NPR logo Bush 'Mission Accomplished' Sign: To Display Or Not Is Question

Bush 'Mission Accomplished' Sign: To Display Or Not Is Question

President George W. Bush and his famous sign.  J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

One of the most famous signs in American political history was in the news this week with the USA Today report that the relevant officials are considering whether to display the "Mission Accomplished" sign at the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

A strong case can certainly be made for giving the banner a prominent place in the library. The sign, the backdrop for Bush's appearance aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in May 2003, came to symbolize the bad assumptions Bush and his national security team made about Iraq before the invasion and during the occupation.

In fact, now that the word is out that the National Archives has the sign, it's hard to see how they would be able not to display it.

In his interview with NBC News' Matt Lauer, the former president certainly didn't run from the sign as one of the better known errors of his time in the White House:

“No question it was a mistake,” Bush told Matt Lauer of the scene that still reverberated seven years later as the war raged on. “If I had to do it all over again, which you don't get to do when you're the president, you know, I’d have said, ‘Good going, men and women, great mission’ or something.”