The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Sunday, September 26, 2004


Say what?
President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."

When Bush gave his May 1 speech fewer than 150 Americans had died in the war. Since then more than 900 have died.
Hum hum hum.

Ok Bush said it on national television as a direct answer to a question. Thus, Karl Rove must have decided it polled well.

So what's the idea here? Are they going to try and frame not saying "mission accomplished" as giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Would you tell Peter Pan to stop clapping for Tink? Are you an America-hating pessimist!?!? (gasp!)

Or maybe it's about the battle of rhetoric. John Kerry seeks to undermine our efforts in Iraq by not pre-emptively calling the mission "accomplished" while standing on an aircraft carrier that's far out to sea just off the San Diego coastline. If he said "mission accomplished", then that would put the onus on the insurgency and Ba'athist remnants to show that the mission is not coomplished. But you can't prove a negative! Bush is just the kind of rhetorical tactician who understands this.

But seriously, this is an awful statement, and a highly regrettable one for Bush, both politically and overall. During his 1971 Senate testimony, John Kerry famously asked the panel how someone could be asked to be the last man to die in a war like the one in Vietnam. Perhaps this lets Bush off the hook, because over 900 troops have died since the "last man" according to his definition.

As of yet, I'll mute my optimism that this is the beginning of the end for Bush. But Kerry and the Democrats need to jump on this. And look, they already have.


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