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Just now in an interview with CNN's John King, First Lady Laura Bush answered a question about her husband's infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech of May 1, 2003, by saying that (paraphrasing) "the fact is that the mission had been accomplished for those aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.  Their job was complete, and they were coming home."

Holy shit, so that "Mission Accomplished" banner was exclusively intended for just those on that aircraft carrier?

The flight suit, the G.I. Joe entrance, the television cameras, none of this was intended to speak to the rest of us in any way?

Wow.  Well, with this new perspective in mind, join me on the flip for a revised edition of selected excerpts from the President's "Mission Accomplished" address.  

["Newly understood" text in italics, Exclusivity-inferring emphasis added in bold to pre-existing text.]

---
"Thank you. Thank you all on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln very much.  

Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, major combat operations in Iraq have ended for you only. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed, if we assume that everyone in the United States and all of our allies are on board this vessel right now, as I say these words.

And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.  THEY still have shit to do.  But you're done.

In this battle, we who are present here right now have fought for the cause of liberty and for the peace of the world outside the confines of this ship. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment, at least your part of it, which as I said, is now completed, yet it is you, the members of the United States military on this boat, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln made this day possible.

Because of you, and you only, our nation is more secure. Because of exclusively you the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.

Your part of Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen before, particularly from you.

From distant bases or ships at sea- well, this one, anyway- we sent planes and missiles that could destroy an enemy division or strike a single bunker. Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground in one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history.  You had something to do with that, and now you're done.

You have shown the world the skill and the might of this particular part of the American armed forces.

This nation thanks all of the members of our coalition who joined in a noble cause and who may be standing or sitting within the immediate vicinity here, whether on this vessel or on that coastline over there. We thank the armed forces of the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland who shared in the hardships of war and who all apparently managed to fit onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. We thank all of the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in the liberation of their own country, which is sure to enjoy smooth sailing from here on out, thanks to you here today.  Heh.  Get it?  `Smooth sailing'?

And tonight, I have a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld, for General Franks and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States and serve on the USS Abraham Lincoln: America is grateful for a job well done.

...

Our mission continues. But not your mission.  Y'all are done. Al Qaida is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people. The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger.

The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. You folks can be idle, though.  Take a break.  Have a snack.  I'm gonna call y'all 'American Idles.'  Heheheh.  Funny cuz it's true.  Our government has taken unprecedented measures to defend the homeland and we will continue- without your help, cuz you're finished- to hunt down the enemy before he can strike.

The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless. Just kidding.  It's endless.  We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide.  And it's coming right for us!  Heh.  Just kiddin' again.  We rule.

No act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or alter their fate. Their cause is lost, as far as you on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln are concerned; free nations will press on to victory.

Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home. And that is your direction tonight.  Yours, and yours alone.  I am in no way referring to the entirety of the U.S. military here, nor the forces of our allies, and I reject any suggestion that this speech is intended for anyone but you.  

After service in the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of war, after 100,000 miles on the longest carrier deployment in recent history, you are homeward bound.  See?  This paragraph doesn't even need clarification.  Just talkin' `bout you!

Some of you will see new family members for the first time; 150 babies were born while their fathers were on the Lincoln. Your families are proud of you, and your nation will welcome you.  How could anyone believe that I'm talking about anyone else here?  The nerve of some people.

...

All of you, all in this generation of our military, have taken up the highest calling of history: You were defending your country and protecting the innocent from harm.  But you're done now.  I think I've made that point clear.

And wherever you go within the continental United States, which is where you will stay forevermore, you carry a message of hope, a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, come out; and to those in darkness, be free.'

Thank you for serving our country and our cause.  Now go the hell home, but don't tell anyone else I said you could go.

May God bless you all on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. And may God continue to bless America."  
---

Originally posted to J R Hand on Wed May 03, 2006 at 11:22 AM PDT.

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