Monday 24 September 2018

Trump defends ‘mission accomplished’ statement after strike on Syria

He added that he knew the media would “seize” on the phrase, but said it should be used often.

President Donald Trump (Susan Walsh/AP)
President Donald Trump (Susan Walsh/AP)

By Robert Burns, Associated Press

Donald Trump has defended his use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” to describe a US-led allied missile attack on Syria’s chemical weapons programme.

The US president said that “it is such a great military term, it should be brought back”.

In an early-morning tweet, President Trump said the strike was “perfectly carried out” and that “the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term “Mission Accomplished”.

He added that he knew the media would “seize” on the phrase, but said it should be used often.

He tweeted “Mission Accomplished” on Saturday after US, French and British planes and ships launched more than 100 missiles nearly unopposed by Syrian air defences.

While he declared success, the Pentagon said the bombing of three chemical-related facilities left enough others intact to enable the Assad government to use banned weapons against civilians if it chooses.

His choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W Bush following the US-led invasion of Iraq.

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President George W Bush in 2003 (J Scott Applewhite/AP)

President Bush addressed sailors on board a Navy ship in May 2003 alongside a “Mission Accomplished” banner, just weeks before it became apparent that Iraqis had organised an insurgency that tied down US forces for years.

The nighttime Syria assault was carefully limited to minimise civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Syria’s key ally, Russia, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.

The Pentagon said it gave no explicit warning. The US ambassador in Moscow, John Huntsman, said in a video, “Before we took action, the United States communicated with” Russia to “reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties”.

Press Association

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