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Bush to lay out vision for war, peace in speech

From Kelly Wallace
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In his first commencement address since the September 11 attacks, President Bush will lay out his vision for the war against terrorism and beyond in a speech to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Saturday, a senior administration official told CNN.

The official, who did not want to be identified, said the speech would focus not only on "how we defend peace," but on how "we preserve the peace" in terms of building strong relationships with nations such as Russia, and encouraging "free and open societies on every continent" to combat poverty and human rights abuses.

Bush will use the opportunity to provide context to the war on terror, the senior official said.

Gallery: Notable West Point graduates 

No new policies or initiatives are expected to be announced. Instead, aides said, the address will lay out the president's vision for the war and beyond, something Bush is expected to do every four to six weeks in the coming months.

Regarding the war on terrorism, the senior official said the president is expected to say the best defense is a good offense and that the United States cannot sit by and allow weapons of mass destruction to get into the hands of terrorists.

Bush is expected to stress the need for the best intelligence and for domestic agencies to modernize and reform.

The president will also talk about the need to speak "with moral clarity," even as some worry the president is using "undiplomatic language," the senior aide said.

Some European allies have expressed concerns about the president's tough talk on Iraq and his plans for a wider war on terrorism.

The senior aide said that, while different situations will require different responses, there are "not different moralities." Bush will say that "America will call evil by its name," the senior adviser said.

The president will also talk about the importance of forging relationships with the world's great powers, singling out the United States' warmer relationship with Russia, as a way to preserve the peace, and help resolve conflicts such as the tensions between India and Pakistan.

"When the great powers share common values, they can confront regional conflicts together," the senior aide said.

Bush and Russian President Putin, during their summit last week, together called on India and Pakistan to exercise restraint. Putin, this weekend, is expected to meet separately with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during a regional conference in Kazahkstan.

Bush also will say that the United States stands for more "than the absence of war" and will say that, in order to extend peace around the world, poverty must be eliminated and countries must respect the rule of law and women's rights, the senior aide said.

Bush will not name countries, but will urge governments in Islamic nations to listen to their people, a message that will be directed, in part, toward Saudi Arabia, the senior aide said.

The only other commencement address Bush is expected to give is to Ohio State on June 14, in which the president will talk about the importance of volunteerism and civic participation. All Cabinet secretaries who deliver graduation speeches will promote community service, aides said.

Bush will begin that theme during his address at West Point, saying that the military cadets are giving the ultimate service to the country.




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