'The West Wing's' Bradley Whitford: Bush Has “Desecrated” the American Flag

A Hollywood star from Wisconsin is apparently less embarrassed by Canada than by the United States. On Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, actor Bradley Whitford, who plays “Josh Lyman” on NBC's The West Wing, related how he “just had a friend who went to Europe and I gave her a Canadian flag to put on her bag.” Whitford declared that the U.S. policy in Iraq “has desecrated” the American flag since we are “treating the rest of the world with contempt, dropping bombs on people who don't need bombs dropped on them” and “killing civilians...based on an assumption that an Iraqi life is worth less than ours. It's obscene." Earlier, Whitford contended: "There's no military, conventional military solution to terrorism. If there were, Israel would be the safest country in the world.” (But if Israel didn't use their military, would Israel still exist?) Turning his anger on the Bush administration, the actor who on The West Wing plays the Chief-of-Staff to “Democratic President-elect Matt Santos,” charged: “I think the whole approach by these bungling, violent, violence-addicted people in this administration, it's like the Polish joke: You lose your ring in the dark and so you look for it where there's light, where you know how to do it."

Video clip of Whitford on how Bush's “obscene” war has “desecrated” the U.S. flag (40 seconds): Real (1.2 MB) or Windows Media (1.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (200 KB).

On the hour-long Friday night at 11pm EDT show, Whitford appeared on Maher's panel with Kim Campbell, the former Prime Minister of Canada, and Jim Gilmore, the former Governor of Virginia.

Whitford was born and raised in Wisconsin. The Internet Movie Database's page with a bio and career highlights for him.

A few of Whitford's outbursts on the May 5 HBO program produced before an audience in Los Angeles:

-- No military solution to terrorism and the Bush team is “addicted” to violence:
“There's no military, conventional military solution to terrorism. If there were, Israel would be the safest country in the world. It's not (applause). It's not immune to terrorism and it feels -- I think the whole approach by these bungling, violent, violence-addicted people in this administration, it's like the Polish joke: You lose your ring in the dark and so you look for it where there's light, where you know how to do it.”

-- To audience applause, Whitford denounced President Bush for linking Iraq with al-Qaeda and 9/11:
“He knew that they had nothing to do with it. And that's obscene.”

-- Whitford, after Bill Maher asserted that the only World Soccer Cup team without its flag on the side of its bus is the U.S. one, and then former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell quipped they should follow what American tourists do in Europe and put a Canadian flag on the bus (video is of these remarks):
“The reason you can't put a flag -- and I just had a friend who went to Europe and I gave her a Canadian flag to put on her bag -- and I explained that to my children. The flag-”

Kim Campbell: “Did you sing the anthem in both languages?”

Whitford, singing a couple of syllables: “Oh, Can -- But this, our policy has desecrated this flag. Treating the rest of the world with contempt, dropping bombs on people who don't need bombs dropped on them, killing civilians who have nothing to do -- in a policy based on an assumption that an Iraqi life is worth less than ours. It's obscene.” (applause)
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center