Five years and hundreds of thousands of dead later:
Bush, in October 2003, disavowed any connection with the “Mission Accomplished” message. He said the White House had nothing to do with the banner; a spokesman later said the ship’s crew asked for the sign and the White House staff had it made by a private vendor.
“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.”
She said what is important now is “how the president would describe the fight today. It’s been a very tough month in Iraq, but we are taking the fight to the enemy.”
Now in its sixth year, the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of at least 4,061
members of the U.S. military. Only the Vietnam War (August 1964 to January 1973), the war in Afghanistan (October 2001 to present) and the Revolutionary War (July 1776 to April 1783) have engaged America longer.
Bush, in a speech earlier this month, said that “while this war is difficult, it is not endless.”
Some things are not forgivable. In the eyes of the world, we are untrustworthy, craven and brutal, and we will pay for this belief for generations, even if we were to withdraw our troops tomorrow and empty our treasury for reparations. There was never a reason to invade Iraq and no reason to believe anything good can come of it now. Our leaders are war criminals. The best thing that could happen to us as a nation would be the arrest, prosecution and punishment of everyone who had a hand in this evil imperialist misadventure. Then maybe we could learn to trust ourselves again.
Instead, we seem ready to destroy ourselves.
The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said yesterday the deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf could serve as a “reminder” to Iran of American resolve to defend its interests in the region.
Gates denied the arrival of a new carrier represented an escalation, pointing out that US naval strength in the Gulf rises and falls constantly with routine naval deployments, but it comes at a time of heightened rhetoric from Washington about Iran’s role in the Iraqi insurgency.
In the next few days US officers in Baghdad are expected to mount a display of recently-made Iranian arms alleged to have been seized from insurgents.
CBS News reported the Pentagon has ordered commanders to explore new options for attacking Iran and that the state department was formulating an ultimatum calling on Iran to stop arms smuggling into Iraq. The reports were denied by US officials.
Happy anniversary, America.