Friday night on Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” Guardian columnist and former civil rights litigator Glenn Greenwald attacked the view that Islam is a “uniquely” threatening force in the world and that Muslims should be deprived of the benefits of the classical liberal values that many groups in the West have struggled to make into policy since the 18th-century Enlightenment.
That view has “infected” many of Maher’s “policy views,” Greenwald wrote on The Guardian on Saturday morning. On the show, Maher said the United States is not responsible for the prevalence of dictatorships throughout the Middle East.
Greenwald responded: “We were supporting and propping up Mubarak for 30 years. Even as we were cheering for all the Tahrir Square demonstrators as if we were on their side, it was our government that kept Mubarak in power, just like we’ve done across the entire Muslim world. And it’s amazing for you to say that, ‘Look at all these Muslims. The minute you give them a little freedom they go wild and they start being all violent.’ How can you be a citizen of the United States, the country that has generated more violence and militarism in the world over the last five or six decades and say, ‘Look at those people over there. They are incredibly violent.’ ”
Greenwald correctly says his exchange with Maher, which starts at the 4:45 mark below, captures the crux of this debate.