President Barack Obama gave the commencement speech for the West Point Class of 2010 this morning, highlighting successes in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also gave the class heartfelt advice on how to continue forward through hard times, especially those that are deploying to the warfronts in Iraq and Afghanistan: when they find trouble, “think of West Point.”
Obama announced that the combat mission in Iraq would be over this summer, thanks to the resilience of the military, and reaffirmed that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “necessary and just.” He also noted that the recent months have brought about more successes for the American military than recent years, even citing the failed Christmas and Times Square bombers as evidence Al-Qaeda and its allies are folding– “the pressure on networks like Al-Qaeda is forcing them to rely on terrorists with less time and space to train.”
He told the students he was humbled by their service, and stood before them especially humbled because he had not served. He thanked their parents for raising them, and them for their service, and affirmed that he did not have “any doubt” that they would succeed in their missions abroad. That said, he noted that the state of the world makes it “easy to give in to the belief sometimes that human progress is stalled,” and also let them on a little secret: the President feels uncertainty sometimes, too. “Along the way, I’m sure you’ve faced a few moments where you’ve asked yourself, ‘What am I doing here?’ I have those moments sometimes,” he told them.
Overall, the message was short, sweet, and positive. Graduating from a military academy into a war is a difficult place to be, but the President gives them their full support, and is entirely confident in their abilities.
Full video of the speech, in two parts, below:
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