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Lay off Bill Maher.

The host of ABC’s “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” is under undue attack from advertisers Sears, Roebuck and Co. and FedEx over comments he made on the late-night show Monday Night.

Angry viewers, too caught up in the emotions of last week’s horrible terrorist attacks, misconstrued Bill’s clear comments, contacted these advertisers and successfully nagged them into pulling their ads.

It’s very silly, really. But it’s playing into the terrorists’ hands.

What were Bill’s “offensive” comments? Bill said that our military campaigns and tactics are cowardly. “We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly.”

What’s so offensive about that? It’s the truth. Not about our brave servicemen, but about our wimpy politicos. It’s partly our lack of guts that got us into this mess in the first place – our lack of guts to pose the serious counter-terrorism fight we should’ve installed years ago; our lack of guts to stand up for other countries, like Israel, and allow them to fight terrorism; and our lack of guts to go after the many countries that harbor terrorists.

Having been a guest on “Politically Incorrect” many times, there are few things that Bill and I agree on. I’m a conservative and he’s a liberal who claims to be a libertarian. And there are many offensive things Bill has said that I shudder to hear anyone utter – about religion, mainstream America and the values I share with many Americans.

But this is not one of them, and the reaction against Bill and his show is completely ridiculous.

Bill never insulted the brave men who serve in the military, and likely never would. He’s apologized for it anyway, though.

And anyone who’s watched “Politically Incorrect” on a regular basis knows that Bill is a big fan of the military. He almost always praises them and believes the military and defense is the primary purpose of government.

Unlike politicians – and those are the cowards to whom Bill was rightly referring – Bill didn’t wait until there was a terrorist attack on this country, last week, to verbally attack terrorists and our weak policy toward them on his show. Over a year and a half ago, Bill attacked terrorist groups in the Middle East and supported Israel’s right to fight them.

On the other hand, our wimpy State Department, then under Madeleine Albright, and now under Colin Powell, sang a constant chorus imploring tiny Israel to practice “restraint” while its citizens were being blown to bits – as if we’d do the same if Sbarro Pizzeria in Manhattan blew up vs. Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem. We were cowards, thousands of miles away, for tolerating – even dealing with – the patron of those attacks, Yasser Arafat, and daring to call him a “peacemaker.” And we asked Israel to be cowardly with us. The same goes for the war in the Balkans, in which we relied on technology, lobbing missiles from thousands of miles away, in a civil conflict in which we had no business being.

And Bill is right – we are being cowardly, once again. Not our men in uniform, but like Bill clearly meant – our suited politicians and bureaucrats who set the agenda and give our military its marching orders. The new-found “Coalition Against Terrorism” is the ultimate act of cowardice. The attack was on us, not on any other country, and we need lean on no coalition to defend ourselves and launch a counter-attack.

But, in the ultimate cowardice, we are relying on this alliance of the very hosts of those who attacked us last week, those who attacked us before, and those who will attack us in the future. Keeping Israel out of the Coalition Against Terrorism, but inviting Syria, Sudan, Lebanon, and Arafat as members, is so pathetic, it’s a joke. It would properly be dubbed the Coalition in Favor of Terrorism. The only one missing is bin Laden, himself.

Syria is the generous, cooperative host to at least five terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad, whose participants were big players in last week’s attacks. No difference in Lebanon, the terrorist satellite state of Syria, whose deputy prime minister gave Colin Powell $200,000 for a speech in Boston, last December. Arab Muslim Sudan was the eager host to bin Laden for years, was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and it tortures, rapes and murders innocent black Christians by the millions. And Arafat has the blood of many Americans on his hands. He’s had a hand in terrorism against Americans for years, and has been linked to the 1993 WTC bombing, under his pseudonym, “Abu Amar.” Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Associated Press that the intelligence briefing Congress received the day after the attack indicates that Arafat’s Fatah, which trains in Sudan, was involved with last week’s attacks.

A coalition against terrorism with any of these parties – let alone all of them – that’s the cowardice Bill Maher was talking about. And for that, he should never apologize.

For all Bill Maher’s offensive remarks, “Politically Incorrect” is one of the few political shows not on FOX News Channel that gives conservatives and those of any political persuasion – David Duke and communists have been on the show – a platform. Peter Jennings and Bryant Gumbel never do that, and neither does anyone on CNN, which picks moderates and pawns them off as conservatives. On “Politically Incorrect,” you see the real thing. And PI spent this week with an empty chair in memory of Barbara Olson, the brilliant conservative commentator who died on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. Don’t expect to see that respectful memorial on any other mainstream political show.

But silencing Bill Maher’s irreverence and offensiveness is the type of goal the terrorists wanted to achieve. Their countries, their fundamentalist Islam and their radicalism don’t allow free speech like you see on “Politically Incorrect.” There is no “Politically Incorrect with Bashir Muhammad.”

Don’t let the terrorists win. Or the cowards. Bill Maher was right.

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