After Syria Attacks, Trump Boasts “Mission Accomplished”

Ever heard that one before?

President Donald Trump speaks in the White House in Washington, Friday, April 13, 2018.Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Donald Trump mimicked former President George W. Bush in a tweet Saturday, declaring “Mission Accomplished.”

The United States and allies launched missile strikes Friday night on Syrian targets in an effort to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the attacks targeted a scientific research center near Damascus and a suspected chemical weapons storage facility and a storage facility, both near Homs.

In a televised address on May 1, 2003, abroad the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, a few months after the invasion of Iraq, Bush emerged from a jet wearing a flight suit and gave a speech declaring that “in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” A large banner with the words “Mission Accomplished” hung behind him. The speech drew extensive criticism as U.S. involvement in Iraq deepened over the next several year, and casualties mounted. 

President George W. Bush in 2003.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Trump’s Saturday tweet came well before it was clear if the strikes had affected Assad’s ability or willingness to use chemical weapons. The U.S. had launched missile strikes against Syria in 2017 in a response to a prior suspected chemical attack. 

As a candidate Trump generally claimed that he would avoid military entanglement in the Middle East and denounced Bush’s invasion of Iraq, claiming falsely to have opposed that war at the time. ADuring President Obama’s administration, Trump said he opposed U.S. military involvement in Syria. “We should stay the hell out of Syria,” he tweeted in 2013. 

The strike on Syria is the latest sign of Trump’s shift toward the hawkish views favored by many former Bush advisers. He dismissed National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in favor of John Bolton, who aggressively backed war with Iraq while serving under Bush, and who has urged preemptive attacks on Iran and North Korea. Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who opposed ending a nuclear agreement with Iran, in favor of a more hawkish nominee, CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White defended Trump’s tweet on Saturday. “It was mission accomplished,” White said. “We hit all our targets. It was a successful mission.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate