In what might be the year’s most confusing example of liberalism’s failure to understand foreign policy, Bill Maher recently implied on his HBO program that America doesn’t need a Navy. After he got done trashing Chris Kyle as a “psychopath patriot”, and was subsequently put in his place by panelist Bret Stephens, Bill Maher started complaining about a Navy advertisement he has been seeing on TV. First of all, who gets annoyed by military advertisements on TV? That aspect of the story is strange enough.
The ridiculous Chris Kyle attack is nothing new. Liberals have been coming out of the woodwork for weeks using American Sniper as an excuse to bash the military and conservatives in general. The most startling example happened this week when an MSNBC correspondent went on Morning Joe and likened Chris Kyle’s service to a racist killing spree. Maher took the conversation to another level when he questioned the actual need for a Navy.
When Stephens pushed back against this odd claim, Maher retreated and said that he never said America doesn’t need a Navy but only that it’s too big. What he actually clearly implied was that the Navy really doesn’t serve a purpose because it isn’t protecting us from anyone. His exact words were, “Who is ‘they’ that the Navy is guarding us from? Because clearly the 9/11 attackers didn’t have to get past the Navy. I don’t think ISIS is planning an amphibious assault on New York City. So why do we need more money for the Navy if people we are fighting against don’t have to get past the Navy?”
Bill Maher has made a living off of saying salacious things to grab headlines so it’s easy to automatically dismiss what he has to say, but this is important because it speaks to a broader issue. While he has been a vocal critic of radical Islam, Maher appears to hold a dangerous world view that is growing more and more prevalent. The popularity of that thought process was evidenced by the audience laughter when Maher referenced ISIS attacking New York City by boat. This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how important the military is and what it does for that matter.
Stephens immediately thrashed Maher’s statements by asking him who was responsible for killing Bin Laden. The answer of course is the Navy Seals. The Navy’s presence goes far beyond that. When the audience was giggling about how ISIS doesn’t have a Navy, they should have asked themselves WHY terrorists and other foreign aggressors aren’t launching amphibious attacks. The answer to that question is because they can’t. Thanks to America’s position as the most powerful naval force in the world.
Not only that, anyone with an elementary understanding of the military knows that a large majority of drone attacks, bombings, and special operations missions involving terror targets are launched from air craft carriers in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. The Navy is very much involved in fighting terrorism both at home and abroad. Protecting the homeland is far more nuanced than just dropping a bomb from the sky. Also, many Navy crewmen do find themselves on the battlefields in the Middle East.
Ultra-liberals like Maher simply don’t understand the need for a powerful global military. In Maher’s defense, he tried to walk back his implication by saying that America’s Navy has too many aircraft carriers, as if his military expertise and foreign policy chops make him the right person to decide how many air craft carriers is too many. There is something to be said for the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about but that is a separate argument from questioning what the Navy is protecting us from. Perhaps, Maher has just gotten too comfortable. I wonder if he thought the Navy should be downsized in the days following 9/11. Probably not.
Fox News Host Greg Gutfeld summed Maher’s “schizophrenia” up perfectly, “That’s what I would call a disconnect. It’s like proclaiming your love for Whole Foods, but condemning the trucks who get the chow there.” We get it Bill. You didn’t like the Iraq War. That doesn’t mean you can belittle the courage of soldiers without any consequence. It also doesn’t justify pretending you have any idea what you are talking about when it comes to foreign policy and the American military’s role in the world.