Nearly everyone has by now acknowedged what a dreadful mistake it was for Bush to celebrate the march into Baghdad under the now notorious Mission Accomplished banner. Now it seems that Bush himself agrees:
Six months after he spoke on an aircraft carrier deck under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished,” President Bush disavowed any connection with the war message.Later, the White House changed its story and said there was a link.
The “Mission Accomplished” boast has been mocked many times since Bush’s carrier speech as criticism has mounted over the failed search for weapons of mass destruction and the continuing violence in Iraq.
When it was brought up again Tuesday at a news conference, Bush said, “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.”
That explanation hadn’t surfaced during months of questions to White House officials about proclaiming the mission in Iraq successful while violence continued.
After the news conference, a White House spokeswoman said the Lincoln’s crew asked the White House to have the sign made. The White House asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up, said the spokeswoman. She said she did not know who paid for the sign.
I’ll bet I know who paid for the sign, and I’ll bet the spokeswoman knows, too.
What a mistake. It will make the perfect poster for some Democratic presidential hopeful, and a reminder to all of us of just how cocky we were back then.