The perfect photo-op has flopped. Engineered by the most image-conscious White House in history, the carrier landing portrayed Bush as master and commander, an ideal bookend to his spontaneous performance with a bullhorn in the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11. Instead, the hothouse tableau already sharply at odds with the reality in Iraq did even more damage to White House credibility last week. Asked at a news conference whether the "Mission Accomplished" banner had been prematurely boastful, the president backed away from it, saying it had been put up by the sailors and airmen of the Lincoln to celebrate their homecoming after toppling Saddam's regime.
I remember on my chat board back then, the resident right wingers were practically orgasmic over the Flight Deck Fiasco. "What a MAN! What a LEADER! Somebody get me to a cold shower quick!"
I had to admit that if what Bush was saying was accurate, this was his Reifenstahl moment -- the perfect symbol of the warrior king right down to the stuffed crotch.
But I'd been predicting since before the shooting started that this would devolve to a guerrilla war and I take no pleasure in being right about this.
Such is the risk of doing your end-zone dance on the five-yard line, but given the arrogance of Bush and the whole gang, it wasn't surprising. And like in all the good Greek tragedies, it's come back to bite him.
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