Skip to main content /POLITICS

Bush lays out vision for war, peace in speech

Bush lays 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 gave 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.

"We are in a conflict between good and evil and America will call evil by its name," Bush said.

Before the speech, an 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.

Gallery: Notable West Point graduates 

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

No new policies or initiatives were expected to be announced. Instead, aides said, the address would 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 would 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 was expected to stress the need for the best intelligence and for domestic agencies to modernize and reform.

The president also would 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."

The president also was expected to 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 would 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 would 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.




Back to the top