Moments after the landing, the president, wearing a green flight suit and holding a white helmet, got off the plane, saluted those on the flight deck and shook hands with them. Above him, the tower was adorned with a big sign that read, "Mission Accomplished."
Bush said he did take a turn at piloting the craft.
"Yes, I flew it. Yeah, of course, I liked it," said Bush, who was an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard after graduating from Yale University in 1968.
"Great job," said Bush, a wide smile stretched across his face as he posed for photographs with crew members who gathered to get their pictures with the president. He draped his arms around some, slapped the backs of others and shook hands with many.
Good times, good times. Of course, in retrospect this part was a little creepy:
Back in Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney watched from his West Wing office as Bush landed. "He watched with a big smile," a Cheney aide said.
And since we’re looking back on that Thursday May 1 of so long ago, we have to remember that pesky banner. You know, the one the White House first claimed they had nothing to do with, then later had to admit that, heh heh, they did. Ooops.
They’re still trying to run from that one, a feat made more difficult by the fact that the whole thing was such an obvious staged publicity stunt to begin with:
Despite initial claims that the ship was too far out to sea for a helicopter landing, forcing the president to use a jet, the Lincoln was actually within helicopter range when Mr. Bush arrived.
The jet flight was much more dramatic than a helicopter arrival would have been, as the president took the control stick for part of the flight and emerged on deck wearing a flight suit and helmet.
In addition, Pentagon officials told the Washington Post that after the president's speech, the Lincoln waited offshore for hours while he slept rather than heading into port after its 10-month voyage.
Wow, we sure didn’t hear that in the CNN coverage of the time. Imagine if a Democratic president had done that--I mean, we’re still hearing
stories fairy tales about how President Clinton once shut down two LAX runways for an hour while he got a haircut. President Bush prevented an entire aircraft carrier that had been deployed for 10 months from going into port while in view of land? Support the troops my ass!
Yesterday Dana Perino put the latest spin on banner-gate:
"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, 'Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission,'" said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Oh, give me a break, Dana! No one buys that bullshit! We all know you people thought the war was over! Everyone thought the war was won: Chris Matthews, Wolf Blitzer and the whole media parade thought it was over and our troops would be coming home. That was the point of hanging a banner on a fucking aircraft carrier bringing troops home to begin with. Just admit you screwed up, already.
So, since President Bush declared "Major Combat Operations In Iraq Have Ended.” (and that's a quote), we’ve lost another 3,900 U.S. troops, wasted billions of dollars that we could have spent at home, and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or wounded.
This is winning? I hate to see what losing looks like.