Wagging the Dog in Korea?


Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0

“President’s Trump Card May Be N. Korea If Flynn Is Threat to Him” ran the headline in the Saturday New York Daily News.  The Daily News does not use the phrase “Wag the Dog,” but the association is obvious.  Wag the Dog was a 1997 film, based on a novel, in which an American President engineers a war in order to distract the public’s attention from a sex scandal (molesting an underage “Firefly Girl.”  Roy Moore, take note.)

The war in Wag the Dog was faked, conjured up by a Hollywood film director (Dustin Hoffman) acting at the behest of a Washington spin doctor played by Robert De Niro.  (You want me to fake a war, the director asks?  No, no, De Niro assures him.  Not a war: a “pageant.”)

If it is true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the producers of Wag the Dog must have been tickled pink when their script came true—with one major difference.  This time the war was real.

Wag the Dog was released in December 1997.  In January 1998, President Bill Clinton’s Oval Office shenanigans with White House intern Monica Lewinsky were revealed.  A grand jury was impaneled to investigate whether the President had lied under oath about the affair.  On August 20, 1998, the second day of Lewinsky’s testimony, Clinton launched cruise missiles at suspected Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and a factory in Sudan.  Clinton claimed that the factory was producing nerve gas for Al-Qaeda.  What…

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