This is not to say that Maher has not said some questionable things in the past. When he said that the people who hijacked the planes on 9-11 were not cowards and it is inaccurate to call them so, he was factually correct, but his statement was unnecessary and meant to shock in order to get ratings. Do you disagree? What could be more courageous than undertaking some endeavor where you die if you succeed and spend the rest of your life in jail or worse if you fail? Isn’t the very definition of courage to be unyielding in your ambition regardless of the likelihood of a successful outcome? As a result, very often the more courageous an action is, the more foolish it is because it is done despite reason and odds. It takes no courage to be lazy or refuse to alter a routine. To kill someone because you didn't feel like getting up to change the channel - that isn't courageous. It took great courage to hijack the planes, as it does to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, or join the Army, especially during a time of senseless war. But beyond requiring courage, all these actions I mentioned before also require something else entirely: idiocy. Just because a person or action can each have some noble qualities, doesn’t mean that either are noble. Conversely, just because a person or action is horrible, doesn’t mean that they don’t possess some admirable qualities.
Hitler may have been a loyal friend and Martin Luther King jr. may have cheated on his wife. I don’t know the factual veracity of either, but I do know that if we imagine for a moment that both are true, it doesn’t alter the fact that Hitler was a monster and MLK jr. was one of the greatest men this country has seen. There is good and bad, but not good and evil, because the first set of terms are relative, whereas the latter are moral absolutes, and to paraphrase Obi-Wan, absolutes are (mostly) for Sith Lords. Bravery and idiocy are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, as noted earlier, very often where you see one, the other is hiding close by.
Back to the point, while the hijackers may not have been cowards, pointing out such a thing just for a semantic victory at a time when the entire country is recoiling in horror may not have been the smartest or most sensitive thing to say, but that doesn’t make him a traitor. It makes him an unafraid pundit with all the tact of a fart in an elevator. The real treason is that the Bush administration won’t allow journalists to publish photos of caskets coming home from Iraq, for fear of further undermining support for a war no one wants. Seeing those photos might even scare the barely-functional retards from enlisting.
People raised a similar outrage when Ted Rall penned a comic about the imbecile Pat Tillman, and his decision to forego millions in the NFL to join the Army. http://www.ucomics.com/rallcom/2004/0
I think Ted Rall is a hero for having the guts to say what many thought, but few were willing to actually say. The media attention that Tillman was given for renouncing millions to go and kill people made him seem like some kind of Siddhartha Gautama figure. But here's a news flash: the Buddha didn’t renounce his wealth and throne to become a murderer. Pat Tillman was an idiot and he died an idiot’s death. The traitors are the people in this country who try to spin his idiocy into some kind of heroism and cause more fools to enlist and die.
Before I quit, I should make one more point. Although I absolutely condemn Pat Tillman and his decision to join the Army, I think I do understand the sentiment, if not necessarily all the nuances (who can truly know the inner workings of another’s mind?). Someone very dear to me used to cash paychecks very close to the South Tower, and if this person had died in the attacks, my grief and rage would have been uncontrollable. Blinded by emotion, it’s not inconceivable that I, myself would have joined the Army for a chance to inflict the type of pain and suffering that I doubtlessly would have been going through. Realizing this, I know that this is the worst type of selfish foolishness, but that is how Darth Vaders are made. The actions that my rage might have caused would have been a legacy that this person I care for so greatly would only be disgusted with. Within each of us, every day there are decisions where on some small level we have a chance to act similar to Hitler or to Martin Luther King. The MLK jr. in you lets the woman with a small handbasket cut in front when you’ve got a full cart; the Hitler cuts in line in traffic to save half a minute on a commute. This hypothetical decision to join the Army would be pure Hitler, as was Pat Tillman’s. Pat wasn’t evil, he was just wrong, and paid the ultimate price for it.