The press never let George W. Bush forget about that “Mission Accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after Saddam Hussein was overthrown and his government’s military was routed in Iraq. They often pretend that Bush said it, or adopted it. He did no such thing, saying only that “Our mission continues.”
So while the press has come close to making a claim Bush 43 never made an article of faith, it is virtually ignoring something current U.S. President Barack Obama actually said, namely that, concerning ISIS, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Kristina Wong at the Hill is a rare exception. She reminded readers of what Obama said in January as she reported Thursday on how the nation’s defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely disagree (bolds are mine):
Defense secretary: ISIS threat ‘beyond anything we’ve seen’
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is beyond “just a terrorist group” and poses a greater threat than al Qaeda, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.
“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” he said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon about the Sunni militant group that has taken over territory in Iraq and Syria and earlier this week beheaded American journalist James Foley.
“ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,” Hagel said, using another acronym for the group. “They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded.”
“So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is that you take a cold, steely, hard look at it … and get ready,” he said.
Hagel’s remarks come months after President Obama dismissed ISIS, calling the group “JV”.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was possible to “contain” ISIS, but “not in perpetuity.”
“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated,” said Dempsey, who spoke alongside Hagel.
The Jerusalem Post correctly interpreted yesterday’s remarks as an admission by top administration officials that the nation is in greater danger of being struck by a major terrorist attack than it was 13 years ago — when it happened:
Pentagon warns: Islamic State threat greater than 9/11
“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said.
The Islamic State poses a greater threat to the United States than al Qaeda did leading up to September 11, 2001, top brass at the Pentagon acknowledged on Thursday, discussing the crisis fast unfolding in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, speaking to journalists with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. “We must prepare for everything.”
Hagel said that the “military prowess” of the Islamic State, coupled with its deep sources of financing, poses an unprecedented threat to the United States. The secretary was asked whether the group has a comparable operation capacity as Al Qaeda had in 2001.
General Dempsey added that, should the Islamic State succeed in forming a pseudo-state in the regions of Iraq and the Levant, the world would then be faced with an historic security challenge.
While what Dempsey was referring to could be seen as hypothetical, what Hagel said — “beyond anything we’ve seen (his words) and “poses an unprecedented threat” (JPosts’s words) — pertained to the here and now.
Three Google News searches on relevant terms (“Obama JV,” “Obama jayvee,” and “Obama junior varsity“; all not in quotes, sorted by date) demonstrate how light the coverage of Obama’s ignorant January comment in establishment press outlets has been. Similar searches at the Associated Press’s national site (here, here and here) come up empty, with one exception going back to August 8. A compendium of Obama comments through the years, walled off from stories actually covering current developments, opens as follows:
President Barack Obama’s comments on the United States’ role in Iraq have evolved over the years, up to his decision Thursday to renew military action.
They are good at covering for him, aren’t they? The fact is that Obama’s “jayvee” comment in January in his own words was just wrong, flippant, and arrogant — things that cannot be said about what Bush 43 never said about “Mission Accomplished.”
A footnote on “Mission Accomplished”:
… the ship’s crew, in collusion with White House staff, had strung a large banner bearing the words “mission accomplished” behind the spot where Bush was due to speak. The banner was seen on TV throughout the president’s speech. But Bush himself knew nothing about the decision to display the banner, and certainly did not approve it.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.