“Wag the Dog,” Revisited

Twenty years ago, Hollywood produced a black comedy, “Wag the Dog,” that involved a sex scandal in the White House less than two weeks before the election.  A spin doctor is brought in to distract the public from the scandal by constructing a diversionary war with Albania.  When the CIA learns of the plot, it sends an agent to confront the spin doctor, who convinces the agency that revealing the deception would be against the best interests of the United States.

One month after the movie was released, a sex scandal actually confronted the Clinton administration, the infamous Monica Lewinsky affair.  What followed was an exercise in the comparison of film and reality as the United States conducted a series of pin-prick strikes against ramshackle al Qaeda training facilities in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that had nothing to do with the production of lethal chemicals.  This is where reality got more interesting than anything in the film.

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