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Accomplished what?

May 1 marked five years since President Bush landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, declaring, under the banner “Mission Accomplished”: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” On that day, the toll of American dead in Iraq stood at 140. Today, the count exceeds 4,000. That moment, the president so full of himself, has become representative of a White House arrogant, unknowing and ill-prepared.

More, the scene has become emblematic of an attitude of loose optimism. Capture Saddam Hussein, and the tide would turn. Or hold elections. Or craft a constitution. Or launch the “surge,” which for all the “breathing space” achieved has yet to yield the necessary political reconciliation among Iraqis.

The strategy still amounts to waiting for Iraqis to do their part. What the Bush team failed to understand is how difficult that would prove in such a fractured country. Count the days, 1,874 since the president’s carrier declaration, and you revisit the concern: What has the Iraq mission accomplished overall, with Iran emboldened, American influence diminished – and most telling, al-Qaida and the Taliban regrouping in what has become a haven in western Pakistan, along the border with Afghanistan? …

– Akron Beacon Journal

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