May 1 was the fifth anniversary of George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, in which he claimed, “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann began his commemoration of this anniversary by saying there had been nothing comparable to Bush’s “misleading, disingenuous, deliberately deceptive” speech since Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of “peace for our time” after capitulating to Hitler in 1938.
Olbermann noted that even now the administration keeps insisting that the only problem with the speech was that the huge “Mission Accomplished” banner behind Bush on the aircraft carrier was misinterpreted as referring to the Iraq War rather than to the mission of that particular ship. “We have certainly paid a price for not being more specific,” stated White House Press Secretary Dana Perino on Tuesday.
Rachel Maddow of Air American pointed out that the White House seems to think that if not for the banner, “nobody would have minded that Bush declared major combat over, that he wore the flight suit, that he kept that aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego for the purpose of the photo op, and that we had ‘prevailed.’ … As if it just needed to be rebranded.”
“What is it going to take to reignite that core of anger … over this god-forsaken war?” Olbermann asked.
“The well of anger about Iraq is always there to be tapped,” Maddow answered. “But I think that it maybe becomes something that can’t be shushed … when we start focusing on the opportunity costs of what we’ve done.”
“We want to know that we are getting something that we need as a country from what we have devoted to these wars,” Maddow explained. “We want to know that the investment we’ve made in blood and honor and in our international standing … [has] brought us something that we need as a country.”
“If it hasn’t decreased our risk of terror, it hasn’t weakened our adversaries, all it’s done is weaken our own military and our own international standing, what’s it been for?” concluded Maddow.
“We can pretty much assume we know the answers to that,” commented Olbermann. “There are many of them, they’re all nefarious and conspiratorial.”
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast May 1, 2008.