Thursday, May 01, 2014

Eleven Years Ago: 'Our Chief Was Landing on the Deck'

From Pressing Issues, courtesy of Daily Kos:

Today marks the 11th anniversary of Mission Accomplished Day.  Sadly, it comes amid more sectarian violence in Iraq--and further attempts at Bush revisionism upon the opening of his "art" show at his Library.

In my favorite antiwar song of this war, “Shock and Awe,” Neil Young moaned: “Back in the days of Mission Accomplished/ our chief was landing on the deck/ The sun was setting/ behind a golden photo op.” But as Neil added elsewhere in the tune: “History is a cruel judge of overconfidence.”


When Bush’s jet landed on the aircraft carrier, American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded. That was over 4300 American,  and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi, fatalities ago.

More here.

I don't know if this was the worst moment of the entire post 9/11 era, but it's certainly a candidate.  It was certainly the highpoint for "American exceptionalism" and arrogance, Bush declaring victory just as the sectarian bloodbath in Iraq was getting warmed up.  It was also certainly the highpoint in US history for image trumping reality.  At the time, Americans loved this stunt, and, as the linked blog post observes and documents, the news media were cheering it on.  

I wonder if anybody who was inspired by it then feels like an idiot now.  They should.  The invasion was clearly in heavy violation of international law, clearly based on lies, and clearly fueled by the sense of national emasculation so many people felt after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, an attack which had absolutely nothing to do with Iraq.  No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, either.  And, even as Bush played dress-up for this massive photo op, it was quickly becoming clear that the occupation was a failure.

We were total chumps.  And we were fooled by a bland and ineffective rich frat boy playing army man.  So much for "American exceptionalism."