Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mission Not Accomplished

Four years ago today, our commander-in-chief spoke from the deck of the aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
The president’s assertions turned out not to be the case: Far more Americans have died in Iraq since May 1, 2003 than died in the weeks before. The U.S. and its dwindling alliance have not prevailed. As for securing and rebuilding Iraq, it’s not proceeding according to plan.
We were told we would be greeted as liberators. We were told Iraq was aiding and abetting al Qaeda. We were told that Saddam Hussein was preparing to deploy weapons of mass destruction. We were told that by toppling Saddam Hussein, we would set in motion forces of freedom and democracy that would transform the region. Later, after things got messy, we were told that the insurgency was in its last throes.
The truth is that Iraq had no WMDs. The truth is that there was no operational link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. The truth is that Iraq had not attacked us, was not planning to attack us, and did not have the means to attack us.
The truth is that we are now caught in a bloody sectarian conflict that has nothing to do with our national interest. The truth is that the Iraq debacle has not transformed the region into a garden of peace and democracy. The truth is that, instead of strengthening our hand in the Middle East, our presence in Iraq underscores our weakness in the region and around the world.
The truth is that more than 3,000 of our young men and women have paid for this folly with their lives, and more bear the cost of broken bodies, brain damage and official neglect.
Today, Congress will deliver a bill that would set a timetable for bringing U.S. troops home. As the New York Times reports, Senate majority leader Harry Reid once again urged our stubborn president to take this opportunity to change course:
“We ask him again to listen to the American people and his own military experts,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. “We ask that he finally summon the courage to admit his mistakes and take the steps we propose to begin to heal the grave wounds he has caused.”


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