1 May 2003

In what becomes known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declares that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

The “Mission Accomplished” speech was a televised address given by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, which was returning from combat operations in the Persian Gulf.

The speech was significant because it marked the end of major combat operations in the Iraq War, which had begun in March 2003. President Bush used the occasion to declare that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended” and to praise the efforts of U.S. military personnel in the region.

However, the speech became controversial in the years that followed, as the conflict in Iraq continued and the insurgency grew. Critics argued that the speech was premature and that it gave the false impression that the war had been won, when in fact it was far from over.

Furthermore, the “Mission Accomplished” banner that was displayed behind President Bush during the speech became a symbol of the administration’s overly optimistic and misguided approach to the war, and it was widely criticized for its hubris.