Wednesday, August 10, 2005


... this picture was taken May 1, 2003!! That's almost 27 months ago! The following article was printed 10/29/03, nearly 22 months ago! That's close to two years...

From Dana Bash
CNN Washington Bureau
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- What was once viewed as a premier presidential photo op continues to dog President Bush six months after he landed on an aircraft carrier to declare "one victory" in the war on terrorism and an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

Attention turned Tuesday to a giant "Mission Accomplished" sign that stood behind Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln when he gave the speech May 1.

The president told reporters the sign was put up by the Navy, not the White House.
"I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way," the president said Tuesday.

Now his statements are being parsed even further.

Navy and administration sources said that though the banner was the Navy's idea, the White House actually made it.

Bush offered the explanation after being asked whether his speech declaring an end to major combat in Iraq under the "Mission Accomplished" banner was premature, given that U.S. casualties in Iraq since then have surpassed those before it.

During the speech in May, Bush said, "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on."

The speech and events surrounding it were widely publicized and served as the symbolic end to the war in Iraq.

At the time, it appeared that every detail of the day's events had been carefully planned, including the president's arrival in the co-pilot's seat of a Navy S-3B Viking after making two flybys of the carrier.

The exterior of the four-seat S-3B Viking was marked with "Navy 1" and "George W. Bush Commander in Chief."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN that in preparing for the speech, Navy officials on the carrier told Bush aides they wanted a "Mission Accomplished" banner, and the White House agreed to create it.

"We took care of the production of it," McClellan said. "We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up."

The banner has been used by critics of the Bush administration as evidence of bravado and an unclear sense of how dangerous the postwar conflict in Iraq would be.

Assigning responsibility elsewhere, especially to the military, is not a typical move for the Bush administration and raised suspicions among critics.

Cmdr. Conrad Chun, a Navy spokesman, defended the president's assertion.
"The banner was a Navy idea, the ship's idea," Chun said.

"The banner signified the successful completion of the ship's deployment," he said, noting the Abraham Lincoln was deployed 290 days, longer than any other nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history.

At the time of the event, Democrats worried President Bush would use his speech and the dramatic landing for political gain.

On Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidates, hoping to make it a political liability for Bush, accused him of trying to shift blame for the stagecraft to the Navy.

"Landing on an aircraft carrier and saying 'mission accomplished' didn't end a war, and standing in the Rose Garden and stating that 'Iraq is a dangerous place' does nothing to make American troops safer," Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said in a written statement Tuesday.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean also issued a critical statement.

"Today, we heard him try to walk away from the USS Abraham Lincoln 'end of major combat operations' announcement, absurdly claiming that the White House was not responsible for the 'Mission Accomplished' banner that decorated the flight deck," Dean said.

Snave's notes: I think Democrats need to keep pressing on the "Mission Accomplished" fiasco as an example of both hubris and propaganda on the part of the neocons. The longer the mission is not accomplished and the longer we are stuck in Iraq, the sillier Bush will look... and the more the American people may begin to realize that those Democrats who were critical of the administration's premature show... were correct!

I'm beginning to think Bush needs to land on another aircraft carrier for another highly-contrived photo-op, with a new banner behind him that reads "Mission Creep Accomplished". To me, that seems like a much more appropriate slogan.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"Mission creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. The term often implies a certain disapproval of newly adopted goals by the user of the term. Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs. The term was originally applied exclusively to military operations, but has recently been applied to many different fields, mainly the growth of bureaucracies.

"The classic example of mission creep is the Korean War. It began as an attempt to save South Korea from invasion by the North, but after that initial success expanded to an attempt to reunite the peninsula, a goal that eventually proved unattainable. That attempt resulted in a long and costly retreat through North Korea after the intervention of the Chinese.

"Although the term mission creep is relatively new, examples can be observed throughout military history. For instance, many of the wars of Louis XIV's France began with small limited goals, but quickly escalated to much larger affairs.

"When mission creep does not occur it can also bring criticism. After the defeat of the totalitarian powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan in WWII, some thought the Allies should build on their success and attack Franco's Spain or the Soviet Union. There are continued criticisms that the American led coalition should have ousted Saddam Hussein at the end of the first Gulf War after the ease with which the Iraqi forces were expelled from Kuwait."


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