to cover his feelings on a subject that will eventually spawn volumes. What he said was true. His was an emotional, perfunctory expression of HIS feelings, with which we all must empathize, BUT it covered but one rather unimportant aspect of what will probably be a pivotal Middle Eastern event of this decade.
-6 # larrypayne 2013-09-15 18:53
Like you I was a fan of Maher. That all changed when Maher started to support the official conspiracy theory.

It doesn't take a degree in physics to know that those three buildings that fell at near free-fall speed on 9/11 were controlled demolitions.

I believe what Conan Doyle wrote, "when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains is the truth, however improbable."

The truth that remains is that 9/11 was an inside job and Maher is part of the coverup.
-2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-15 20:36
Are you saying the airplanes were a myth? Good point on WTC7. On the other hand, I do think Bush and Cheney knew the hit was coming. Why did great numbers of people not show up for work in the towers beyond normal absenteeism on the day of the hit?
+10 # larrypayne 2013-09-16 08:23
Airliners hit two towers. Three towers fell on 9/11. The third tower, WTC7, which was not hit by a plane and had only small fires fell straight down at free-fall speed for 8 seconds. The two towers that were hit by planes fell at near free-fall speed through the most resistance. That is impossible without the use of explosives.

Larry Silverstein and his son and daughter were among those who did not show up for work in the trade towers on 9/11. Silverstein took over as the leaseholder on the WTC weeks before 9/11.
He collected over $4 billion in insurance for the attacks.
+4 # Nick Reynolds 2013-09-16 09:25
He says, "Since 1945, when Jesus granted America air superiority . . ." Are you sure it wasn't Moses, Mr Maher? What's Jesus, the real Jesus, not the Fundamentalists ' save-me Jesus, or the Zionists' crucify-him Jesus, got to do with air superiority? Jesus preached pacifism.
But foolish Bill knows how his bread is buttered and tows the ruling party's line on 9/11, when anyone who looks into it knows the official version can't be true.
But, at least, he's got America's reliance on bombing and stupidity pegged accurately.
+9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-16 09:38
The Republicans and others, "one nation under God." So, why not say "one nation under Jesus?" What bill is saying, "the Capitalists use (Christianity)r eligion as a justification for whatever they do."
0 # Nick Reynolds 2013-09-29 09:33
Quoting Eldon J. Bloedorn:
The Republicans and others, "one nation under God." So, why not say "one nation under Jesus?" What bill is saying, "the Capitalists use (Christianity)religion as a justification for whatever they do."

We're certainly not under Jesus, especially not the self-called Christians.
I don't mind the "under God," but I do mind "one nation." The USA was never set up as a nation, anymore that the UN is a nation. The USA was a union of sovereign nations. It isn't now, of course. Those who wish to control the world need a world gov't, and that's where we're heading. It's going to be interesting to see if Rockefeller's power can pull it off. Things have a way of backfiring.
0 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-17 20:02
Frankly, we really do not know what Jesus said. He wrote nothing.
+1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-22 22:10
That is to say, since Jersus wrote nothing, we only know what others think he said.
0 # Nick Reynolds 2013-09-29 09:27
We really don't know anything, period. But I'm quite sure Jesus was skinny and very weak physically from all the fasting. That affects a person's aggressiveness.
+1 # dkonstruction 2013-09-16 12:47
Quoting larrypayne:

It doesn't take a degree in physics to know that those three buildings that fell at near free-fall speed on 9/11 were controlled demolitions.

I too believe that there was more to the story than the official story but unlike you I don't jump to conclusions as so many of the "truthers" seem to have done.

So it doesn't take a degree in physics to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt and with uncontrovertibl e evidence that the towers were the result of a controlled demolition?

It is one thing (and a good thing) to be skeptical about much in this life (including and perhaps especially the official gov't story on anything) but it is quite another to assume that therefore we know what' s the difference between being an atheist and being an' s a religion (just of another sort) while the other maintains a healthy skepticism but continues to keep an open mind.

So, for example, it is one thing to say that some elements of the gov't had a lot more evidence that an attack was coming (including specific intelligence about more or less when and even potential specific targets) it is quite another to say that therefore it was therefore necessarily an "inside job" (as in "we" did it as opposed to did nothing to prevent it) and absolutely positively the result of a controlled demolition.
+2 # larrypayne 2013-09-17 07:02
I don't jump to conclusions. I believe what my eyes tell me. Watch this video of the North Tower coming down.

The planes hit close to the top of both towers. Tower 1 had about 90 lower floors which were undamaged by fire. Tower 2 had about 75 lower floors that were undamaged by fire. Since people escaped down the stairways on these lower floors there could not have been fires there. The towers were held up by 284 vertical steel columns connected by horizontal steel spandrel at each floor.
If you watch the video linked, you will see that the top floors of the North Tower had completely disintegrated before they reached the undamaged floors of the building so the pancake theory is completely bogus.

You should examine your own method of reasoning when you are willing to accept that three steel-framed skyscrapers can fall because of fire on the same day when not one has fallen from fire in history. The odds against that would be in the billions.
+2 # Citoyenne 2013-09-16 13:00
Look at the WTC collapse videos closely. the Twin Towers' lower floors didn't buckle until they were hit by the falling mass from above. In other words, they pancaked. But if you look at WTC7, you'll see that the lower floors start to buckle BEFORE being hit by the falling upper floors. Now, THAT is a controlled demolition.
+3 # larrypayne 2013-09-17 07:09
Doesn't it make sense that if one of the towers fell from controlled demolition, then all three fell from controlled demolition? It takes weeks if not months to rig a building for controlled demolition. Why was a building that offices CIA, Secret Service and the NYC Office of Emergency Management pre-rigged for demolition?
-28 # kalpal 2013-09-15 10:55
Just because you hate Jews and love silly poorly conceived conspiracy theories does not make you right or even remotely sentient.
+21 # maddave 2013-09-15 14:42
I hate Jews? You glean that from just my comments? What a stupid insult to your own intelligence! . Would you like to compare your family's losses in the Holocaust with mine?

Not one to to suffer fools and bigots gladly, let me explain something to you:
1. Wise men do not support or attack others simply because they belong to similar or dissimilar religions. They join & work together.
2. Virtually nothing differentiates one bigot from another, Regardless of their respective, different philosophical, religious, racial, etc orientations, they are identical.
3. I hate neither Jews nor anyone else, but I deplore what Israel Government has done --- is still doing --- in the name of Judaism.
4. For almost 2000 years before European christians (sic) solved their universal "Jewish Problem" via the Balfor Agreement, Christians, Jews and Moslems lived peaceably throughout - if selectively - the Middle East.
5. The surviving Jews arrived in Israel with a mandate from God and a chip on their collective shoulder . . . which supplanted what ought to have been "Hope for the Future".
6. Given more two-way cooperation and negotiations and less religious fervor on both sides . . . one aggravating and provoking the other for political gain . . . the Middle East could have become be a new Eden vice the Hell that pig-headed bigots and politicians have created.
+7 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-15 20:28
Bill Maher was not commenting on or about another very real subject, LNG. He was talking about the "U.S. acting like the school yard bully." And it is about time someone did bring up this subject.
How can anyone believe that the U.S. will not get its ass kicked again such as happened on 9/11 as we continue to throw the dart?
+2 # dkonstruction 2013-09-16 09:13
Quoting Eldon J. Bloedorn:
Bill, you are a smooth surface on a rough stone. You speak the truth. And "they" will hate you for it. There is a greater majority of "us" who love you for your wisdom.

The "truth" is that this is a guy who has been ranting about "radical Islam" for years now but now is all of a sudden concerned that we are acting like a "George Zimmerman" at's his "analysis."

Nothing about any concrete alternatives. Nothing about what an alternative US policy might look like. Nothing about the history of why the US has behaved the way that we have (at least 60 -- and arguably longer -- since we overthrew the democratically elected President of Iran).

Maher is often quite funny and on some issues (like legalization of Marijuana) I agree with him, but on politics he is more often than not expressing a right-wing "libertarian" view that many Tea Party type isolationists would feel very comfortable with. Sad, that this is the level of so-called political analysis (which is in fact no analysis at all) that we have come to laud as "wise" or even "brave" because he "speaks up" even when much of what he has actually had to say over the last decade has simply been to rant against Islam and which it can reasonably be argued has helped to fuel the kind of "bomb 'em" mentality which he now rants against.
-1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-16 19:34
Hmmmm? Bill calls the insane members of the Republican congress "Teabaggers." He has no particular love for Christianity. Did you view his movie, "Religiosity?" Bill refers to himself as a Social Libertarian. Which is to say, he has compassion for people. Unlike the typical Libertarian mind. Fact is, he said the only war the Libertarians objected to was the civil War. Hmmm?
+95 # lourdmar 2013-09-14 22:26
It's hard not to love someone who tells it like it is.
+130 # Billy Bob 2013-09-14 22:36
Two thoughts:

1. He left out the fact that we still have our own chemical weapons, and that we have recently used some of them in Iraq and Afghanistan (depleted uranium, white phosphorous, and even our old standby - napalm).

2. It's not a question of "policeman" OR "bully". It's more like a complete analogy, that goes like this:

-step 1: schoolyard bully
-step 2: become a cop after graduation.
-step 3: watch the nerds, who worked hard in class, do better in life, while we spiral downward into a violent life without using our brain cells much.
-step 4: lashing out against the rest of the world.
+32 # Joe Bob 2013-09-15 01:18
And we the citizens allow the military and the 1% to do this in our names. It's all our fault. I bet you that at least 80% of the citizens don't want bombing, the rest can't think beyond the boom.
+16 # Texas Aggie 2013-09-15 12:53
It's only partly our fault, not all. The people running the military have a choice as to whether to blow someone up or not. It's their choice and we don't have a whole lot of say in the matter. Look at how much good the protests before the Iraq invasion did. The MSM didn't even publish them although they drew tens of thousands of demonstrators and marchers.
+15 # EternalTruth 2013-09-15 15:25
Fwiw: those protests drew millions of people worldwide. I was at more than one with upwards of 100k in a single location. And the government didn't give a shit.
+6 # Billy Bob 2013-09-15 19:00
Not only that, but the insult is worse, when they suddenly choose to over-report protests by about 20 or 30 T-Baggers angry at our "Muslim, socialist, Kenyan, anti-American" president. The MSM pick and choose who they want heard, and they don't want us to be part of the discussion.

About members of the military standing up for what's right: That sounds great, but the military is 100% volunteer, so it's filled with people who bought into the nonsense about "Why do they hate us?", hook, line and sinker. Right now, too much of the military mindset is dominated by a bunch of "Larry the Cable Guys" saying, "Gitter done!"

It's a pathetic mess.
+25 # Mrcead 2013-09-15 08:10
America has surpassed the school yard bully, hard edged cop, oppressive boss and totalitarian head of state. America is a new creature all on it's own. Even the Nazi's made their goals clear to the world, what is America's endgame? It surely exists, so many random moves that seem erratic to the public but are followed lockstep with the governors and senators with little - if any opposition?

No, this is the work of a plan currently in action and Americans are so in the dark it technically should have caused the second revolution by now.

+13 # Billy Bob 2013-09-15 09:15
I agree. I think it's just the PNAC agenda playing itself out. We live on a chess board with over 300 million pawns.
-130 # 2013-09-14 22:45
So juvenile...the article not the examples. Mr. Maher is joining Mr. Margolis in pandering to public opinion opposing action against the Butcher of Damascus. I'm sure Ketchum PR is clipping this article and taking credit for it as part of their Putin-for-Presi dent PR effort.
As I told Eric, piling on is not even legal in football. And, it is very transparent of Bill to be following, rather than leading. The only ones using the word "war" in the adult segment of this discussion are reactionaries who consider fireworks a terrorist act. Grow up! Please.
If we were on the brink of war, we would have heard shrieks from Hollywood anti-war stars and howls from the rest of the world (aligned with Russia). Where was the outrage? In Parliament? No, it manifested itself on the OpEd page of the grey lady herself and was written by a former KGB agent (or some account executive at Ketchum more likely). Who applauded it? The conservative Republican born-again hawks.
Tell me Mr. Maher; what is wrong with this picture?
+29 # TCinLA 2013-09-14 23:56
Thanks for the daily demonstration that what's really "exceptional" about America is the exceptional stupidity of Americans like you. I'll bet back in 1964-65, you were one of the 95% of the morons who thought LBJ was doing the right thing in Vietnam. I'll be ten years ago you were cheerleading shock'n'awe for little Georgie's invasion of Poland.

But don't worry, you're a good Imperial Subject. You're certainly no citizen of a republic.
+24 # Even 2013-09-15 03:35
Did you read one word of the article? If so, you need help with comprehension.
+16 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-09-15 07:07
What in the hell?
+12 # reiverpacific 2013-09-15 10:24
So juvenile...the article not the examples. Mr. Maher is joining Mr. Margolis in pandering to public opinion opposing action against the Butcher of Damascus. I'm sure Ketchum PR is clipping this article and taking credit for it as part of their Putin-for-President PR effort.
As I told Eric, piling on is not even legal in football. And, it is very transparent of Bill to be following, rather than leading. The only ones using the word "war" in the adult segment of this discussion are reactionaries who consider fireworks a terrorist act. Grow up! Please.
If we were on the brink of war, we would have heard shrieks from Hollywood anti-war stars and howls from the rest of the world (aligned with Russia). Where was the outrage? In Parliament? No, it manifested itself on the OpEd page of the grey lady herself and was written by a former KGB agent (or some account executive at Ketchum more likely). Who applauded it? The conservative Republican born-again hawks.
Tell me Mr. Maher; what is wrong with this picture?

Use of the patronizing term "Grow up" immediately diminishes the credibility of any post, exacerbated by declamatory and fuzzy prose.
Who the Hell's "Eric"? Or "The Grey Lady"?
What the Hell has football, even in an allegoric sense, got to do with it? There's no referee in this situation except the US's "Exceptionalism ", which is like having an NFL team play a high school one, sans rules.
Plain English s'il vous plait.
+7 # kalpal 2013-09-15 10:59
What is wrong with the picture is that you are looking in a mirror and just seeing a horse's ass.
+40 # mdhome 2013-09-14 23:05
As, we have the bomb makers and they need to keep their jobs, unemployment is high enough without putting them out of work!
+1 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-15 08:44
mdhome, "without putting 'bomb-makers' out of work!" DEATH-JOBS. How many feel depleted at the end of the day making a killing? Then again feeling depleted, one feels the need to have a boost. How about we all pack-up into the car & off to the cottage? Don't we just love 'being-together ' as a family in nature. Hey dad, "What do you do all day?" Sorry, I don't want to talk about it, I just want to 'relax'. At the same time running up a consumption bill that I have to commute-to-work , pay for & work even more at death.
Cottages, car-transport & paraphernalia involved are the biggest ongoing non-essential expenses in the North America budget. 10% of US & Canadian families have cottages = 11,000,000 cottages = 2.2 trillion dollars of quickly depreciating rotting resources. In order for us to chill out at the non-farm, lake or river it takes energy & materials which we take (unfair imposed trade-agreement s) from around the world & require war to police our impositions on other nations.
Without burden of 2nd homes etc, we can rest comfortably in our primary homes, talk & collaborate as families to know each other, clean up our garbage, stop toilet polluting our rivers, build full-cycle recycling systems, make our primary homes more energy efficiency, organize economies in multihome apartment buildings. Grandparents can live in proximity with young ones etc.
+2 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-14 23:25
Bill M. You're drinking the koolaid,
US, Canadian, NATO, Israel, Saudi & Multinational CORPORATIONS deal arms quite independently of the US & other western governments, with much more advanced weaponry for dissidents. War is the main industry forming 40% of western powers' export dollars.
The official US government supply of hardware & chemical (Sarin, Enhanced (aka 'depleted' Uranium, White Phosphorus etc) weapons is always only the tip of the iceberg for massive arms, munitions & false-security flows which are at the core of the Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Legislative -Terror-Complex .
We've a case of 'Intellectual-C owardess', for western war-economy nations, who don't know how to engage perceived enemies in equal-time, recorded & published formal dialogues.
There are Dialectic ('both-sided') equal-time, recorded & published dialogue approaches which must become de rigeur in human relations as all humanity understood during our 100s of 1000s of years of 'indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') peace & prosperity. We need to create a culture of dialectic rights in every home, school, company, institution, law & government with processes for every person having the right to challenge events & structures through dialogue.
+14 # wrknight 2013-09-15 10:51
Doug, you are right, but so is Bill. He's just talking on a different level. The key lies in your statement "We need to create a culture of dialectic rights in every home, school, company, institution, law & government with processes for every person having the right to challenge events & structures through dialogue". Why do we allow our government to bomb whoever it wants for whatever reason it wants. The problem is that we have become so divided and polarized that civil dialogue at home, school or anywhere else is nearly impossible; and challenging anyone is no longer permitted. We have allowed this to come about through massive propaganda campaigns funded with unlimited dollars from those who benefit from it. We as a people have been drinking the koolaid far too long.
+1 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-15 11:55
wrknight, I agree with you 100%. Bill is quite right in many ways which transcend many levels. Comedians like Bill often see issues very clearly from a more human place. Thanks for saying what I was trying to say in clearer terms.

However, mixed-in to Bill's dialogue, is voicing a knee-jerk condemnation of Assad's supposed Sarin-Gas use. Bill is only repeating media echoes of the Project for a New American Century corporate dominance lies as well as false stories from foreign mercenaries who form more than 50% of the supposed 'rebel' force. The echo-chamber can be deafening, so it helps to study the architecture of the false construct in which our colonial societies live before simply repeating the lies ad nauseum.
In order to fortify human understanding, we need to create a culture of dialectics ('formal both-sided dialogues'), where we all become used to discussing the real-life issues of our homes, workplaces etc. I was raised in a family which had debating traditions across generations, so I'm always surprised at cowering & the resulting dishonest manipulations, which form the intrigue of so many people, politicians & presidents.
+3 # ishmael 2013-09-14 23:26
Spokesperson for the sane.
+23 # pres 2013-09-14 23:38
Well if you are going to bomb somebody for using chemical weapons then bomb the Pentagon and Wall st. They used more chemicals on Viet Nam than all of the rest of the worlds countries combined.
+10 # chrisconnolly 2013-09-15 11:42
Don't forget to bomb Monsanto. Who else but the Russian arm of Monsanto likely made the serin gas Assad used. Monsanto is chemicalizing our whole life giving system. They deserve at least some of the bad press.
+6 # maddave 2013-09-15 23:35

Monsanto doesn't give a damn about anything but Roundup (an herbicide) and the GMO seeds to grow flora (plants) that are that are compatible with Roundup. If you want gasses and liquids that are lethal to fauna (animal life of any kind) try Bayer, DuPont, Grace, Abbott, BASF, etc, etc.
MONSANTO has enough real sins. They don't need any that are mistakenly attributed.
+22 # tigerlille 2013-09-14 23:42
Cute enough article, and I like the little dig at Monsanto, but Bill's analysis barely skirts the surface. I have to point out yet again, that the initial decision to bomb Syria was not made on moral grounds, as Obama's cover story went. The countries that the United States bombs are picked very purposefully, usually having to do with protecting the financial interests of the economic elite.
+17 # AndJustice4All 2013-09-15 00:01
Since 2001, the base defense budget has soared from $287 billion to $530 billion — and that's before accounting for the primary costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Military Industrial Complex's budget in 2012-2013 is over $700 billion dollar. But now that the Afghanistan & Iraq Wars are ending how will the Pentagon justify it's mad spending? Start another war in the Middle East! Tell me Mr. Grandone; what is wrong with this picture?
+11 # ishmael 2013-09-15 00:09
Loved the Zimmerman analogy.

Thanks be that Mr Obama has the smarts to listen to the occasional voice of reason.
+3 # barbaratodish 2013-09-15 00:28
We don't need more war, we are at war with ourselves! We are so used to being at war with someone, or other and/or with our "self" (which "self" is our various "IDENTITY" self (our gender, race, ethnic, etc., SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED and LIMITED ROLE OF SELF instead of or in addition to our REAL HUMAN PEACEFUL LOVING, LAUGHING, LIMITLESS, etc., SELF,) that we hardly know WHO we are, and THAT we are! We, all of us, in the entire WORLD, all need to take a break from WAR, internal war ,external war , consicous war and unconscious war, and all go on a SLEEP STRIKE! Then, maybe when we all sleep enough, we can all WAKE UP INTO A CONSCIOUSNESS OF PEACE, LOVE, LAUGHTER and LIMITLESSNESS!
+24 # Wordslinger 2013-09-15 00:28
Are all you guys plain nuts? We don't bomb anyone for political purposes -- good or evil. We bomb anyone because it brings profits for our MIC. We gave up on morality or fighting real enemies a long time ago. Now, we do it all for money.

Just like any other whore.
+12 # Justice 4 Everyone 2013-09-15 00:37
This article is a very insightful yet satirical look at the problem with American foreign policy and its attendant military arm. This is of course further compounded by the usually hidden Corporate interests always at play behind the scenes. Think of the 'Seven Sisters' (the petrodollar cabal)

A more apposite analogy may well have been between the Schoolyard Bully scaring the school playground and the Mafia Gangster terrorising the entire neighbourhood.
+18 # turtleislander 2013-09-15 00:38
The bully comes out of his run-down house and goes to school where he has failing grades. He goes out at recess and beats up someone smaller. The kids hate and fear him but do not respect him. They pray for his disappearance. He goes home and treats his sickly mother like dirt and then refuses to fix the broken shutters. Wind howls through the broken glass he wont repair. Nice guy, huh?
+19 # Phlippinout 2013-09-15 00:42
The US is George Zimmerman, thats so funny but so true. Itching to kill
+16 # SenorN 2013-09-15 01:29
You actually made me laugh about these deadly-serious subjects.

Wonderful writing!
Thank You, Bill!
+10 # RPMatthews 2013-09-15 04:42
Nice job, Bill...US foreign policy has arrived this century to render surreal comedic irony nothing short of straight out reality...Not mentioned in this vein is that Stern may or may not have been serious but Henry Kissinger was when he admitted in 2005 that what was needed after 9-11 was to pick an Arab country and humiliate them "to send a larger message" [than just invading Afghanistan] see Bob Woodward's book "State of Denial", pp. 408-409
+21 # Inspired Citizen 2013-09-15 05:32
Fact is, the world needs a policeman, and how often do we see people calling to reform and strengthen the UN? The far-right's paranoia is no way to run foreign policy.

We simply can't afford to be world's policeman, and we can't do so based on the rule of law. We "police" based on our national interest, and that's called, quite simply, being an empire.
-11 # kochadoodledoo 2013-09-15 05:53
I would hardly agree that using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting
civilians is "looking for a new reason to bomb them;" otherwise Bill is right on.
+6 # Texas Aggie 2013-09-15 13:01
Maybe you can explain how killing people with cruise missiles is somehow an appropriate response to the use of chemical weapons. You do realize that several hundred cruise missiles are going to kill more civilians than died because of the gas, don't you? Is your argument that if we blow them apart, they won't die from sarin gas?
+6 # larrypayne 2013-09-15 14:47
Texas Aggie,
You're absolutely right. More civilians will be killed if our chickenhawks decide to bomb them.

Which is worse, dying from a poison gas or dying from bombs that burn and dismember its victims? I think I would choose the gas.
+13 # KatieLargent 2013-09-15 06:22
Don't forget to mention our first big bombs: JAPAN!
+13 # jon 2013-09-15 07:09
Because of our oil gluttony, we have given the middle east the means to include us in their centuries old love of inter-tribal warfare.

Until we make some breakthroughs in alternative energy, it is only going to get worse.

We need a JFK style "I choose to go to the moon" national project to render oil no longer the total necessity that it is now.

When we have pulled that financial support system out from under them, all they will have to sell is sand, and the wealth they are shooting at us with, will dry up.

If there is another solution anywhere remotely as absolute, I would like to hear it.
+6 # USA2012??? 2013-09-15 07:21
Bill: a very light hearted assessment of our foreign policy of late, but very accurate and wittingly done: Bravo!

However, what the intelligent should be asking our politicians is how in the Hell did we get to this place? World policeman or Bully? I think the latter is a more appropriate assessment of the holier-than-tho u powers-that-be who are masters of spin, double standards, and hypocrisy.

How can so many seemingly intelligent people in a country as advanced as the US be so easily manipulated and misguided?

Well, you know the old adage, forget the message and kill the messenger: we're absolutely done so what's next?
+5 # wrknight 2013-09-15 11:05
"However, what the intelligent should be asking our politicians is how in the Hell did we get to this place?" Any person asking that question can't be very intelligent. The answer is obvious. The voters who bothered to vote didn't do a very good job of vetting the politicians they voted for. And those who didn't vote? What can I say?

The bottom line is that the vast majority of voters didn't have the intelligence, time or motivation to govern their nation as it was intended. You cannot have a nation of the people, by the people and for the people if the people can't or won't govern.
0 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-15 13:03
Humanity's worldwide 'Indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') ancestors based 'democracy' (Greek 'power-of-the-p eople') in 'Economic' (Gk 'oikos' = 'home') production & universal ownership within each specialized Production Society. Politics is only a subset. 1st Nations which we illegally invaded instead of immigrating to, were deep democratic ancestors as were our Celtic ancestors in Europe & ancestors of every indigenous peoples worldwide.

Women's work is organized & recognized within multihome dwelling (apartment, townhouse & village-kind) with critical mass groupings of intergeneration al, female-male collaboration. From young apprentice to elder master, all were making expert decisions within areas of expertise. Time-based human-resource accounting recognized everyone for their particular 'community' (L 'com' = 'together' + 'munus' = 'gift or service') gift & talent.

Industry & commerce formed subsets of these dominant 'domestic' economies. Knowledge of biosphere & its technological applications, such as purifying fecal & urine leavings into soil nutrition kept lands & Polyculture Orchards abundantly productive. Rivers, land & air are kept pure by design. P. societies were organized locally but as well engaged in regional, confederate, continental & hemispheric organization & trades. Turtle Island (N. America) contained the largest cities of the world, all clean.
+11 # RMDC 2013-09-15 07:31
"And there's no doubt a guy like Bashar al-Assad deserves to get blown up: using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting civilians is purely and profoundly evil."

I know this is satire and tongue in cheek, but you should not even say this because too many americans believe it. The comments with the odious Howard Stern make the point. He and lots of others think that the US should just bomb anyone it wants to.

What people don't make clear enough is that bombing is killing people and destroying the things they've worked really hard to build. Would Howard Stern say "we should just kill a lot of Muslims. We should murder them with our bare hands."
+11 # Mrcead 2013-09-15 08:16
Who is worse? People who actually use chemical weapons or people who manufacture them? A weapon of extermination, not war. The second level to this is that the only way to effectively make a better chemical weapon is to see the existing product (it is made to be sold and used after all) in action and gather data in order to alter the results for the next incarnation.

I hope you are as disgusted as I am.
+4 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-15 10:23
Mrcead, I hope that you are aware by now that; US, Canada, NATO, Israel are the main manufacturers, financiers, bombers & deliverers of Chemical Weapons worldwide as well as to our foreign mercenary army in Syria. We do it all. Its unlikely that Syrian government is even involved except for cleaning up our mess. Here's a compilation of over 60 sources / international experts, UN officials, US Generals on our intrigue.
+6 # RMDC 2013-09-16 07:21
Chemical weapons are really not very effective and that is why the big countries don't often use them. The gas just blows away. Soldiers can wear gas masks. Obama says about 1300 people were killed. Doctors without borders and the UN say about 350.

The really effective weapons of mass destruction are cruise missiles, cluster bombs, fuel air bombs, and such heavy bombers as the B-52. When you blow up a water treatment plant (as the US always does), you condemn tens of thousands of children to die from water bourne diseases and diarrhea. Chemical gas is not much compared to this -- but the US mass media is too stupid to think it through.
+11 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-09-15 08:23
Maher points out that Warmongering is not only profoundly evil, it's also profoundly ridiculous.
+6 # wrknight 2013-09-15 16:42
Unfortunately, it's profoundly profitable for a few people.
+4 # reiverpacific 2013-09-15 10:12
From my own observations, many schoolyard bullies turn out to be policemen.
This question answers itself, the rest is persiflage.
"And I thought to myself, really? Bomb any Muslim country - that's the policy? Get a map of the Middle East and just throw a dart at it?" (quote) Howard Stearn??? Jeezus' Holy McSporran -now there's a voice of bloody profound wisdom innit!?
The framers (Cowards, bullies, cynical exploiters and power-drunk neocons to a man) of the "Project for a New American Century" didn't exactly throw a dart at a map but they did collectively, carefully and calculatedly select seven Middle-Eastern countries to be invaded and dominated by the US from the massive, heavily guarded biggest embassy in the world to be conveniently, centrally sited in Baghdad, as far back as 1991-which just lends more evidence that 9-11 was part of the equation as a "cause celebré" well before 2001.
It all dovetails nicely if you look at it through a reasonably well informed and increasingly well-documented historical lens.
Syria is the last country on this list unless you count Iran, which is in the hair-trigger telescopic sights of the US's deputy police constable for the region, LIKUD's Israel.
I might just sit down and draw a history-gram chart, or a family-tree-lik e illustration of events leading up to the present, many of the branches still to flower in the final picture, just for the fun of it but I've got better things to do with my time.
+11 # rhgreen 2013-09-15 10:36
It's hard to believe that an article as good as this on a subject as serious as this can also be as funny as this. I am going put a post on my blog saying that all my readers have to read Bill Maher's article, and if they don't I'm going to bomb them.
-8 # leffwrite 2013-09-15 11:25
Memories are so short. The Syrian conflict began with an Arab Spring stimulated by a peaceful people uprising against 43 years of Assad family dictatorship. It was and has been brutally repressed by heavy Russian weaponry--tanks , artillery, and bombers--and now poison gas--After 100,000 deaths and an escalation to poison gas, Obama wanted the US. to level the playing field with laser guided cruise missiles--a potential game changer which could reduce the carnage in favor of the original uprising. In all likelihood it would not harm more than are being daily harmed by Assad's heavy Russian tanks,artillery , and bombers.

Who is the bully here? Obama is not Bush. Syria is not Iraq. As Kristof writes in today's Times [a must read] in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Mali, Ivory Coast there is general agreement that the West was right to intervene to avert mass atrocities, and was horribly wrong to sit aside passively in Rwanda and Darfur.

Obama was wrong to "surge" in Afghanistan, wrong to oppress Snowden, wrong not to condemn ALL the sadistic Bush regime atrocities...bu t his threat of force, and willingness to use it against Assad seems to be in the best American tradition of opposing brutal dictatorships and uprisings against them.
An old anti-war comrade puts it this way:
There are two reasons I support limited targets strikes in Syria:
1. It's a national liberation struggle I support, and
2. There are people dying every day--it's a humanitarian emergency.
+2 # wrknight 2013-09-15 16:45
The Syrian conflict began sevaral centuries ago. And the Brits didn't do them any favors by cutting up the middle east into arbitrary fiefdoms.
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-09-15 22:43
[quote name="leffwrite "]-"but his threat of force, and willingness to use it against Assad seems to be in the best American tradition of opposing brutal dictatorships and uprisings against them. (quote).
My Gawd, where have you been hiding?
From my reading of recent and past history, the "best American tradition" is CREATING, ARMING and BUTTRESSING brutal dictatorships and suppressing in whole or part, freedom-seeking uprisings against them.
For a list, please look back no farther than 1953 Iran.
There is actually not enough room or character allowance on RSN to complete the list of invasions, overthrow of democratically elected governments, mass murder and CIA interventions since then (and before if you really want to go farther back, including the treatment of the native peoples of this continent) but the present will do nicely.
Many of us who are genuinely concerned, just recalled the 40th anniversary of one of the worst, most destructive and cynical interventions in Chile with the murder of Salvador Allende by "Dr Death" Kissinger and his CIA "in the "Best American Tradition", beginning 17 years of dictatorship, terror, slaughter, disappearances and mass jailings.
And that's just a singular example.
In fact, Assad was "Our bad Guy" at one point, just as Saddam H' was before he went rogue on the biggest rogue nation on earth.
Please awaken from y'r propaganda dream and smell the widely-disperse d, owner-media-pat sy shit. The info' is out there in print and video
+1 # fishmother 2013-09-15 11:27
Frankly I thought Maher's monologue was brilliant & I was glad to read it again. But I do understand why certain people go into a snit over some of his frankness...if you have a thin skin or are standing on thin ice, then I'd imagine his willingness to call attention to your skin or melting ground of being.
+2 # RODNOX 2013-09-15 11:30
oh bill --again you missed the point and are drawing attention to the wrong one-----the big point here is.......who did this and who benifits ????? then you ask how long has this been planned and and is it just another part of someones agenda ?......this is why i stopped paying attention to you------you may have valid points but they are chronologically out of order of relevance...... ..
+3 # wrknight 2013-09-15 16:57
And the even bigger point is who allows it to happen? At the risk of repeating myself, it's the voters who are responsible for responsible government.

Anyone who doesn't take the time and effort to participate in the political process and who fails to thoroughly vet the candidates for public office is giving a free pass to those who will exploit the system.

So, you want to point fingers? Look in the mirror when you do it.
+2 # barbaratodish 2013-09-15 12:05
Bill Maher virtually "kills" with his humor instead of Bombs, on stage or elsewhere! lol We all need to find our lost sense of humor, or allow our senses of humor to emerge for the very first time, instead of, or in addition to, taking ourselves too seriously. To this end maybe we need to groom, recruit, and vet, etc., all politicians AND all future police, by having all our youth take themselves less seriously so that instead of bullies we have peace educators instead of POL-icy makers and POL-icy enforcers!
+2 # margpark 2013-09-15 12:46
How nice to tell the truth in such a way you made me giggle.
+2 # wrknight 2013-09-15 16:58
It's a way of making the truth not hurt quite so much.
+6 # wrknight 2013-09-15 17:52
As I read through the comments I find a common theme is to point the finger at someone else. We put the blame on the military industrial complex or on greedy arms and chemical manufacturers or on politicians. We put the blame on everyone except ourselves; and I think what Bill is ultimately trying to say is that we need to look in the mirror.

Long ago, Hamilton said "Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without restraint." Simply stated, there are people who will take advantage of any opportunity to harm or exploit others and we need government to restrain them.

What we have is a government that allows chemical and arms manufacturers to profit from other people's conflicts, bankers to gamble with other people's money without any risk to themselves, and a myriad of other sins. But in a republic, it's the responsibility of its citizens to maintain good government; and that's where we, as a people, have failed.

If you want to restrain men's passions, you need good government. If you want good government, you have to work for it. You need to spend the time and effort to vet the candidates for political office. You need to vote in EVERY election, especially primaries where we weed out undesirable candidates. You need to let your politicians know what you expect from them. And most of all, you need to walk away from that damned TV set and stop drinking the koolaid.
+3 # cherylpetro 2013-09-16 07:48
I think the people liberated from the camps of Nazi Germany, were more than grateful that the US decided to intervene, and stop them from being gassed and incinerated! No one of compassion can see people suffering and dying horrible deaths w/o being moved to help! Bush and his cronies had ulterior motives for attacking Iraq, and it was not a mission of compassion, or revenge for 9/11. (Republicans have no compassion). But now, they want Pres. Obama to react in a way that would make him look as guilty as Bush was for Iraq. Republicans are so busy trying to make Pres. Obama and Hillary look bad, they have neglected the real reason for being in office. Their PNAC, by Dick Cheney, says they must dominate the Middle East, and establish permanent bases to gain control of the oil. They taunt Pres.Obama to take military action, and if he seems to lean that direction, they chastise him. If he chooses diplomacy, again, they come down hard on his head! Republicans are repulsive, game players, who only want revenge, and money; everyone else can just die! Republicans stir up trouble, and then point fingers at others! They belong no where near public office, because they don't represent anyone but themselves, and their agenda! They should never get another vote by another American. They have blood on their hands, and they could not be happier!
+3 # cherylpetro 2013-09-16 09:16
When Bill Maher mentioned Monsanto in the same breath as chemical warfare, he was not wrong! Monsanto is forcing their product on crops on a global scale, using concern and compassion as their selling point, yet taking away our freedom of choice; because one day soon we will either have to eat their crap, or starve! Like Fukushima, and their ignorance of how to avert, or fix a disaster situation; Monsanto has no idea of the impact their GMOs will have on human beings, or the creatures of the Earth, or the environment! When the few are able to dominate our lives so dramatically, and take away our freedom to say NO; how is that any different than a power hungry megalomaniac who has power over our lives? It may be a coup without bullets, or bombs....but it will be no less devastating. Remember, Monsanto is not in it for humanitarian reasons; they are in it for power and money..... just like all dictators! If President Obama wants to take out an evil force that uses chemical warfare against innocent people, Monsanto had better be right there at the top of the list!

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