Saturday, May 22, 2010


*** No matter how much good this guy does, them racist barking dogs will be at it all night long. What do you think galvanized this so-called Tea Party movement? The fact that a Black man, with Muslim roots, got into the 'White' House. How can I say such a thing? Take a look at the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-govt. rhetoric - it was not even this bad under Bush! God save America, I mean it. (Amen). MS ***


President Obama outlined a new national security strategy rooted in diplomatic engagement and international alliances on Saturday as he repudiated his predecessor’s emphasis on unilateral American power and the right to wage pre-emptive war.

Eight years after President George W. Bush came to the United States Military Academy here to set a new course for American security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Obama used the same setting to offer a revised doctrine, one that vowed no retreat against enemies while seeking “national renewal and global leadership.”

“Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system,” the president told graduating cadets. “But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation. We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t.”

Mr. Obama said the United States “will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well” while also trying to “build new partnerships and shape stronger international standards and institutions.” He added: “This engagement is not an end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times.”

The president’s address was intended not just for the 1,000 young men and women in gray and white uniforms in Michie Stadium who could soon face combat in Afghanistan or Iraq as second lieutenants in the Army, but also for an international audience that in some quarters grew alienated from the United States during the Bush era.

The contrasts between Mr. Bush’s address here in 2002 and Mr. Obama’s in 2010 underscored all the ways a wartime America has changed and all the ways it has not. This was the ninth class to graduate from West Point since hijacked passenger jets destroyed the World Trade Center and smashed into the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside. Most of those graduating on Saturday were 12 at the time.

When Mr. Bush addressed their predecessors, he had succeeded in toppling the Taliban government in Afghanistan and victory of sorts appeared at hand, even as he was turning his attention to a new front in Iraq. Forecasting a new generation of threats, Mr. Bush vowed not to stand by as they gathered. “If we wait for threats to fully materialize,” he said then, “we will have waited too long.”

As Mr. Obama took the stage on a mild, overcast day, the American war in Iraq was finally beginning to wind down as combat forces prepare to withdraw by August, but Afghanistan has flared out of control and tens of thousands of reinforcements are flowing there. Terrorists have made a fresh effort to strike on American soil as a new president tries to reformulate the nation’s approach to countering them.

“This war has changed over the last nine years, but it’s no less important than it was in those days after 9/11,” Mr. Obama said. Recalling his announcement here six months ago to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, he forecast difficult days ahead, but said, “I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan.”

Mr. Obama all but declared victory in Iraq, crediting the military but not Mr. Bush, who sent more troops in 2007. “A lesser Army might have seen its spirit broken,” Mr. Obama said. “But the American military is more resilient than that. Our troops adapted, they persisted, they partnered with coalition and Iraqi counterparts, and through their competence and creativity and courage, we are poised to end our combat mission in Iraq this summer.”

Mr. Obama attributed the failures of an effort to blow up a passenger jet approaching Detroit in December and of a car intended to explode in Times Square this month to the intense pursuit of radical groups abroad. “These failed attacks show that pressure on networks like Al Qaeda is forcing them to rely on terrorists with less time and space to train,” he said.

And he defended efforts to revise counterterrorism policies that have generated sharp criticism that he is weakening America’s defenses. “We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them,” he said. “We cannot succumb to division because others try to drive us apart.”