Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bush's Mission Accomplished Speech

It's funny how a picture or sound bite can shape or affect the thoughts of the American people. I had always believed that I was immune to it, but apparently I am not.

You see, the showdown between Congress and President Bush recently (in which Bush made only the second veto in his entire career) happened on the anniversary of his famous 4 year old speech known as the "Mission Accomplished" speech, which he made on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and was televised to us and the world.

You remember the Mission Accomplished speech, don't you? You know, the one in which he said "Mission Accomplished"? Right! So do I! Except that... he never said it. At least, he never said it in his speech, which can be found here on the CBS news site. I even did a word search on it after I'd thoroughly combed through it and nope, those words are no where to be found. In fact, the speech makes it very clear that he didn't believe that we were close to being done at that time.

So why do we know it as his "Mission Accomplished" speech? Obviously because that's what wishful thinking, response to visual cues, and a press that revels in sound and picture bites, will do to us. We all vaguely recall there was a banner that hung behind Bush which said "Mission Accomplished". It is that particular feature that permanently branded this as his "Mission Accomplished" speech.

As Wikipedia states, "The banner stating "Mission Accomplished" was the main source of controversy and criticism. Navy Commander and Pentagon spokesman Conrad Chun said the banner referred specifically to the aircraft carrier's 10-month deployment (which was the longest deployment of a carrier since the Vietnam War) and not the war itself, saying "It truly did signify a mission accomplished for the crew."

The White House claimed that the banner was requested by the crew of the ship. Afterwards, the administration and naval sources stated that the banner was the Navy's idea, White House staff members made the banner, and it was hung by the U.S. Navy personnel. White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN "We took care of the production of it. We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up."[3] According to John Dickerson of TIME magazine, the White House later conceded that they actually hung the banner but still insists it had been done at the request of the crewmembers.[4]"

Of course as we now understand it, Bush had never believed that we had accomplished our mission: It is four years later and the mission may never be accomplished.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

He was as triumphant as I've seen him when he gave that speech, he thought it was as good as done and no amount of spin will say otherwise.

daveawayfromhome said...

They can make all kinds of excuses, but that banner was in the background on purpose. With all the handling that any personality gets these days, there's no way that was done accidentally. Putting him in front of that banner would be the equivalent of giving him light-fixture antlers had it not been done on purpose. As incompetent as Bush's policies may be, his spin-doctors are way better than that.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Nothing this White House has said was truthful.

First off, do you know what happens when an Admiral visits a ship? EVERYTHING is polished and shined. And when the President is going to be there?

But all the prettying up of the ship aside, there was the "the end of major combat in Iraq" part of the speech, and the "in the Battle Of Iraq, the United States and out allies have prevailed" statement. And that banner.

The White House, as you pointed out, tried to blame the men on the ship for it when they knew fully well they hung it. It was printed by the White House, hung by the White House, and placed in just the right place for the President's photo op by a White House staffer days before the President landed. In his Halloween costume flight suit. You think he went trick or treating after the cameras were turned off?

From the same Wikipedia article. Bush reiterated his "Mission Accomplished" statement to the troops at Camp As Sayliyah on June 5, 2003 — about a month after the aircraft carrier incident: "America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished".

No matter how you look at it, the conclusion is the same. Bush went to the ship, and by doing so actually made the mission longer because the ship had to stay out to sea for the photo op. The banner was hung and allowed to be photographed. And then when the mission was not accomplished - hey blame the ship! The Navy men wanted it! The ship's officers ordered it! The White House printed it, but the men hung it!

Blame the people in the real military for it, the guy playing pretend pilot did nothing. What a load of bullshit.

Cranky Yankee said...

They also turned the ship so as to give the impression that it was out at sea and not just off the California coast. Additionally he was originally supposed to fly in on a helicopter, but that was changed to let him play dress up act like the fighter pilot he never was.

The issue with the speech is the message it was designed to convey not the specific words. This administration has been the master of the semantic truth and essential lie.

If you listen to people like Manne Coulter creaming herself over how manly shrubby the deserter's codpiece looked you understand the message. It was all about setting the stage for the next election and had very little to do with the actual war. It was a sales stunt right out of Cal Worthington's book.

Hans said...

You opened up the flood gates to the Bush bashing with this one. Clearly in hindsight the whole staged event was idiotic. Oops.

Is Wikipedia a accurate source for information worth citing?

The Lazy Iguana said...

Wikipedia is actually fairly reliable. Some big name fancy pants university did a study comparing Wikipedia to other "established" (not free) sources and found no major discrepancies. The not free sources had a cow, so the findings were changed - but the "errors" the not free people found could have been added by them, or the articles were about bullshit anyway.

Anyway, I remember the speech. It was only a few short years ago.

Bush "bashing" is not the same as speaking the truth. "Bashing" is making stuff up, making a big deal out of one little minor thing, or distorting fact just enough to make your point.

I do not see any of that going on here. The man is an awful President, and he has been nothing but a failure. Just like his business track record. Except now people are watching, and daddy's friends can not cover up his mess.

Hans said...

Lazy- Your last paragraph makes my point.

The economy is clipping along at a fairly good pace. Unemployment is low. Inflation is low. The homeland is secure and peaceful.

So you must be talking about Iraq. Although it appears to be out of hand we are decades from knowing if Bush's Middle East Policy was a success or failure. So what has been "nothing but a failure"? What I do know is that the American (and Western) Middle East policy of propping up dictators so that we can extract oil to feed our addiction has been a failure. Both to the people in the Middle East (as demonstrated by there hate for us, see 9/11) and to the environment. Something had to change.

Cranky Yankee said...

If telling the truth is bashing then we should be lucky enough to be called bashers.

Hans, As to the economy, if you are talking about the Dow Jones industrial average as you r measure of the economy then I agree with you. If you look at real wages, the gap between rich and poor - highest ever, the growth in GDP - slowest since 2003, trade deficit - highest ever, housing market - crashing, personal savings/debt - lowest/highest ever, national debt - record highs, etc then you are wrong..very wrong.

Cranky Yankee said...

but i do agree with this - "What I do know is that the American (and Western) Middle East policy of propping up dictators so that we can extract oil to feed our addiction has been a failure. Both to the people in the Middle East (as demonstrated by there hate for us, see 9/11) and to the environment. Something had to change. "

green said...

I've said from day one when Bush was elected to his first term that he was the equivalent of a deer caught in the headlights and nothing he's said or done has done anything to change or erase that image from my mind. And it probably never will. I'm so glad I never voted for him. Yet I voted, so I do have the right to complain.
(Not that anyone is questioning this...)

kathleen said...

Saur, stop trying to confuse them with the facts. ;)

I have been reading, just not participating. I always count on you for some great posts.

Senor Caiman said...


Once I went to the trophy store and ordered myself a bowling trophy that said I bowled a 300 game. I still get compliments on it.

Miss Cellania said...

We still don't know what the "mission" is supposed to be.

The Lazy Iguana said...

The Dow Jones is not everything. So people are making money? And? I am not making any more money.

Thanks to Bush the budget surplus he took office with is now a major deficit. Oil went from $30 a barrel to over $70. The GDP is up, but then again so is deficit spending.

China has more money, more good paying jobs have left, and the world is LESS SAFE because of the madman idiot in charge.

My dollar is worth less. When that evil bastard Clinton was in office I could get one Eruo for $.75 US. Not that same Euro costs me $1.40 and if I want to get one UK Pound I have to fork over $2 US.

Bush DID FAIL at business. Look it up. Every business he was involved in FAILED - except for the Texas Rangers baseball team. He was able to use his influence as governor of Texas to build them a new stadium with public money, and then sell his share of the team for millions of dollars in profit. Look it up yourself. That is his one and ONLY claim of "success".

You can continue to be a Bush suck up if you like. It is a free Country - for now anyway. Bush was not able to push his whole Agenda on us after all.

But I think that when the dust settles, I will be on the side of objective history.

PS Unemployment is "low" because you are not counted once your benefits run out. The economy is NOT as "good" as you may think it is. Research indexes that means something.

I suggest you start with housing. Look at new homes sales trends. Look at foreclosure rates. Why just last Friday in Miami-Dade County, a real estate hot spot, there were over 150 foreclosures posted. And that was only for one day.

There is a real reason why Bush's public approval ratings went from 80% or better to the under 30% of today. Mission Accomplished is a big contributor to that.

History will record the Bush Presidency as being one colossal failure.

PS - Saur voted for Bush twice. She can see the truth. Think it is time to remove those blinders?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Everyone, thank you so very much for all the input. I really enjoyed reading it (and I read each one thoroughly). I truly love you guys - no doubt that you really add to whatever is written.

Kathleen, there you are! I've missed you!

Lazy, Thank you for pointing out the housing slump. It ties in with what I wrote Thursday morning (today... for now).

Hans, I wish the economy were that great, but see what Lazy wrote. I agree with what he's saying about the state of our economy: Stats can be very deceptive (as you know - I happen to know you're highly educated). ;o)

Daveawayfromhome, Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing.

Daniel, so good to see you! I need to pop over to your blog and ask you a question.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Hans has fallen silent.

Pop over Saur and ask me!

Hans said...

Daniel- I'm still around. I've stirred this one up enough and moved on to the next topic.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Stirring is another word for trolling...