I find it odd that the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is slated to officially open on the tenth anniversary of the “Mission Accomplished” speech. Really. I don’t know why the Bush team chose this date. It can’t be coincidental. It’s not just any old anniversary, it’s the tenth anniversary, so I assume they must have a reason for choosing this date. Do they mean it as a cynical joke? Or is it a calculated move to try to override the memories of that speech, and replace its significance with a rewritten history, one in which that point in time was the end of major hostilities in Iraq and the beginning of a democratic society there?
I suspect that’s it. That speech marked a high point in Bush’s presidency, when, after wrangling us into a war that we didn’t have to initiate, we had nonetheless achieved our (the President’s) original objective, to force Saddam Hussein out of power; and we had not yet been subjected to the long years of entanglement in the bloody civil war that followed. It was not yet apparent that the touted weapons of mass destruction did not exist. In case you have forgotten the contents of that speech, here it is for your examination:
He actually looked pretty good there. If history had stopped then, Bush would appear to have been vindicated in launching that war. Saddam was gone and the future of Iraq looked relatively rosy. So, at the Presidential Library, history will be frozen at that point. As it says at the official site, the Library “serves as a resource for the study of the life and career of George W. Bush, while also promoting a better understanding of the Presidency, American history, and important issues of public policy.” I leave it to you to determine what meaning is intended by “better understanding.”