News / USA

    Obama Addresses West Point Grads

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Kent Klein

    President Barack Obama says he is confident the United States will succeed in the war in Afghanistan, but that it needs the commitment of its allies to do so.  The president spoke Saturday to graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, many of whom will soon go to war.

    In his commencement address, President Obama told the cadets he believes the nature of the war in Afghanistan has changed since it began in 2001, but that it is no less important today.

    "There will be difficult days ahead," said President Obama.  "We will adapt, we will persist, and I have no doubt that together with our Afghan and international partners, we will succeed in Afghanistan."

    This was Mr. Obama's second visit to the academy at West Point, New York, where in December he announced that he would send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

    Most of the 1,000 graduates will serve as Army second lieutenants, many of them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Mr. Obama said in those conflicts and elsewhere, U.S. military will require cooperation from the nation's allies.

    "The burdens of this century cannot fall on our soldiers alone," he added.  "It also cannot fall on American shoulders alone.  Our adversaries would like to see America sap its strength by overextending our power.  And in the past, we have always had the foresight to avoid acting alone."

    Some NATO allies have questioned their commitment to the Afghan war.  The government of the Netherlands collapsed in February after the prime minister tried to keep Dutch forces in Afghanistan from returning home this year.  Also, Canada plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan next year.

    But President Obama said fighting terrorism is as important now as when the Afghan war began in the days after the September, 2001 terrorist attacks.  

    "Al-Qaida and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history," said Obama.  "They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us."

    Fierce fighting is expected in the coming months, when the U.S. and its allies start an offensive in Kandahar province, the Taliban's birthplace.  But Mr. Obama told the West Point graduates that Americans have faced stiff challenges before.

    "We are the United States of America, and we have repaired our union, and faced down fascism, and outlasted communism," said Mr. Obama.  "We have gone through turmoil.  We have gone through civil war, and we have come out stronger, and we will do so once more."  

    The president said a fundamental part of U.S. global strategy is to live up to the nation's principles and support basic human rights.

    "When an individual is being silenced, we aim to be her voice," he added.  "Where ideas are suppressed, we provide space for open debate. Where democratic institutions take hold, we add a wind at their back.  When humanitarian disaster strikes, we extend a hand. Where human dignity is denied, America opposes poverty and is a source of opportunity.  That is who we are. That is what we do."

    Mr. Obama honored the 78 West Point graduates who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he again said the U.S. is poised to end its combat mission in Iraq in the next few months.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora