It remains one of the proudest moments in American history, and it was only three years ago today.
On May 1, 2003, the president piloted a military jet onto an aircraft carrier and told a cheering crowd that we had won the war in Iraq.
"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed," President George W. Bush said to wild applause.
The American media did its usual careful investigation of the president's bold claims and then announced to the world that he was totally right.
But in this crazy world we live in where "victory" so often means "pathetic failure," winning the war in Iraq somehow ended up meaning losing the war in Iraq.
On May 1 of 2003, America had lost 139 troops to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Today that number stands at 2,400.
In the three years since we won the war, 17,000 more soldiers have been wounded -- many of them mangled beyond recognition and doomed to live their remaining days without arms or legs.
The victory pushed "insurgent attacks" up from eight per day back in 2003 to 75 per day in 2006.
Three years after the war was won, the American price tag has risen from about $80 billion to more than $320 billion, and the commander in chief has dropped from a 70% approval rate to disapproval ratings unseen since the last criminal days of Richard Nixon's presidency.
Almost all Americans now believe the president intentionally lied about every aspect of the Iraq invasion and occupation. And a dismal 9% believes the mission was accomplished, according to a new CNN poll.
But there's some good news for the president on this third anniversary of the victory in Iraq: Despite everything that's happened and everything that's known, he remains a free man and still occupies the White House. Amazingly, Bush and his team have yet to be removed from office, prosecuted, convicted of treason, imprisoned or executed.
And that's a victory, too.
Time will tell
The administration's few remaining supporters point out that "victory" is often in the eye of the beholder.
For the defense contractors and oil companies, America's defeat has actually been a significant win! After all, somebody has to profit off a $320 billion fiasco, and the companies that produce and sell weapons and petroleum have made a fortune on the so-called "lost war."