Looking Back At "Mission Accomplished"

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Speaking to reporters in Cleveland on this fifth anniversary of the famous "Mission Accomplished" banner, Senator John McCain claimed that he thought the now-comical banner was a bad idea at the time, but that President Bush should not be blamed for it. McCain is more right than most people know: There was much debate in the White House over what message to send with the banner. A number of alternate slogans were actually considered and then rejected, leaving "Mission Accomplished" as the ultimate compromise candidate. On a day when we recognize how much has actually gone wrong in the last five years, it's worth looking back at the other options and wondering what might have been:

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