The media never let President Bush live down the so-called "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 when the then-president declared an end of major combat operations in Iraq, even though Bush pointedly noted "Our mission continues. Al-Qaida is wounded, not destroyed....The war on terror is not over." But now that President Obama is earnestly trying to portray himself as the president who is once-and-for-all wrapping up the Iraq War, MSNBC is more than happy to give the commander-in-chief the benefit of the doubt.
"This president seems determined to deliver imagery of an organized exit" from Iraq, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell approvingly noted on today's Andrea Mitchell Reports right after watching live video of President Obama with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Iraqi prime minister is in Washington "for talks aimed at cementing U.S.-Iraqi relations in a new, postwar era," the Washington Post reported today, "kick[ing] off a week in which the administration will trumpet the imminent end of the war, and the fulfillment of Obama’s election pledge to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq."
"The nation has waited a long time for this moment," even though it's mostly symbolic, colleague Andrea Mitchell observed, adding it "isn't exactly a Mission Accomplished sign" but then suggested that nonetheless the president was facing "a [presidential] campaign" in which "a lot of pitfalls" like Iran and Syria as well as Iraq's "many, many challenges" could come back to haunt him.
"He's in the position of, in effect, trying to sell to the world and the region... that this exit is going to work, so for him to engage in the hypotheticals of what-if, what-if doesn't make any sense, especially at this stage" O'Donnell argued.
"Surely he's in meetings that are filled with the what-ifs and surely he has worries about the what-ifs and contingency notions about what they're going to have to do if some of the worst what-ifs occur," the Last Word host added.
The same could have been said of President Bush from May 1, 2003 until January 20, 2009, only the media were far too willing to use every opportunity to attack President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq in a crassly political and partisan manner.