Some people like Christmas best. Others like Halloween. My favorite holiday of the year has to be Mission Accomplished Day.
As with every Mission Accomplished Day, it is tradition to retell the tale of how this auspicious day came into being.
Well, kids, it began with a war; the Iraq War. Throughout 2002, and into early 2003, the Bush administration made a strong case to the American people that we needed to invade Iraq. But this wasn’t all. Not only did we have to invade Iraq, but doing so would be easy.
It would be a “cake walk” some had said. Others had promised we would be greeted with flowers and chocolates, like some awkward date coming to pick us up for the prom. This war was going to make our previous jaunt in Iraq ten years earlier look, at the same time, like a game of tiddlywinks, and a long hard slog.
We were going to shock them.
We were going to awe them.
We were going to shock and awe them, and when the dust settled, the war would be won, and all would again be right with the world (with, of course, the exception of bringing Osama bin Laden to justice and crippling the network of the al Qaeda terrorist cell).
And, as though the administration spoke not in calculated prediction but in prophetic prognostication, mere months after invading Iraq, on May 1st, 2003, the President of the United States landed on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in a fighter jet.
He hopped out, cod piece at full attention, the grin of a winner firmly in place, and under a banner that read, “Mission Accomplished,” President George W. Bush declared that, “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.”
Well, boys and girls, we’re still in Iraq, and since declaring the end of major combat operations, a full 97% of the men and women who have died in Iraq have done so following that potentially great day. And, of course, if we choose to elect John McCain as our next Commander in Chief, we will have many more Mission Accomplished Days to celebrate.
Now, as is also tradition, the White House is required to come up with a new means of spinning the absolute wrongness of Bush’s declaration that the Iraq War has ended.
Ms. Dana Perino, taking her second crack at this fine tradition, has come up with a new one that isn’t so new. I’ve heard this explanation many a time, typically promoted by right wing hacks, but having it come straight from the White House press secretary gives it… I don’t know… that faint whiff of officiousness that this narrative has lacked for so long.
Her rebuttal to Helen Thomas’ drudging up this old gem?
PERINO: 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. 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.
Ah, yes. The sailors’ mission, that SPECIFIC mission, had been accomplished. Which, having been on at least one similar mission, let me tell you is a big deal. Getting to see your loved ones after a deployment and, frankly, getting a chance to just eat some real food and sleep in a real bed, is definitely cause to celebrate. But then, why didn’t the President come on board my ship when it ended its six month long mission to display American might around the world?
That’s right, because, contrary to Perino’s statement, he wasn’t there to just stand under a banner, but to, as mentioned above, declare that major combat missions in Iraq were over.
So what are your plans for Mission Accomplished day? If it weren’t for the fact that I have to work, mine would be to crawl inside a bottle and pretend, for at least a few hours anyway, that Al Gore was our president for the past seven years.
(edited by DrGail)