George W. Bush Declares Mission Accomplished

George W. Bush Declares Mission Accomplished

From aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, standing directly under a "Mission Accomplished" banner, President George W. Bush declares, "In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Bush's claim of victory in what became known as the "Mission Accomplished" speech drew criticism as the war in Iraq continued for several years thereafter.


Bush: 'Mission accomplished' a mistake

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A reflective U.S. President George W. Bush has said he regrets some of his more blunt statements on his so-called war on terrorism over the last eight years and wishes he had not spoken in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner only a month after U.S. troops in Iraq were deployed.

George W. Bush says his wife told him that as president, he should watch his words carefully.

"I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said," Bush told CNN's Heidi Collins when asked to reflect on his regrets over his two terms as president. "Like 'dead or alive' and 'bring 'em on.' My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States, be careful what you say."

The interview, aboard the USS Intrepid in New York, came after the president addressed a Veterans Day ceremony.

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, the president said of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden: "I want justice. There's an old poster out West that said, 'Wanted, dead or alive.' " Watch President Bush talk about his regrets »

Bush was also criticized in 2003 for his answer addressing insurgents in Iraq.

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on," he said then.

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On Tuesday, the president also referenced the moment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, during which he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

"They had a sign that said 'Mission Accomplished.' It was a sign aimed at the sailors on the ship, but it conveyed a broader knowledge. To some it said, well, Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over, when I didn't think that. But nonetheless, it conveyed the wrong message."

The president, whose legacy is sure to be hotly debated for decades, said there also is much he is proud of.

"I am proud to be the commander in chief of people who are so selfless and so courageous that they would volunteer to serve our country in a time of war," he said. "I'm proud when I see people feed the hungry. I'm proud when I'm in Africa and see volunteers helping those citizens dying of HIV/AIDS."


Happy “Mission Accomplished” Anniversary

Today (May 1) is the fourth anniversary of one of the most dishonest propaganda speeches in modern American history.

President Bush did his flight suit strut on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.”

Bush proclaimed, “With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians.” Tell that to Haditha – tell that to all the Iraqi families who have had kinfolk killed at US checkpoints – tell that to the people of Fallujah.

Bush assured Americans and the world: “We’ve begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.” With each passing month, we are learning more about how the administration was warned before attacking Iraq that Saddam had long since abandoned the production of chemical and biological weapons. But Bush could still successfully use that hobgoblin in the weeks after Baghdad was battered into submission.

Bush declared, “The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist funding.” This is ironic in hindsight, since the Bush administration is now using Al Qaeda’s presence in the postwar rubble to justify perpetuating American military occupation.

Bush closed his speech with the following Biblical contortion: “All of you, all in this generation of our military, have taken up the highest calling of history: You were defending your country and protecting the innocent from harm.

And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope, a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “To the captives, come out and to those in darkness, be free.”

I guess the Abu Ghraib exemption to captives coming out did not make the final cut of Bush’s speech.

As things deteriorated in Iraq in the summer and early Fall of 2003, the Bush team sought to rewrite the history of that speech. At an October 28, 2003, press conference, Bush was asked about the giant banner hung on the aircraft carrier, Bush replied: “The ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff—they weren’t that ingenious, by the way.”

The design of the banner had the same design, typeface, and background as a large “Jobs and Growth” banner hung at a Bush speaking event in Ohio a week earlier. A few days after Bush’s Abraham Lincoln speech, the Washington Post noted that Bush’s “aides say the slogan was chosen in part to mark a presidential turn toward domestic affairs as his campaign for reelection approaches.” After Bush’s October 28 comment on the banner, White House spokesman Dan Bartlett asserted that the slogan was thought up by sailors who then asked the White House to create the banner. The White House
arranged for the banner to be created and delivered to the aircraft carrier. But Bush was correct that the banner was not hung up on the carrier by his press secretary, Ari Fleischer.

A few weeks after the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln speech, I wrote in the “Iraq & the War on Terrorism” chapter of Terrorism & Tyranny (which hit the streets in late August 2003): “The fact that Bush went to war against Iraq based on a deceptive strategy is core to knowing what to expect from the remainder of the Bush presidency. There is no reason to presume that Bush was more deceptive and manipulative about the war on Iraq than he is about the war on terrorism or other subjects. The main difference is that the evidence of false claims on Iraq became much clearer, especially after the U.S. invasion. As long as terrorist groups do not succeed in launching high-profile attacks on America or Americans, Bush can represent the war on terrorism however he pleases.”

Nothing has happened since May 1, 2003 to make George Bush a smidgin more honest.

The only difference is that the carnage in Iraq is so obvious that even many of his loyal supporters are no longer willing to believe and cheer Bush’s lies.

33 Responses to Happy “Mission Accomplished” Anniversary

Yeah, that spectacle was damn near as good as his prescient remark about the rising level of Insurgency in Iraq…”Bring ’em on.” To my mind that’s been his only success.

Actually, Bush has also succeeded in driving me to drink on a number of occasions.

Me too Jim, in fact right now’s one of ’em talk to ye tomorrow…

That was a self-serving photo op to end all self-serving photo ops, wasn’t it?

There was our boy Bush making his deck landing, and swaggering around in his best faux “Top Gun” style afterwards. What a man!

Four years ago, we won the war. Too bad the Iraqis–the people whose country we invaded–didn’t get the word.

It’s in the news that H.R.H. Prince Harry is heading to Iraq to serve as a tank officer. Quite a contrast with what we have here.

In March, Kitty Kelley wrote the op-ed piece “Why aren’t the Bush daughters in Iraq?” for the Los Angeles Times. Kelley says that neither Bush’s daughters nor his nieces and nephews are in the military, much less in Iraq.

She mentions that in WW2, FDR’s sons were in the military, as were many celebrities. There was also a young naval aviator by the name of George H. W. Bush, who flew an Avenger torpedo bomber in the Pacific.

Bush has called his Iraq war a noble cause. Too bad that neither his own family members nor the sons and daughters of the chickenhawks, are over there sharing the burden.

Our troops are getting maimed and killed when their supply convoy are attacked while delivering supplies to small contingents of troops from other countries. With some, their only mission is to stay out of harms way. In order for Bush to carry out this illusion of a “coalition” our troops are dying-this is an impeachable offense.

Great article Jim – I suspect that the news media and political pundits will spend far more time scrutinizing the intimate details of Pamela Martin and Associates scandal and “list” than they devoted to evaluating the phony evidence and justifications for invading Iraq.

Thanks, Marc. Yes, I think the media will obsess with Hookergate for quite awhile.

I wonder if the escort business expanded after MonicaGate – when DC bigwigs became more nervous about relying on interns.

Edgar Montrose – I expect the list of potentially impeachable offenses will grow as the subpoenas expose more and more abuses…

To add insult to injury–Bush yesterday declared that May 1st will now officially be “Loyalty Day”.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/04/20070430-3.html

I could find no other fashion of correspondence, but I felt compelled to ask for some assistance, if at all possible. I’m not quite 25 years old, I hold a degree in Ethics and Social philosophy, and am considering a law degree. I finished to “Bush Betrayal” in less than a week and was overcome with disgust with each page turned. What, if anything, can be done to remedy the sad state of affairs we call the U.S.A.? What can I do to make a difference? What can I do to help pull my generation out of their gullibility and complacency? I’m not sure what to do with my life, but I certainly feel a calling to make a difference. I go over Thomas Jefferson’s writings constantly in order to understand what he hoped for the Constitution, and I know for a fact that Bush’s tactics are so wayward that he’s on a mission to destroy the American people and our rights. Never have I been more appalled with an administrator of justice and governing body and with the Bush administration. Please help me focus, if you’re willing. In the mean time I hope you continue to enlighten the rest of us.

What can be done about the sad state of affairs? The Tree of Liberty’s lookin’ incredibly parched and in need of watering these days. Aw bugger – there goes any chance I might have had of getting off the no fly list.

It has always been a conjecture of mine that with better, more efficient modes of communication, official narratives will have smaller and smaller half lives because they will meet more quickly
with the facts on the ground. Pretty simplistic thinking. More rapidly known facts will preclude any spin from the powers that be.

Thus, no more cozy little narratives about the great white man from the North going South to save enslaved blacks, nor will we get a
heavy dose of WWII spin about saving European civilizations and ethnic groups from a German madman, nor fantasies about the resolute
Japanese only understanding surrender in terms of nuclear physics! As the facts become known – now almost instantaneously – the official narrative withers on the vine.

Such is the way my simple mind works…!

But I think, as usual, Dubya, his handlers, and the powers that be in Washington have done an end run around my linear way of thinking, and they’ve done it in a sort of post-narrative, post-technological way.

It used to be that the story was formed ex post facto. Roosevelt the great hero of WWII, savior of the Jews. Never mind him never mentioning the Third Reich’s racial dimension or his turning away ship loads of Jewish immigrants, etc. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in the third
year of The War as opposed to his ubiquitous remarks about leaving the South and her institutions alone in the Douglas-Lincoln Debates, etc.

It now seems that the narrative is formed before the event and the facts on the ground are spun, coerced, or just plain blown up to back up the story. The Jessica Lynch/Tillman stories seem pretty good examples of this…

But back to Dubya…he don’s his cod piece suit (which he probably lost somewhere in Montgomery, Alabama between a tavern and a local good-ol’ gal’s bed during his vacation here in the Alabama Air National Guard) and declares that we have slowed down Al Qaida by defeating Saddam’s
Iraq. (Of course, we all know how cozy bin Laden and Saddam were anti bellum, etc.) But here’s the point, and it really shows just how effective the new style of narrative can be: Al Qaida was said
to be in Iraq, and lo and behold, now it is in Iraq (or at least some
subset or allied group). Despite months prior to the ‘war’, where every thinking man worth his salt was pointing out the lack of connection between Al Qaida and Saddam, – to the uncritical American
audience – Bush was and has been proven right about fighting Al Qaida in Iraq. The big problem now amongst average US news consumers is
the effectiveness of our bellicosity. 70% of Americans are just frustrated about our lack of progress and the apparent futility of taking
on Al Qaida. If we were ‘winning’ – i.e., successfully building client-states – his approval numbers would be through the roof like
they were after his ‘Ground Zero’ harangue.

Talk about a self-justifying narrative! But is this purposeful? Can we assume that Dubya in his vast reading has cottoned onto some sort
of a teleological method of war and foreign policy? Place the story, fulfill the story, but, for God’s sake, don’t let the telling of the story get ahead of the “facts”.

Are the pundits/party affiliates in Washington upset over “failure” in Iraq or failure of the official minstrels?

Or is all this mental stabbing in the dark just that? Perhaps I would be better served to just assume that through the mists of history and the chasms of cultural divides, two simple but thoroughly madmen and their fundamentalist courtiers have found each other. Ossama and Dubya!

Wes,
I shared many of the same hopes – that as the (transaction etc.) cost of getting good info plunged, people would become less gullible.

As usual, my youthful idealism led me astray.

I don’t know if GWBush has figured out how to work this – or if the citizenry and the media have become so gullible that almost any hogslop would satisfy them (until after the damage is done).

I don’t know how upset most of the pundits actually are. I have not heard that there speaking fees have fallen, so I think they are probably more content than they admit.

W., el Jefe de la Lexidisaster II was at it again the other day in front of some fawning contractors who thanked him for “protecting us”. I believe it was actually the anniversary of his Top Gun prance. He utilized the old al Qaeda and Iraq canard repeatedly and all concerned swallowed it whole by most accounts.

Given the fact that this generation of Americans is afforded the highest average educational attainment in history while being provided with all manner of news from around the globe , and still they are xenophobic, prideful, culturally illiterate and woefully incurious as a result of being addicted to Entertainment Consumerism…given all this, it is safe to assume that this generation of Americans is also the absolute dumbest, in real terms…. of all humans in all history. Well, ok, maybe not compared to the 80’s when big hair, white bell bottoms and disco were popular. Then again, that other trusty Fox TV venue for our Imperial Malconjugator, American Idol may be dumber than Disco….I think it is.

The reputed culture of the USA, the one everyone seems to pay attention to anyway, therefore lending it it’s undeserved legitimacy…the “Popular Culture” is the primary vehicle for the pre-packaged, short shelf-life, easily expendable and planned obsolesence culture that demands an army of service factotums which produces little of tangible worth but are good at yearning for something to buy with reliability. This is by no means a diatribe against capitalistic mercantilism, it is a diatribe against a self-defeating perversion of it.

We have forsaken individualism and self-reliance for a manufactured group ethos that demands faelty to the vaunted “popular”. Joinerism has gone to seed. Even arena religion now promotes a kind of “get sumpthin fer nuthin” approach for it’s followers who are exhorted to donate and pray and then they too can get rich and have large cup sizes, straight teeth and live comfortably. Political Correctness and the rabid Fatwa against the artless lapse of Mr. Imus is another manifestation of it. Mountebanks and opportunist operators are rewarded in this atmosphere.

It is all a mirage…a manufactured reality that is funneling our treasure to a centralizing and consolidating wealth class that no longer believes in the more arcane aspects of “good breeding” or noblesse oblige. It is a zero sum game. It’s political embodiment is “Big Government Conservativism”. It’s reality is just another Bloated Empire

Simply put, it is the old dog decadence, returning to dig holes in the yard of the Republic. God or fate, it matters not but this depauperate age of America has been granted a symbolic gesture worthy of the Old Gods. Our government, particularly the Executive embodies all the worst aspects of this poorly bred wealth class wed to the kind of stubborn jingoism of the anti-intellectual peasants. It is a perfect storm of decadence and we are in it and let nobody miss the signs that it will end badly. I don’t say this with glee as the dismissive “patriots” might suggest, I say this with an awareness of history and with the “on the job training” against self-delusion of someone who once loved Laphroaig Scotch more than even baseball, buxom woman or a 1960 LeSabre Convertible. Druidic at heart, the smell of smoky peat makes me swoon. I digress, ….what a surprise.

This era exhibits all the pathologies of the addict. Self-destruction, compulsion, co-dependency, delusion…it’s all there. A victim in every pot. In addition to decadence, we have the trusty friend of decadence Ressentiment at work, digging holes in the fabric of our lives. There is a widespread suspicion that things are a tad rotten and without causing a mass reform, the powers that be foster and fertilize a creeping resentment against all manner of things… xenophobia is but one of them, anti-intellectualism another and the cynicism grows …and is used masterfully by Rove, among others to marshall the troops. Ressentiment is reputed to take quite a long time to work it’s dark magic and so I am not confident that our current roll in the gutter will come to a climax soon.

Irony……the old She-God , haughty, unforgiving, she cackles away and we are afforded many bon mots from her and this generation’s idiot President is just one of them. If you want another, try this on for size: America, the technological wonder is transporting her Space Shuttle rockets from Thiokol Corporation in the Great Basin of Utah for use in the next Space Shuttle launch from Cape Kennedy. Because they are large, the trains are used. Unfortunately, because we have idiotically let our rail system rot because we love our formerly cheaply-fueled cars so, the train has derailed twice enroute. As reported in the N.Y. Times today, quite a wreck was the most recent one. We can keep the swan song of our Space technological juggernaut going but we just can’t seem to get the rockets there in one piece.

At some point, just as it did in Rome, in Holland, in Spain and Britain, the bill will come due and a culture habituated to painlessness, easy gains, comfort and incuriosity will not likely fare well. The sad thing here is that there is a formidable “other” culture in America that is intermarried with the depauperate one. It is a culture that is both suckered by and privy to the charade of this President. This is the culture of the individual American and it is one of beauty, love, skill, intelligence (native AND scholastic),authentic compassion, a kind of laissez-fairre live and let live ethos and a rudimentary understanding of what this nation once meant to a world that was weary of empire. This culture produces dignity, bravery, things of artful craft, music, scientific wonder,literature, painting,generosity, compassion, the old American soft-spot for the underdog…etc etc.. This is the culture that we must all work hard to bring forth once again. I don’t know how it will be done but can imagine that hardship may be what finally does it. Mr. Bush, apotheosis of the current dysfunction may be the final conductor of our declasse symphony of dissolution.

They say “Time is Money” and with this Generation’s debt-fueled Fiat Money foray into idiocy, our time must now be as worthless as the money we covet.

America is our popular culture but it is also something far more sophisticated, valuable and productive than the popular culture our current leadership manipulates to a fair-thee-well. We are finding it here in the internet because this internet is still authentic, un-packaged and anarchic. We must find a way to take it to a larger world. This Revolution is not one of throwing out the old order and tearing down, it is one of rebuilding an order we once had and can again possess.

So Mr. Bovard , I am actually capable of being a melancholy old idealist when the spirit moves. Your writing, patience and willing hosting of this slightly-off carnival of maniacs is much appreciated.
Respectfully, Mullah Dick

Lawhobbit, the Tree of Liberty IS looking plenty parched, and it’s definitely in need of a watering. What kind of watering do you have in mind, though? Didn’t a guy named Jefferson say that the Tree of Liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of tyrants, or something like that?

If Bush’s daughters or relatives joined the military, you can be sure that they would be assigned to some deskbound duty stateside.

During the Civil War, Lincoln’s son Robert spent the whole war at Harvard. Finally, in early 1865, and after adverse comment, Lincoln arranged for his precious boy to join Grant’s staff as an aide-de-camp. Tough duty.

“So Mr. Bovard , I am actually capable of being a melancholy old idealist when the spirit moves. Your writing, patience and willing hosting of this slightly-off carnival of maniacs is much appreciated.”

I’ll second that and offer a little early toast of whisky to you, Mullah! I don’t think I can do Laphroaig – too peaty and medicinal tasting for my liking. But I will pass along a little Oban. Not because of it’s greatness but because my paternal clan – the Stevensons – founded it – and then like all middling businessmen in my family, pissed it away!!

I’m shocked to hear this blog described as a “carnival.”

I thought all along that it was actually more of a circus.

M Whitman – thanks for your comments – sorry I didn’t reply sooner.

I don’t have any silver bullet recommendations on what people can do to make a difference. Certainly, getting more informed – spreading the word – and having the courage to stand up for your rights and liberties are vital first steps.

Unfortunately, every generation of Americans seems gullible and complacent these days. I had thought that Bush would have “crossed the line” at several points and would spark a strong backlash. But the recoil has been quite anemic thus far.

There is a tattered New York Times headline from the early 1990s I have taped to my office wall. It says, “For Chechens in the Mountains, Fighting is Winning.”

For the near-term, simply fighting for one’s liberties is a type of victory in itself.

Hopefully we will get the political rascals on the run sooner rather than later.

There are a few principled politicians out there worth supporting. I am encouraged that Ron Paul is running for president – he is the only major party candidate for president that I can enthusiastically support in more than a quarter century.

I’ll be happy to pass along a copy of “Lee in the Mountains” by Mr. Davidson. Might be a little more apropos of your climes!!

Well, I’m not in siege lines here, but I do wonder if things might be more fruitful back in the mountains…

Thanks for posting the link to the poem – I had not seen that before.

What is your take on some of the recent revisionist historians who concluded that the Confederacy could have won if it had dispersed its forces?

I’m not sure of the Confederacy’s chances in the mountains, so to speak. Forrest certainly proved to be a winner using Fourth Generation warfare tactics, while Lee’s traditional campaign into Pennsylvania was disastrous.

So I suppose there is a serious tactical argument for taking to the mountains, but it’s only academic. Sadly, the South has long ago been subsumed in every cultural dimension by the Leviathon. Tidewater Virginia is now no different than coastal Massachusetts nor coastal California – aside from smaller property taxes, perhaps.

Our brightest and best men were killed in that needless war, and, most sadly of all, our gene pool has never recovered!! I used to place great hope in Richard Weaver’s notion of the South as a flywheel to American politics and mores, but after the past eight years of the South’s fervent support for the little simeon from Connecticut, I’m afraid that I would have to disagree with the old don.

We may one day fall off the DC teat – to dredge up an old Andrew Lytle analogy, but it will not be of our choosing. Perhaps a forced weaning, however, will bring back a little sanity.

…Well now it’s 3,358 kids on the KIA list since I’ve sobered up. But the real outrage is that there’s only one thing that’ll will stop this Goddamn senseless, no win, disastrous War Policy, the havoc it continues to cause, and worse the future hatreds it is breeding…That being the continued American loss of life in Iraq. Each death only serves to demean, sicken and frustrate me further. That, and it’s bein’ the cause of my “takin’ to Likker” is commencein’ to git hard on my liver.


"Mission Accomplished," 5 Years Later

It was a picture-perfect moment, made for the TV cameras, in which a military leader stood before heroes and heroines to declare a victory which seemed to come easier than anyone dared hope, in a conflict which was opposed by many friends and foes alike.

May 1 marks the fifth anniversary of President George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, as heralded by a giant banner strung across the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

After shifting explanations, the White House eventually said the "Mission Accomplished" phrase referred to the carrier's crew completing their 10-month mission, not the military completing its mission in Iraq.

"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said 'mission accomplished' for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission," White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday. "And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year."

After being landed on the deck of the carrier in an S-3B Viking 30 miles off the coast San Diego (Ari Fleischer said the president "could have helicoptered," but "he wanted to see a landing the way aviators see a landing"), Mr. Bush appeared in a flight suit to the cheers of the ship's personnel and the glare of television lights.

Later, he stood at a podium against a patriotic backdrop reading "Mission Accomplished."

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To the assembled audience and the world, Mr. Bush said, "Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

"In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment - yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage - your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other - made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free.

"Tonight, I have a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld, for General Franks, and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States: America is grateful for a job well done."

Five years after that speech, after the meaning of the phrase "mission accomplished" and when is a job truly "done" has been endlessly parsed, and after responsibility for creating and hanging the sign was first denied and later accepted, the White House said Wednesday that President Bush has paid a price for the banner, with its affirmative message becoming a target of mockery and a symbol of U.S. misjudgments and mistakes in the long and costly war - a war in which major combat operations are still being waged.

The president himself didn't exactly say the words "mission accomplished," but that point often gets lost in the feelings over the continuing war, reports CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante.

But while the White House distanced itself from the message soon after the event, Mr. Bush was not averse to repeating it. Speaking to troops in Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar the following month, Mr. Bush said, "America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished."

Now in its sixth year, the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of at least 4,058 members of the U.S. military - 3,924 of whom have died since Mr. Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed (the true number may never be known, since the Iraqi government does not record tallies of the dead), and millions have been displaced from their homes. And there are currently more U.S. troops in Iraq than there were when the U.S. invaded with a contingent of other coalition forces.

There were intimations within Mr. Bush's speech, not excerpted and repeated as often, that the administration knew it was not about to wash its hands of Iraq any time soon. "The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort," Mr. Bush said. "Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq."

Mr. Bush, in a speech early this month, repeated the hopeful sentiment stated that day, that "while this war is difficult, it is not endless."

That message may have special meaning for the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln, on which their commander-in-chief declared "Mission Accomplished" five long years ago. Their ship has just begun duty in the Persian Gulf, within striking distance of the coast of Iran.

First published on May 1, 2008 / 12:22 AM

© 2008 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Trump Declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ After Bombing… Just Like George W. Bush Did

President Donald Trump did not give a speech or hang a giant banner on an aircraft carrier like former President George W. Bush did in 2003, but he might as well have when he declared “Mission Accomplished” on Twitter following his missile strike against Syria.

On Friday night, Trump announced that the United States, along with France and the United Kingdom, launched joint missile strikes against Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this month.

Earlier this week, Russia warned the United States not to take military action against Syria, a nation that is still in a state of civil war, a conflict that also involves several countries, including Israel, China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

However, after listening to advice from Fox & Friends to bomb Syria as a distraction from his scandals, Trump ordered military action anyway, striking several targets believed to be associated with Assad’s chemical weapons program.

By bombing Syria, America is now seemingly at war. Assad is still in power and it is unknown how nations such as Russia, Iran, and China will react.

Nevertheless, Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning and declared “Mission Accomplished!”

A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018

So proud of our great Military which will soon be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had. There won’t be anything, or anyone, even close!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018

If that sounds familiar, it should.

In 2003, former President George W. Bush prematurely declared “Mission Accomplished” after the opening military actions against Iraq.

Here’s the video via YouTube.

But as we all know, the War in Iraq would drag on for another eight years until 2011. And even now, the United States still has forces in Iraq.

In the years since “Mission Accomplished,” some 149,053 civilians have been killed, compared to about 7,412 prior to the speech, according to the website Iraq Body Count. Since the speech, 4,637 military members in the Iraq War coalition led by the U.S. have lost their lives, versus 172 prior, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. As of September 2014, total U.S. expenditures on the war in Iraq totaled $815.8 billion, about 93 percent of which was spent after 2003. That cost is more than 16 times the Bush administration’s original projection.

The Syrian conflict may be even more complicated than the Iraq war, especially since Russian troops are on the ground there and so many other nations are involved. Trump may have just dragged America into a war that could have far deadlier and more destructive consequences, and that’s on top of a potential war with Iran and North Korea and the wars we are still fighting in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya.

As the Treasury runs dry here at home because of recent tax giveaways to the wealthy, we are spending trillions of dollars on war and could end up spending even more because of Trump’s actions.

Our role in the Syrian conflict could last for many years and turn into a world war despite Trump’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished.” This is one repetition of history that America did not need.


Mission Was Accomplished

N egligence during Hurricane Katrina, the failures witnessed on 9/11, tax cuts to the wealthy while giving pittance to the bottom 90% of Americans: the parade of fiascoes during the Bush years were countless. Yet, for all his blunders and missteps, the one clarifying moment that hangs on the former president’s neck was his arrogance when he decided to fly a plane onto an aircraft carrier to mark a successful end to the Iraq War. Mission Accomplished! Those two words are the epithet of a failed presidency that was responsible for hundreds of thousands of graveyards in Afghanistan, Iraq, America and beyond.

Yet, for all his egregious actions and political debacles, George W. Bush was not so much an aberration but the norm. The only reason Bush’s improprieties seem so aberrant is because he lacked style and farce to hide his mendacity with smooth rhetoric and telegenic smiles. Personalities aside, if you look back at America’s policies for the past 50 years—if not longer—there is a common theme that stands out no matter which party is in power in Washington DC.

Wars. Wars. Wars. Our nation has been in a continuous state of conflict in one corner of the planet or another since the 1950’s. The public has been duped into accepting a successive spate of wars, the enemies change but the pretext is always the same. Fear has been at the root of each campaign. From the Cold War and the effort to contain the “Red Scare” to the “War on Drugs” to the never ending “War Against Terror”, warmomgers always create a bogey man and then rush us into wars before we have time to debate if bloodshed is the wisest course.

Given this context, George W. Bush was absolutely correct when he declared the Iraq War a success. After all, the aim of the war was not victory but continued strife and carnage. There are few things in this world as profitable as war, a litany of industries are connected to the military-industrial complex that all stand to make a killing each time people are killed in battlefields. Defense contractors, banks, oil corporations, health care providers, non-profits, the list of interests that thrive each time a bomb explodes overseas is one too many to count. Though Democrats love to spread disinformation and say that FDR pulled us out of the Great Depression, anyone who knows history understands that it was the Lend Lease Act and our eventual involvement in World War II that jump started the American economy.

This lesson was never lost on each Commander-in-Chief since Roosevelt, the only thing presidents crave more than libraries in their name is a war on their watch. I was naive enough to believe that we finally learned the folly of following presidents blindly into battles after W lied us into the Iraq War only to witness Barack Obama take the helm to start more conflicts on his watch than his predecessor. In hindsight, I realize that Barack was never a peace president, the only video we have of Barack Obama criticizing the Iraq War at its start was when he said that the war was a “strategic blunder”. Strategic blunder is wearing two different socks or putting salt in my coffee instead of sugar, the deaths of 500,000 Iraqis and thousands of American military personnel are war crimes. Click To Tweet

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, we now have a petulant president Trump who, at any moment, could lead our nation into a war that could truly end all wars. Instead of emulating the smooth talk of Obama, he opts to copy the bloops and blunders of Bush. I’ve been pondering the difference between Democrats and Republicans and how they manage to push us into wars. What I’ve realized is that Republicans play the role of cowboys who cater to the bravado of the John Wayne crowd. Democrats do the complete opposite, they talk of peace and pander to the Dalai Lama bloc.

After eight years of Republican hubris, the public mood shifts to pacifism which serves as a fertile soil for Democrats to hypocritically promise a new day of reconciliation and coexistence. After eight years of Democrat perceived dovishness, the paradigm shifts to hawkishness which gives Republicans an opening to promise a new day of American exceptionalism. What we are not realizing is that both parties are playing off each other to make it seem like things are changing even though the policies of endless wars and wealth transference to the 1% never changes no matter who is in charge. We keep paying attention to personalities and the reality show of our politics only to lose sight of the fact that both parties are fleecing us with their economic schemes and bleeding billions globally with perpetual wars that are being fought in the name of the military-financial hustle.

I guess George Bush was not such a failure after all. He was twice elected, has a presidential library in his name and is now being hailed by even people on the left as a humanitarian to be celebrated. Donald Trump is now the new catnip who is drawing the ire of people on the left and capturing the devotion of people on the right. He too, just like Obama, came in promising to end these wars and to “make America great again”. Just like his predecessors, reality and Trump’s rhetoric parted ways the minute he stepped into the White House. Mission Accomplished! They keep getting us to vote for personalities as we overlook the policies of wars that never end. #MissionWasAccomplished

“Mankind must put an end to war before war put an end to mankind.”

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With a decade's hindsight, what did George W Bush accomplish?

A decade ago today, President George W Bush landed in a jet on an aircraft carrier, shed his flight suit, and gave a speech before a banner that proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" (though Bush himself never spoke those words). Decried as political theater and later regretted by the former president and his administration alike, the image has outlasted his terms in office, often appearing as a darkly ironic emblem of the times.

American writer Gore Vidal accused Bush of enacting a de facto "junta", and of being "charmingly simian". Yet, one of the president's more surprising defenders, the late Christopher Hitchens, contended that Bush's policies will be justified in the long run.

Ten years on from the "Mission Accomplished" moment, Bush still rates poorly among former presidents, and the dedication of his official library (in which the banner was almost hung) underscored that while the tone has softened, ambivalence reigns – at best.

How will history judge George W Bush and his legacy? Was he really, as Princeton historian Sean Wilentz famously proposed, "the very worst president in all of American history" – or does our longer perspective now permit a more nuanced view?


Eight Years Ago, Bush Declared 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq

Today marks the eighth anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech about the Iraq War, when American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded. Eight years, over 4,000 U.S. fatalities,  and hundreds of thousands Iraqi fatalities later, the war carries on. 

In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush said he regretted some of his more blunt statements on his so-called war on terrorism wished he had not spoken in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner only a month after U.S. troops in Iraq were deployed, according to CNN.

But George W. Bush was not alone. Greg Mitchell explains how many major media outlets unquestioningly accepted the announcement that the Iraq war was over, and the U.S. had won.

Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a "hero" and boomed, "He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics." He added: "Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple."

In fact, the image of President George W. Bush on the carrier reminded conservative and liberal media commentators irresistibly of "Top Gun." PBS' Gwen Ifill said Bush was "part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan." Maureen Dowd wrote in a column:

He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics. This time Maverick didn't just nail a few bogeys and do a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28 at a range of two meters. This time the Top Gun wasted a couple of nasty regimes, and promised this was just the beginning.

Occasionally the coverage differed -- with regard to which movie star Bush resembled.

Bob Schieffer on CBS said: "As far as I'm concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time." His guest, Joe Klein, responded: "Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me."

Eight years later, we still have the same war. But we are a very different country.

On August 31, 2010, President Obama declared an end to the combat mission in Iraq in a primetime address from the Oval Office. “We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home,” Obama said. “Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it’s time to turn the page.”

There was no beaming, rejoicing, or movie star comparisons. One New York Times editorial summed up the response to the event:

There was no victory to declare last night, and Mr. Obama was right not to try. If victory was ever possible in this war, it has not been won, and America still faces the daunting challenges of the other war, in Afghanistan.


10 years later: Mission accomplished?

Ten years ago today, then-President George Bush delivered his now-notorious, premature speech in which he declared American operations had ended in Iraq.

With a banner draped behind him saying “Mission Accomplished,” Bush in 2003 delivered the televised address off the coast of San Diego from the USS Abraham Lincoln.

“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” he told the crowd. “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

A few months earlier, Congress approved what would become the Iraq War, and the invasion began in March of that year.

Of course, the notion of “mission accomplished” could not have been further from the truth.

While the speech was well-received at the time, the war lasted another eight years. Congress decided to send in 20,000 more troops into the country in 2007. The war claimed the lives of at least 190,000 people–the bulk of whom were civilians, in addition to 4,488 U.S. soldiers and 3,400 U.S. contractors.

In December 2011, President Obama marked the exit of the last American troops from Iraq, ending nearly nine years of war there. Sectarian violence remains rampant.

Following the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War was sold to the American people as a relatively easy mission that would prevent Saddam Hussein from using weapons of mass destruction. The cakewalk, however, became a quagmire. The WMDs did not exist and U.S. war planners underestimated the Iraqi insurgency. The war also produced the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, extraordinary renditions, torture, Abu Ghraib, and the modern surveillance state.

In 2009, at his final press conference, Bush admitted it was a mistake to hang the banner saying “Mission accomplished.”

“It sent the wrong message. We were trying to say something differently, but nevertheless, it conveyed a different message,” said Bush. “Obviously, some of my rhetoric has been a mistake.”

The 10-year anniversary of the "mission accomplished" speech comes the same day the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened to the public in Dallas, Texas, reigniting a debate over the 43rd president's legacy.


Bush Declares "Mission Accomplished" in 2006 House, Senate Midterm Elections

San Diego, November 9, 2006 -- Following the resounding defeat of Republican candidates in the 2006 midterm elections, President Bush hailed his party's victory during an epic speech this morning.

President Bush congratulates GOP candidates on victory following their defeat in the 2006 elections

Speaking before a cheering crowd of US Marines on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Millard Fillmore, anchored a few feet off the coast of San Diego, the president congratulated his party's political troops for a "catastrophic success".

"Major midterm election operations in America have ended," President Bush said, slightly winded from the dramatic blimp ride that had ferried him to the carrier and speaking squeakily due to lung constriction by the tight flight suit he had adopted for the occasion. "In the Battle of Congress, the Republican party and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing this country."

The remarks by President Bush were in honor of Republican congressional candidates whose political party had just been handed its most resounding defeat in over a decade.

Early 2006 election results showed a loss of 29 Republican House of Representatives seats and 6 Senate seats to the Democratic party. Several governorships also passed into Democratic hands, leaving Democrats with gubernatorial, Senate and House majorities for the first time in 12 years, years during which the dominant Republicans raised the US national debt by about $4 trillion.

President Bush's stirring remarks were evocatively backdropped by a huge, colorful "Mission Accomplished" banner Marines on the USS Millard Fillmore had voluntarily constructed themselves in their free time, according to the Ministry of Truth's banner printing office, using only chewing gum and whale parts.

"In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world," President Bush said. "Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment — yet it is you, the members of the United States voting public, who achieved it. Your courage — your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other — made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and America is free."

President Bush went on to characterize the Democratic sweep of the House and Senate as "a milestone in the American people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law -- it's a major achievement for America's young democracy and its constitutional government."

The President said he had "no particular victory plan for the defeat", adding that America was not in the business of nation-building.

With the Congress now firmly in Democratic hands, pundits expect a return to the practice of congressional oversight, a constitutional duty of Congress that was neglected or ignored completely throughout the years of Republican domination during the Bush administration.

Some Washington insiders also predict a possible spate of congressional investigations into the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, Afghanistan, energy policy and numerous other issues, potentially followed by high-level indictments.

Vice President Dick Cheney, however, remained cautiously optimistic despite the resounding defeat for the GOP, joining Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in blaming the recent losses on the activities of a few democratic "deadenders".

"The level of activity that we see today from a political standpoint, I think, will clearly decline," Vice President Cheney said, speaking from an undisclosed location where he is expected to remain until 2009 or his death, whichever comes first. "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

In response to a reporter's question, President Bush said he "hasn't read Bob Woodward's new book yet, but from what I heard it's going to be a real treat."

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow dismissed the toppling by American troops and tanks of a large copper statue of George W. Bush, located in the White House Rose garden, as a "nothing more than a cynical media stunt".


Watch the video: George W. Bush - Speech Marking End of Major Combat Ops In Iraq