George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” Sign to Make the Presidential Library?


In an otherwise softball-filled sit-down with Jay Leno, former President George W. Bush said he regretted speaking about the Iraq war in front of a banner that read “Mission Accomplished” (in addition to flying over the Hurricane Katrina damage and some “blunt” language). He probably says the same thing in his new book, Decision Points, because for a few weeks now he’s only been able to speak in excerpts and plugs. Now those in charge of W.’s president library are deciding whether displaying the sign is a good idea.

The library in Dallas broke ground on Tuesday, but according to USA Today, no decision has been reached about the banner, which is now sitting in storage.

Lowe, who is employed by the National Archives, a federal agency, said the military shipped several items, including the banner, to the archives in 2005. About six months ago, the archives transferred the banner to the temporary site for the library in Lewisville, Texas. The permanent library, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, will be on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas. It is to open in 2013.

Before the speech in 2003, Bush landed on the aircraft carrier in a jet and walked on its deck in a flight suit. He thanked the troops, whom he said had prevailed in Iraq. Bush disavowed responsibility for the banner in October of that year, saying his staffers weren’t “ingenious” enough to have arranged it.

Obviously if a presidential museum were actually dedicated to history, like they say, instead of used as a shrine at which to hold up icons, the banner should be included. “Key events and critical decisions will be examined in engaging, interactive exhibits,” says literature about the library. But for context, the Nixon Foundation has continued to block a Watergate exhibit at the Nixon Library. We all get how post-presidency works and, to be frank, no one wants to look at the disgusting thing. So here’s a simple tip: don’t. We’ve seen enough.