Right-Wing Media Strain To Portray Obama's Speech As A "Mission Accomplished" Moment
Research ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN
Following President Obama's speech announcing the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, right-wing media have strained to portray the announcement as a "mission accomplished" moment. However, Obama acknowledged that "huge challenges remain" in Afghanistan and "[w]e'll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we've made."
Right-Wing Media Call Obama's Speech A "Mission Accomplished" Moment
Ace Of Spades: "Obama's Mission Accomplished Speech." On his blog Ace of Spades, blogger Ace titled a short post on Obama's address, "Obama's Mission Accomplished Speech," and went on to write, "We fought this war, but I made all the right decisions." It was posted two minutes after President Obama began speaking. From Ace of Spades:
We fought this war, but I made all the right decisions.
Larry Sabato joked that this would be Obama's version of LBJ's "light at the end of the tunnel" speech.
Nailed it: [Ace of Spaces, 6/22/11, emphasis in the original]
Red State: "Mission Accomplished - Just [Don't] Ask How." A June 22 post on the conservative blog Red State had the subtitle, "Mission Accomplished - Just Don\'t [sic] Ask How." The post went on to state, "Whatever you do, though, don't forget tonight's declaration of success in a war whose purpose most Americans have long forgotten -- just don't ask how that success was achieved, how it's being defined, or how long it can be expected to last." [Red State, 6/22/11]
WSJ: "We Half Expected To See A 'Mission Accomplished' Banner Somewhere In The Background." A June 22 Wall Street Journal editorial stated:
President Obama delivered a remarkable speech last night, essentially unplugging the Afghanistan troop surge he proposed only 18 months ago and doing so before its goals have been achieved. We half expected to see a "mission accomplished" banner somewhere in the background. [Wall Street Journal, 6/22/11]
Fox & Friends Text: "Mission Accomplished?" The co-hosts of Fox News' Fox & Friends discussed Obama's speech several times during the June 23 edition of the show. During one segment, the following text aired on screen:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/23/11]
But Obama Acknowledged That "Huge Challenges Remain" In Afghanistan
Obama: "Of Course, Huge Challenges Remain ... We'll Have To Do The Hard Work Of Keeping The Gains That We've Made." From the text of Obama's June 22 address:
Of course, huge challenges remain. This is the beginning -- but not the end -- of our effort to wind down this war. We'll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we've made, while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government. And next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition. [White House, 6/22/11]
Obama: We Will "Build A Partnership With The Afghan People That Endures." Obama also acknowledged the ongoing work that must be done to "strengthen the Afghan government and security forces." From his speech:
We do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. So as we strengthen the Afghan government and security forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban. Our position on these talks is clear: They must be led by the Afghan government, and those who want to be a part of a peaceful Afghanistan must break from al Qaeda, abandon violence, and abide by the Afghan constitution. But, in part because of our military effort, we have reason to believe that progress can be made.
The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: No safe haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland or our allies. We won't try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures -- one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government. [White House, 6/22/11]
Right-Wing Media Have Previously Struggled To Label Other Moments As Obama Administration's "Mission Accomplished" Moment
Hannity Guest Karen Hanretty Declares Unemployment Rate To Be Obama's "Mission Accomplished Moment." On the June 18, 2010, edition of Fox News' Hannity, guest Karen Hanretty said of the unemployment rate: "It's laughable. This is their 'mission accomplished' moment. When Joe Biden goes out there and says, 'Look, we turned the economy around,' well, guess what the news is today in Nevada? Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country." [Fox News, Hannity, 6/18/10, via Media Matters]
Wash. Times: Obama Going To Ground Zero For A "Mission Accomplished Visit." In a May 4 editorial, The Washington Times called President Obama's then-upcoming Ground Zero visit following the death of Osama bin Laden a "'mission accomplished' visit" and "the first photo op of Mr. Obama's reelection campaign." [The Washington Times, 5/4/11, via Media Matters]