Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump defends 'mission accomplished' statement after strike on Syria

Trump defends 'mission accomplished' statement after strike on Syria

'I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back.

Ari Fleischer, Bush's press secretary at the time of the speech, said on Twitter that "Um".

"A perfectly executed strike last night", Trump said in a Twitter message. Standing on the deck of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, he proudly announced "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" as a banner that read "Mission Accomplished" hung in the background.

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".

However, Syria claimed that 110 missiles were launched in the strikes, and the country's defense systems intercepted majority.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was little doubt the Syrian government used a barrel bomb - large containers packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - to deliver the chemicals at Douma.

The coordinated missile attack by allied forces hit suspected weapons sites in an operation Trump said was meant to deter Assad from using chemical arms in future. He also noted that while administration officials had notified congressional leaders Friday just before the strike, "they didn't supply the evidence" of chemical use. Instead, a coordinated and prolonged campaign to militarily destroy ISIS has been the focus of the US intervention, and Trump has vowed to withdraw the USA from the conflict once this has been achieved; to the dismay of many of his military advisors.


Trump's tweet Saturday appeared to be referring to the success of the strike, but whether or not the Assad regime will be deterred from using chemical weapons remains to be seen.

Haley said the three US goals for accomplishing its mission are making sure chemical weapons are not used in a way that could harm USA national interests, defeating the Islamic State group and having a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

No military response from any actors in Syria - including Iran and Russian Federation - has been seen, the Pentagon said. "I believe that we took the heart of it out with the attacks. But..."

Although officials said the singular target was Assad's chemical weapons capability, his air force, including helicopters he allegedly has used to drop chemical weapons on civilians, were spared.

The U.S. -led operation won broad Western support.

Former Bush White House staffers tweeted that Trump should have avoided the phrase.

Trump's U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, told the session that the president has made it clear that if Assad uses poison gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded". The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity.

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