Mission Accomplished

bush action figure

Mission Accomplished‘ refers to a banner that was displayed during an address by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003. Bush stated at the time that major combat operations in Iraq were completed. While his statement did coincide with an end to the conventional phase of the war, his assertion—and the sign itself—became controversial with the growing violence of the Iraqi insurgency. The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after the speech. White House staff members produced the banner. For critics of the war, the photo-op became a symbol of the Bush administration’s unrealistic goals and perceptions of the conflict. The banner came to symbolize the irony of Bush giving a victory speech only a few weeks after the beginning of a long war.

Bush became the first sitting President to make an arrested landing in a fixed-wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier when he arrived at the USS Abraham Lincoln in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, dubbed ‘Navy One,’ as the carrier returned from combat operations in the Persian Gulf. He posed for photographs with members of the ship’s crew while wearing a flight suit. Opponents criticized the event as a theatrical and expensive stunt. Bush was a passenger of the plane (unlike his father, who was a Navy pilot, he was never trained to land on a carrier). According to the Navy, the banner referred specifically to the Abraham Lincoln’s 10-month deployment (which was the longest deployment of a carrier since the Vietnam War) and not the war itself.

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