In the hours after the deadly Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, host Bill Maher asked his “Real Time” to explain the attackers’ motives. He asked, “Why do they hate us?”
 
Maher told the panel, which consisted of former Republican party chairman Michael Steele, talking head Dylan Rattigan, and former night-time television host Jay Leno,  “We don’t have every bit of information, the last body count I heard was over 150.”
 
Referring to the deadly attacks unleashed in Paris in January against the editors of the satirical magazine, “Charlie Hebdo”, Maher said “When the Charlie Hebdo thing happened the week after everybody said ‘Je suis Charlie.’ But not really. They didn’t really stick with them… I’m gonna ask you this question that people asked after 9/11, because I don’t think we really know the answer: Why do they hate us?”
 
Maher then laughed, saying “I stumped the panel.”
 
Rattigan laid the blame on the U.S. presence in the Mideast and its financing of the regime in Saudi Arabia, which he said continues to “oppress the the population that does not have power in Saudi Arabia.”
 
Steele appeared to criticize the party he once led, and the policies of President George W. Bush. He blamed the “so-called Bush doctrine” of promoting democracy in the Mideast, and said that it has been  “has been rejected.” 
 
A self-declared atheist, Maher has been critical of Islam in the past. Actor/director Ben Affleck once told the host that his views about Islam are "racist."
 
Jay Leno said that foreigners he has met appear to like Americans, but hate America. Moreover, Leno said mockingly to the laughter of the audience, "They think we're like Donald Trump: loud, brash, making demands, we're going to do this, we're going to kick ass."
 
Steele, in response to comments Maher made about Republican calls to "rebuild the military," said that the recent Republican debate exposed a fissure between "neo-cons who want to expand military spending and engage militarily, and the pure rational economic thought 'Where do you get the money from?'"
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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