"George W. Bush is a war criminal. He sent all of these people to die": Bill Maher panel explodes in debate over Iraq, veterans

Bill Maher, Ana Navarro and Margaret Cho get heated as Jeb plans to bring W back to the trail in South Carolina

Published February 13, 2016 1:27PM (EST)

Among Bill Maher's guests on last night's "Real Time" was CNN political correspondent Ana Navarro, a vocal Jeb! supporter.

Maher mentioned that Jeb! brought out his brother, former president George W. Bush, to stump for him in South Carolina, a veteran-heavy state where, according to Navarro, W. has a 90% approval rating among Republicans.

"We all agree that the war in Iraq was a huge mistake," Maher countered. "Shouldn't George W. Bush be the least popular guy among the military?"

"It's like battered wife syndrome," Maher added. "Why do you like a guy who sent you to lose lives and limbs, and be away from your family to a war we now agree was not necessary."

"I think there are few former presidents who have done as much for veterans, for wounded warriors as George W. Bush," Navarro tried to argue.

"They wouldn't be wounded," Maher quickly rebutted.

"You know why the military respects him," Navarro tried again. "Because they recognize he has leadership abilities." That suggestion, however, didn't sit well with the audience, which reacted with an uneven mix of stunned silence and boos.

Navarro requested that the term "war criminal" not be thrown around so loosely, adding, "I know you're a comedian and everything, but war criminals are Nazis."

Maher "in a respectful way" told Navarro that comedians hate when someone uses their job title as a way to undermine a legitimate argument they've just made.

"I want to tell you--as someone who actually lived through a civil war in Nicaragua and fled war in Nicarague, fled Communism," responded Navarro, "when you throw around a term like 'war criminal,' it is personal to me."

Watch the tense interaction in full below:

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Bill Maher George W. Bush Iraq Jeb Real Time With Bill Maher Video Wounded Warriors