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Obama Addresses US Naval Academy Graduation

All Posts  May 22 2009
 — By CJ Grisham

President Obama spoke to the graduating midshipmen of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD today. During the speech, he “officially absolved” all minor infractions for which the cadets were on restriction, emphasizing only the “minor” ones. He also promised next year’s class an extra weekend. Early on, I could tell that this speech was not going to go well.

“This class is about to become the latest link in a long, unbroken chain of heroism and victory — a chain forged in battles whose names are etched in the stone of this stadium: from Coral Sea to Midway to Guadalcanal; from Iwo Jima to Inchon; from the Mekong Delta to Desert Storm. For some among us, these are not just places on a map. They’re the stories of their lives. And we honor all of our veterans here today.”

Anyone else notice that there seem to be some important locations missing in there. Desert Storm is the last conflict the President mentions at a time when Annapolis graduates are fighting a two-front war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his speech, President Obama named some very noble and patriotic cadets.

Elvin Vasquez, a Marine supply chief in Iraq who finally got into the Naval Academy on his third try who never gave up trying because he says, “there’s just something about being a Marine.”

It’s the example of Carlos Carbello who left the tough streets of L.A. to serve on a destroyer in the Pacific and who has used his time here to mentor others, because he’s the oldest midshipman — the old man — at the age of 26.

It’s the patriotism of Sade Holder who came to America as a child from Trinidad, enlisted in the Navy and then earned the titles she values most: “U.S. citizen” and “Navy Midshipman” and today, “Ensign.”

And it’s the reverence for tradition shown by James P. Heg a communications maintenance Marine in Iraq who today is joined by the man who first urged him to sign up, his grandfather, returning six decades after he was a midshipman, a submariner from World War II, 89-year-old Captain James E. Heg.

Honor. Courage. Commitment. These are the values that have defined your years in the Yard and that you’ll need in the years ahead as you join the fleet, and as you join and lead the Marines, as you confront the ever-changing threats of an ever-changing world.

At the mention of each name, the class erupted into applause at the courage and perseverance of their classmates.

Obama also insinuated during his speech that our troops weren’t sent into combat with a cause. He promised that as president he would only send our troops “into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy and the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done.” He launched into the classic bring them home now mantra of ending the war in Iraq. Yet, at no time did he give the credit where it was due to the Bush administration for handing of an Iraq safer than it started. Nowhere did he credit the troops involved in the surge that made it possible to bring our troops now as opposed to later. Oddly enough, the midshipmen in attendance didn’t applaud until Obama promised to “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Only then, did the soon-to-be Naval Ensigns and Marine Corps Lieutenants applaud his words. It’s strength and resolve that we want, not candy-ass defeat and premature withdrawal.

He touted his decision to halt Naval personnel cuts while ignoring the fact that he cut spending on high-tech Naval vessels to replace aging destroyer fleets. While gloating over the call for more Marines, he neglected to mention that he is cutting the number of carrier groups from 11 to 10, making events like piracy more difficult to respond to. He noted that “we will maintain America’s military dominance and keep you the finest fighting force the world has ever seen” while cutting missile defense funding at a time when both Iran and North Korea are actively testing new missile technologies.

(10) Readers Comments

  1. I may mis-understand here, but I thought he made cuts based on recommendations of the military, same as his predecessor.
    NY-David

    • Normally, that would be the case if Obama didn’t campaign on shutting down those programs.

  2. I was there and not only did young John McCain receive applause when his name was called but when the class president mentioned the distinguished grad in attendance,Sen. John McCain, the entire crowd stood up with thunderous applause.

    • John McCain Sr was deserving of applause. While I find much of his pandering to the right with utter disdain, the man is a hero. No questioning that.

      PS. If McCain had stood his ground and not pandered so pathetically to the right – e.g., bringing the idiot Sarah Palin to his ticket – he would likely be president today, and that might not be such a bad thing.

  3. I am so tired of Obama and others suggesting we went to war without reason. To do so is to also suggest that those who paid the ultimate sacrifice did so without reason as well, which couldn’t be further from the truth. This Memorial Day weekend of all weekends, couldn’t he suspend the inuendo and give our military heros the respect they deserve?
    My brother graduated from the Naval Academy, served in Desert Storm and Afghanistan, and frankly, I am insulted at Obama’s omission of our two current war efforts. I know, CJ, that you respect Obama in his position as Commander in Chief, as we all should. As Commander in Chief, however, he has an obligation to return that respect to those that he commands. To do any less undermines all of us and our country.

  4. As Obama sends more troops into harms way ill equipped for the fight, I wonder where all the shouts of “He never served a day in his life” are as the left screamed about Bush although Bush served in the National Guard which was also so defamed by the left as not being “real” service.

    I agree with Chris, this weekend of all weekends, the president should have made it all about honor and courage, sacrifice and respect, not about ignorance and innuendo.

  5. Chris says:
    24 May 2009 at 8:12 am

    “I am so tired of Obama and others suggesting we went to war without reason. To do so is to also suggest that those who paid the ultimate sacrifice did so without reason as well,”
    Chris, so many times with this administration I am made to feel that Jason died in vain. I know in my heart that is not the case. But I am so tired of being made to feel that he did.

    God Bless all of our Troops who have died for our Freedoms and their Love for our country that they have believed in. God Bless all those who continue to serve no matter who is in charge, because they believe in the right thing. I salute all.

  6. Mickey says:
    25 May 2009 at 7:30 am
    “I am made to feel that Jason died in vain. I know in my heart that is not the case. But I am so tired of being made to feel that he did.”

    I am sorry you are made to feel this way. It is heartbreaking. Your sacrifice can never be repaid.

  7. I also was at the graduation. I thought that the President did a good job addressing the graduates. My son graduated and I’m so proud of his accomplishment!

  8. “at no time did he give the credit where it was due to the Bush administration for handing of an Iraq safer than it started.”

    Iraq may be safer now than it was in 2006, but certainly no safer than it was in 2003. If you don’t like the current president, fine, say so and be done with it. What you said above is fudging the facts.

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