Saturday, May 27, 2006

President Bush's Commencement Address at West Point

President Bush delivered the 2006 commencement address today at the United States Military Academy, West Point. For the transcript of the speech, click here. Bush looked back to earlier existential threats to American national security to highlight previous challenges graduates of the Academy have met. The speech draws on Cold War history, and especially the experience of President Truman in combatting Soviet expansionism. Here's an excerpt:

Today, at the start of a new century, we are again engaged in a war unlike any our nation has fought before -- and like Americans in Truman's day, we are laying the foundations for victory. (Applause.) The enemies we face today are different in many ways from the enemy we faced in the Cold War. In the Cold War, we deterred Soviet aggression through a policy of mutually assured destruction. Unlike the Soviet Union, the terrorist enemies we face today hide in caves and shadows -- and emerge to attack free nations from within. The terrorists have no borders to protect, or capital to defend. They cannot be deterred -- but they will be defeated. (Applause.) America will fight the terrorists on every battlefront, and we will not rest until this threat to our country has been removed. (Applause.)

While there are real differences between today's war and the Cold War, there are also many important similarities. Like the Cold War, we are fighting the followers of a murderous ideology that despises freedom, crushes all dissent, has territorial ambitions, and pursues totalitarian aims. Like the Cold War, our enemies are dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and lack the resolve to defend our way of life. Like the Cold War, our enemies believe that the innocent can be murdered to serve a political vision. And like the Cold War, they're seeking weapons of mass murder that would allow them to deliver catastrophic destruction to our country. If our enemies succeed in acquiring such weapons, they will not hesitate to use them, which means they would pose a threat to America as great as the Soviet Union.

Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)
Like previous generations, history has once again called America to great responsibilities, and we're answering history's call with confidence. We're confronting new dangers with new determination, and laying the foundations for victory in the war on terror.

In this new war, we have set a clear doctrine. After the attacks of September the 11th, I told a joint session of Congress: America makes no distinction between the terrorists and the countries that harbor them. If you harbor a terrorist, you are just as guilty as the terrorists and you're an enemy of the United States of America. (Applause.) In the months that followed, I also made clear the principles that will guide us in this new war: America will not wait to be attacked again. We will confront threats before they fully materialize. We will stay on the offense against the terrorists, fighting them abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

In this new war, we have acted boldly to confront new adversaries. When the Taliban regime in Afghanistan tested America's resolve, refusing our just demands to turn over the terrorists who attacked America, we responded with determination. Coalition forces drove the Taliban from power, liberated Afghanistan, and brought freedom to 25 million people. (Applause.) In Iraq, another tyrant chose to test America's resolve. Saddam Hussein was a dictator who had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction, he sponsored terrorists, invaded his neighbors, abused his people, deceived international inspectors, and refused to comply with more than a dozen United Nations resolutions. (Applause.) When the United Nations Security Council gave him one final chance to disclose and disarm, or face serious consequences, he refused to take that final opportunity. So coalition forces went into Iraq and removed his cruel regime. And today, Iraq's former dictator is on trial for his crimes -- and America and the world are better off because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. (Applause.)

In this new war, we have helped transform old adversaries into democratic allies. Just as an earlier generation of Americans helped change Germany and Japan from conquered adversaries into democratic allies, today a new generation of Americans is helping Iraq and Afghanistan recover from the ruins of tyranny. In Afghanistan, the terror camps have been shut down, women are working, boys and girls are going to school, and Afghans have chosen a president and a new parliament in free elections. In Iraq, the people defied the terrorists and cast their ballots in three free elections last year. And last week, Iraqis made history when they inaugurated the leaders of a new government of their choosing, under a constitution that they drafted and they approved. When the formation of this unity -- with the formation of this unity government, the world has seen the beginning of something new: a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East. (Applause.) Difficult challenges remain in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But America is safer, and the world is more secure, because these two countries are now democracies -- and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace. (Applause.)

In this new war, we have forged new alliances, and transformed old ones, for the challenges of a new century. After our nation was attacked, we formed the largest coalition in history to fight the war on terror. More than 90 nations are cooperating in a global campaign to dry up terrorist financing, to hunt down terrorist operatives, and bring terrorist leaders to justice. Nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that once turned a blind eye to terror are now helping lead the fight against it. And since September the 11th, 2001, our coalition has captured or killed al Qaeda managers and operatives in over two dozen countries, and disrupted a number of serious al Qaeda terrorist plots, including plots to attack targets inside the United States. Our nation is more secure because we have rallied the world to confront this threat to civilization. (Applause.)
President Bush's also spoke at West Point's 2002 commencement ceremony. That speech forms one of the founding documents of the Bush Doctrine, the administation's foreign policy program advocating preventive action toward potential aggressors against the United States.


theghostpainter said...

I invite you to visit the red room at DSL Broadbands...Join the rest of centrists and conservatives who like to attack the liberal left...You have a real good looking page too...

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks Ghost Painter. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

I invite you to crash a funeral for a dead soldier and read your crap so his parents can know he never died in vain. If you are for real then you are a travesty. You should be kept away from impressionable kids. Why don't you drag your ass over to Iraq to fight for this freedom you speak of. That's what my male grandparents did in WW2. They signed up. Or didn't yours?

Donald Douglas said...

Wizz Grunt:

One does not have to be a member of the military to be thankful for the peace and liberty we enjoy. I invite you, sir, to comment freely on my blog, because I respect your right to speak your mind. But you disrespect that right with really cheap, name-calling shots such as this. You've got no guts, buddy. In any case, should you return to Burkean Reflections, mind your manners -- that would really show my readers how tough you are.

Anonymous said...

Hey dude. A guy poses with a purple shirt and gets all good fella tough. Get over to Iraq and put your guts where your yackity BS mouth is. Certainly freedom needs more blood and brains in the field with so many soldiers rotated back in both 2 and three times. You're a chickenhawk pansy ass who lets impoverished and undereducated kids die in a classic poverty draft for a landgrabbing war while you sit back and do nothing but sit glued to your blog sitemeter stats and hope the people who employ you don't catch you saying anything that can be remotely construed as anti-white.

So, aside from blogsoldiers and blogexplosion, how many east coast talent scouts have the beig leaguers of academia sent out your way?

Censure away, that's what minions do when they're not porno or ego surfing.

Donald Douglas said...

That's it? That's all you got? More name-calling? What's your problem, big guy? The Bush agenda got you down? You're unhappy about some "classic poverty draft for a landgrabbing war?" Wake up! It's an all volunteer service, champ. But you did your stint, right? Or your grandparents did theirs? Whose didn't? My family served -- my dad during WWII and my father-in-law during the Korean War. I signed up for selective service when I turned eighteen. Your family's service is appreciated, in any case, no matter how much you wish to attack me for supporting our current deployments. That said, send me the link to your blog. Let's see what smart-alecky stuff you're spouting elsewhere on the web. Learn to attack the message, man, not the messenger. Besides, anonymous ad hominem attacks are cowardly.