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Mission Accomplished?

Via Seamus, comes this email from a Navy Lieutenant who was aboard the USS Lincoln during the visit from President Bush.  Yesterday was the anniversary of President Bush's speech about the end of major combat operations, and it was covered by some the media as the infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech.

Here is what Lieutenant Paul Updike has to say about it:

I thought you might like to hear the rest of the story that the media misinformed the nation about on what "Mission Accomplished"  was all about.

My name is Paul Updike and I served aboard  the USS Abraham Lincoln during the  Iraq War.  I would like to comment specifically about the controversy that surrounds the displaying of the "Mission  Accomplished"  banner during the time of the President's visit aboard my ship.  It is my sincere hope that I will be able to clear up what appears to be a great misunderstanding about the true meaning behind the banner.

The "Mission Accomplished" banner was created to celebrate the return of the USS Abraham Lincoln to her home port in Everett, WA after an extended 11 month cruise.  We were happy and proud to return to our families after such a long time away.  The average cruise length for a naval vessel at that time was normally around 6 months.  Our mission during Operation Iraqi freedom was accomplished with overwhelming success and thus this banner was created and proudly  displayed to represent the USS Abraham Lincoln's individual accomplishments during the war.  It certainly did not mean  that the American mission as a whole had been accomplished in  Iraq.

The media stationed aboard our vessel clearly understood the truth behind the banner yet fed the public a twisted version of this truth.  I honestly believe that those opposed to the war saw an opportunity to spin the truth about the banner in order to attack the President.  As an officer aboard the ship at that time, I found it to be hurtful and insulting that the media would  use our specific accomplishments as a platform to attack our Commander-in-Chief.  The President's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln was a great honor to those of us serving aboard her at the time.  It is shameful and reprehensible to see the tremendous spin that has been placed on this great event.  I was proud to serve my country and I will always support my Commander-in-Chief.  God bless America.

Yours very respectfully,

Paul Updike