Richard Belzer as Det. John Munch

According to actor and comedian Richard Belzer, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are too uneducated to be expressing support for the U.S. military mission since they’re just “19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn’t get a job” and “they don’t read twenty newspapers a day.”

Belzer, who’s best known as Detective John Munch on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit,” is a frequent guest on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” On one previous appearance, he threatened to walk off the set when told columnist Ann Coulter was also appearing, calling her a “fascist party doll.”

On Friday night’s live broadcast, Belzer attacked claims by fellow guest Florida Congresswoman Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen’s that U.S. soldiers continue to express support for the war.

In the lively exchange, captured by the website NewsBusters, Belzer dismisses Ros-Lehtinen accounts of meeting with troops in Iraq and their credibility as “bull—-.”

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: “Having been in Iraq a few times, and Afghanistan, having met the troops one-on-one with free reign and asking them what they’re doing, they’re saying ‘We’re proud of our mission, we know what we’re doing over here. We don’t want you guys in Washington to lose it over there’. And there is a great sense of determination that what they are doing is making a difference. And yes, it has been an important mission what we’re doing … come on.”

Richard Belzer: “Yeah, come on. Our soldiers now are at …”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Are a volunteer force, a volunteer force.”

Belzer: “Okay, fine. No one questions the nobility and the honor that these men and woman who are serving and what they’re doing. No one questions that. But now they’re targets, they’re not going out. Now they’re just protecting each other and they’re in the middle of a civil war. So it’s really not fair to have these people who volunteered their lives to protect our nation under false pretenses to now be a target …”

[Loud applause for Belzer]

Ros-Lehtinen: “Ask them. Ask them if it’s fair! Wait a minute, wait a minute. My stepson, wait a minute, my stepson …”

Belzer: “That’s bull—-: Ask them! They’re not .. they don’t read twenty newspapers a day. They’re under the threat of death every minute. They’re not the best people to ask about the war because they’re going to die any second.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Wait a minute! You are talking about my stepson, my stepson who just finished last week eight months of duty …”

Belzer: “God bless your stepson. Doesn’t mean he’s a brilliant scholar about the war because he’s there. And God bless him.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Oh, you are though! You are though? Okay.”

Belzer: “Well I have more time, I’m not there. My life is not under threat.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Thank you. Thank you. I’m glad.”

Bill Maher: “I think the point he’s trying to make is that a 19-year-old who is in that army because he probably couldn’t find other employment …”

Ros-Lehtinen: “He’s a college graduate. He’s a Marine officer. He volunteered for the Marines.”

Belzer: “He’s the exception for the rule.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “He’s not the exception for the rule. I’ve been there …”

Belzer: “You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They’re 19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn’t get a job …”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Yeah, you know because you’ve been there and …”

Belzer: “What, I don’t f—ing read!? Don’t do that!”

Maher [to Belzer]: “Woe, woe, woe. Come on. Wait, wait, wait. That … Don’t.”

Belzer: “Pardon my French.”

Maher: “Yes … that was over the line and now you’re going to lose …”

Belzer: “It’s this patronizing thing that people have about if you’re against the war everyone’s lumped together. You know, the soldiers are not scholars, they’re not war experts …”

Maher: “You’re going to lose even me like Michael Moore did when he came down on Charlton Heston in Columbine.”

Belzer, a conspiracy theorist who once hosted several conspiracy-themed specials for the Sci-Fi Channel, is the author of the 1999 book, “UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe.”


To view the exchange between Richard Belzer and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, click here [Note: Contains vulgar language].


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