McCain’s 100 Years War
Matt Lewis asks, “What do Bogart, Kirk, and McCain Have in Common?”
Humphrey Bogart never said, “Play it again, Sam,” Captain Kirk never uttered, “Beam me up, Scotty” — and John McCain never promised a hundred year war!
… The danger, of course, is that everybody thinks Bogie and Kirk said those now famous lines. And if we’re not careful, the public may also mistakenly believe McCain said he wanted a hundred year war. As Churchill may, or may not have said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
What McCain actually said, as Charles Krauthammer points out, is that he would have no problem with a long term American military presence akin to what we’ve had in Europe since WWII and Korea since the cease-fire there: “We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”
Spinning it into “one hundred years of war,” as both Clinton and Obama have done, is smart politics and within the bounds of how the game is played; mild distortions of opponents’ positions, votes, and so forth are considered “just politics.” The problem is when the press corps treats these things as fact and they settle into the public consciousness as true.