- President Donald Trump is getting dragged on Twitter for using the phrase, “Mission Accomplished,” following a series of military strikes on Syria.
- People are pointing out parallels between Trump’s statement and when former President George W. Bush stood in front of a banner that read, “Mission Accomplished,” just six weeks after the US invaded Iraq in 2003.
- The Iraq War dragged on for years after, and the banner went on to symbolize the US’s misjudgment in what became the Bush presidency’s defining foreign policy disaster.
- Following Trump’s tweet, Ari Fleischer, who was Bush’s press secretary at the time of the 2003 speech, said, “Um…I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words.”
He then tacked on: “Mission Accomplished!”
Twitter promptly seized on the statement, drawing comparisons to an infamous May 2003 speech in which President George W. Bush proudly declared the end of a major US presence in Iraq while standing on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner that said, “Mission Accomplished.”
Bush’s speech came just six weeks after the US invaded Iraq, but the war dragged on for years after, costing thousands of lives and billions in taxpayer money. The “Mission Accomplished” banner went on to symbolize the US’s misjudgment on the issue, and the Iraq War became the defining foreign policy disaster of the Bush presidency.
Twitter users, including Ari Fleischer, who was Bush’s press secretary at the time of his speech, wasted no time pointing out the parallels between then and now, particularly as it relates to the US’s involvement in another Middle East conflict.
The US, France, and the UK carried out Friday’s joint operation in response to a devastating chemical weapons attack in the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb of Douma, which killed dozens of people earlier this month. The attack is believed to have been ordered by the Syrian government, spearheaded by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Friday’s military campaign targeted research facilities that are thought to have been involved in the production of chemical weapons.
The Pentagon said Saturday that the strikes struck at the “heart” of Syria’s chemical weapons program, but officials added that Assad may still have “residual” capabilities.
The operation drew a swift and harsh response from Russia, a key Syrian ally. Russia has several military bases and troops in Syria, and the US said Friday that it did not coordinate with or notify Russia of the strikes.
One major concern the US had was that the Syria strikes would prompt a direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow, whose relations have spiraled downward in recent months. But the Pentagon said on Saturday that their worry had been eased by the fact that there were no Russian casualties as a result of Friday’s military campaign.
Following the strikes, Russia called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the operation. The body is set to meet on Saturday.