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Kevin McCarthy, Historian

Now that we've dumped on Tommy Tuberville a bit, let's move on to his fellow scholar, Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Recently, McCarthy gave a speech to... the Oxford Union. We don't know much about that organization, but he was wearing a tuxedo (with a poorly tied bowtie), so it must have been pretty chichi. Anyhow, McCarthy decided that as part of his remarks, he'd include a little history lesson:

Think for one moment. In every single war that America has fought, we have never asked for land afterward—except for enough to bury the Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

Since the video of the speech is incomplete, it's also not clear what modern-day political point he was trying to make. Was this something about the evils of Russia? Probably. Maybe it had something to do with Hamas, though we're not sure how that would work.

In any event, the "history" here is so bad that tearing it apart is like shooting fish in a barrel. Here is a list of occasions when the U.S. did indeed demand, and receive, territory after a war:

So, instead of "America has never asked for land after any war," it would actually be more accurate to say that there are more wars where America has asked for (and received) land than there are wars where it hasn't.

We find it very hard to believe that McCarthy is unaware of any of this, particularly the story of how California became a part of the United States. That leaves us with only two possibilities that we can think of: (1) He was lying through his teeth and he knew it, or (2) He, along with so many other Republicans, is so used to just rewriting the past to suit present-day political needs that it's done without any thought whatsoever. In any event, it's a reminder that when a politician, particularly a Republican politician, starts pontificating on the past, it is well to remember the old Russian proverb: "Trust, but verify." Except you can skip the trust part, and go right to verify. (Z)

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