To declare “Mission Accomplished,” don’t you need to know what the mission is? That key step is still noticeably AWOL from Donald Trump’s victory dance on Syria.
We’re pulling our troops out … maybe.
We’re “establishing a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons” … maybe.
We’re “prepared to sustain this response” … maybe.
We’re … oh, never mind!
Which of these various possible missions have we now accomplished? Could be any. Could be none. And, oh, the sour odor of those two boastful words!
Didn’t Trump know that “Mission Accomplished” is a famous punchline from the endless war in Iraq, emblazoned on a banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, where George W. Bush announced on May 1, 2003, that “major combat operations” were done — one month after they’d started and 15 years too soon. Fifteen years and counting. Using those words now can be explained by an ignorance of history, an utter lack of caring or both. Pending further evidence, both is an excellent guess.
And then on Sunday morning, amid a flurry of tweets about James Comey, Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton, Andrew McCabe, Hillary Clinton, Michael Cohen, the FBI and the Fake News Media (a typical Sunday morning, in other words), Trump doubled down on his clueless use of “Mission Accomplished.”
“It is such a great Military term, it should be brought back,” the tweet-happy president typed. “Use often!”
Whatever the mission might or might not be.
For Trump, it’s more than one sloppy phrase, of course. It’s a way of approaching the world with no concern for facts, principles, insight or consistency. A constant gush of venom and ego. His fired FBI boss Comey, whose book arrives on Tuesday, is target No. 1 this time. He is a “Slimeball,” “Slippery,” “out of whack,” “not smart” and “WORST FBI director in history, by far!” — and on his way to “jail…jail.” I don’t have room here to quote the president’s other careless character assassinations. Just know this much: They accomplish nothing at all.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the author of a dozen books including “Trumpitude: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Join Ellis on Twitter @henican.