Saturday, July 5, 2008

Whose Mission Accomplished

Back in the spring of 2003, the Air Force softened up Iraq — but missed with a few surgical strikes that targeted Saddam Hussein — and so the Army invaded. In a few quick weeks our forces occupied that nation: Baghdad, Saddam’s palaces and the Oil Ministry.

President George slipped into a flight suit and, in a Navy jet fighter, landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to announce the end of major combat operations. No, he didn’t fly the plane; he never earned his wings when he was an erstwhile member of the Texas Air National Guard. A great banner proclaiming Mission Accomplished stretched above the Commander In Chief as he addressed the sailors has since become an embarrassment to the
B-C administration when the war ground on year after year.

Recognizing that the photo-op went sour, the White House spinmeisters have changed the storyline. It was, they now insist, Mission Accomplished for those sailors on that ship for their mission. Their mission, truth be told, was to manoever the carrier off the coast of California — not in the Persian Gulf — and position it so photos of the President’s plane landing on the deck of the carrier would show open seas, not nearby San Diego. Will the White House convince any but the gullible? Or will the new PR effort just confirm the President’s incredibility?

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