Three years ago today, the President stood on the Flight Deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of a huge 'Mission Accomplished' banner and recounted the now infamous quote,
"My fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed..."
Since then, that 'mission' has changed numerous times, from its initial mission of preventing Saddam from threatening us with weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) to even finding anything relating to WMD's, to creating a stable democracy, to simply creating a stable government (democratic or not) to fighting the terrorists that flooded into the country to fight us. If Iraq is a battleground against terrorists its because we jumped into it and they came swarming in (rip into a beehive and you'll soon find yourself in a battle against bees too). And of course that explanation ignores the fact that the majority of insurgents in Iraq are still Iraqis, who are defending their country against a foreign invader (a sentiment that most Americans don't seem to 'get,' probably because we haven't had any sizable foreign occupation of American soil since the war of 1812, or maybe the end of reconstruction after the 1876 election, if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line.) The number of foreign fighters in Iraq has never been estimated at more than a few hundred.
And three years later? There have been a number of admissions by the administration that they made 'errors.' And also more and more evidence of obvious incompetence-- most recently yesterday, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that his advice that many more troops would be needed during the occupation phase was brushed off. Condoleeza Rice, his successor, said that the administration made this decision after consulting with the generals on the ground-- but that claim rings hollow considering that Eric Shinseki, the general originally slated with planning this, gave the same advice as Powell did to Donald Rumsfeld and was 'retired.' This meant that of course the generals remaining agreed after this example-- if they wanted to keep their jobs that is. They adapted and became 'yes men' (one reason why a number are speaking out now that they've been able to retire voluntarily.) But to point fingers at them now and blame them for the bad decisions of an administration that didn't want to hear any point of view except those which validated their own is a particular characteristic of bad leadership.
What is really amazing about the three year anniversary is that 9% of Americans believe that we have in fact accomplished our mission in Iraq. Call them the 'core Bush supporters.'
At least it's nice to know that 91% of America still has at least some grasp on reality.