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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Reid, Durbin Rip Bush on 'Mission Accomplished' Anniversary

"Mission Accomplished" has turned out to be one of the most mortifying events for Bush of his entire presidency. For normal people, the banner, the jet landing, the flightsuit, the codpiece — for the pure irony and idiocy of it all — are among the most gratifying moments in the long hard slog known as the Bush years because they prove we were right, even then, when 87% of the country thought he was George the Infallible. Like Senators Reid and Durbin, let's never ever let him live it down. Let's put up our own banner that says, "We told you so." -hl

AlterNet.org

Senate Democrats on Monday observed the three-year anniversary of George W. Bush's disingenuous "mission accomplished" extravaganza in 2003 by ripping the president and his administration on the Senate floor.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) started the day by dramatically reading the names of 16 young Nevadans who have died in Team Bush's Iraq war and calling the day "a sad anniversary of a sorry public relations stunt."

"I mention our troops and these fallen Nevadans for a reason. Today, our country marks an unfortunate anniversary: the 3-year anniversary of President Bush's donning a flight suit to declare 'Mission Accomplished' in Iraq," said Reid. "President Bush's dramatic landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln will be marked historically as a public relations stunt gone horribly wrong."

"Since President Bush rendered his judgment of 'Mission Accomplished,' more than 2,200 American military are now dead, about 20,000 have since been wounded, many hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money expended, and now Iraq is engaged in a civil war, the degree of which is unknown and debatable."

Calling Bush's theatrics on the USS Abraham Lincoln a "…metaphor for the Bush White House's misleading and dangerous incompetence," he invoked Bush's primary purpose for pretending to fly a plane onto the deck of the aircraft carrier, which was to announce that "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.''

Reid then pointed out the 156 weeks that have passed since that declaration, that Iraq is as unstable and insecure as ever and that our actions there have made the entire world a more dangerous place.


"According to the State Department, the number of terrorist attacks has risen sharply around the world," continued Reid. "More than 11,000 terrorist attacks occurred worldwide last year - a 250 percent increase from the year before. Iraq -- a country where Osama bin Laden had few inroads before the war -- has become a training ground and launching pad for international terrorism."

Reid then lashed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for making statements last month that any suggestions by Democrats that the war effort has gone seriously off course were .."amusing almost."

"Amusing? Amusing, Mr. Secretary? Really?" said Reid. "How unfortunate. A failed plan with failed, manipulated intelligence taking us to war. We need a new direction because our troops, their families, and the American people cannot wait for the next President to be elected to do what is right."

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) took to the floor later Monday to reiterate much of what Reid had said and to take Bush to task for so obviously misleading the nation on May 1, 2003.

"Since the President made that speech, this is the grim record. Since that day, over the last 3 years, 2,262 Americans have been killed and 17,202 Americans have been wounded," said Durbin. "This occurred after the President announced to the world that our mission was accomplished."

Invoking comments from all of the retired military Generals who have recently called for Rumsfeld's resignation — including General Paul Eaton, who stated that Rumsfeld "…is not competent to lead America's Armed Forces" — Durbin again called for Rumsfeld to resign.

"I have said publicly, and I will repeat it. I believe Secretary Rumsfeld, for the good of this Nation, should leave as Secretary of Defense," said Durbin, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat. "I believe this for the same reason these generals do. I do not believe he can lead us to the right conclusion in Iraq, and we will pay a heavy price if we do not acknowledge that."

"We need a new direction. We need new leadership. We need to have someone in the Department of Defense and a strategy that will lead to our troops coming home, the sooner the better."