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And thank you also the congress and good luck for joining us today I appreciate his service and leadership.
And particular thanks to general.
I appreciate his invitation to be with you today at that.
Virginia Military Institute did say -- privileged to be an institution.
Like this it is done so much for our nation both in times of war.
And times of peace.
For more than a 170 years the MI has done more than educate students.
It is guided their transformation of the citizens.
-- my graduates have served with honor and our nation's defense just as many are doing today in Afghanistan and you know the last.
And since September 11 attacks many of the in my sons and daughters have defended America and I mourn with you the fifteen brave souls.
Who have been lost.
I join you in praying for the many BMI graduates to.
Are right now serving in harm's way may god bless all who serve and all who have served.
Of all the -- -- graduates not as more distinguished perhaps in general George Marshall the chief of staff of the army who became secretary of state and secretary defense.
Who helped -- vanquished fascism and then planned Europe's rescue from despair.
This commitment to peace was born and -- direct knowledge.
Of the awful costs.
General Marshall once said quote the only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.
Those words were true in his time.
And they are true in our time.
Last month our nation was attacked again.
-- US ambassador.
In three of our fellow Americans are dead.
Murdered in Benghazi Libya.
Among the dead were three veterans.
All of them were fine men.
On a mission of peace and friendship to a nation that clearly.
Longs for both.
-- Obama has said that ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues represented the best of America.
And he's right.
We all mourn their loss.
The attacks against us in Libya -- not an isolated incident.
They were accompanied by anti American riots in nearly two dozen of the country's most in the Middle East but also -- Africa and Asia.
Our embassies have been attacked.
A flag has been burned.
Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mob shouting death to America.
These Bob's hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism.
Over American embassies on the anniversary of 9/11.
As the dust settles.
As the murdered are buried.
Americans are asking how this happened.
How the threats we face have grown worse.
And what this calls and America to do.
These are the right questions.
Not come here today to offer a larger perspective on these tragic recent events.
And -- share with you and to share with all Americans.
My vision for a freer.
And more peaceful world.
The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts.
They're expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East a region that's now in the midst of the most profound upheaval.
In a century.
And the phone lines of the struggle can be seen clearly in Ben Ghazi itself.
The attack on our consulate there on September 11 2012.
Was likely the work of forces affiliated.
With those that attacked -- homeland.
On September 11 2001 now.
This latest assault can't be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam.
Despite the administration's attempts to convince us of that for so long.
-- -- is the administration has finally conceded these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists.
These violence to impose their dark ideology and others especially -- women and girls.
We're fighting to control much of the Middle East today.
And you seek to wage a perpetual war on the west.
We saw all of this and -- -- last month but we also saw something else.
After the attack on our consulate.
Tens of thousands of Libyans.
Most of that young people held a massive protest him -- -- Against the very extremists.
Who had murdered our people.
They waved signs that read the ambassador was Libya's friends.
And Libya is sorry.
They chanted no to malicious -- too malicious.
They marched on arms to the terrorist compound.
And then they burned it to the ground.
As one Libyan woman said.
We are not going to go from darkness.
This is -- struggle that's now -- the entire Middle East.
It's the struggle of millions and millions of people men and women.
Young and old Muslims Christians nonbelievers.
All of whom have had enough of the darkness.
It's a struggle for the dignity that comes with freedom and opportunity.
And the right to live -- laws of our own making.
It's a struggle that's been unfolded under green batters in the streets of Iran.
In the public squares of Tunisia and Egypt and Yemen.
And in the fight for liberty in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and now in Syria.
In short it's a struggle between liberty and tyranny.
Injustice and oppression.
-- and despair.
We seen this struggle before.
To be familiar to general George Marshall.
It is time the ashes of world war another critical part of the world was torn between democracy.
Fortunately we had leaders have courage and vision both Republicans and Democrats.
Who knew that America had the support friends who shared our values.
And prevent today's crises from becoming tomorrow's conflicts.
Statesman like Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities.
As the leader of the free world.
We -- our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets.
We defended our friends.
From our common enemies.
We -- We -- And though the path was long and uncertain.
The thought of -- in Europe is as inconceivable today.
As it seemed inevitable.
In the last century.
This is what makes America exceptional.
It is not only the character of our country.
Is also the record of our accomplishments.
America has a proud history of strong.
Principal global leadership.
It's history that's been written by patriots have both parties.
This is America at its best.
-- is the standard by which we measure every president.
As well as anyone who wishes to be president.
This president's policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership.
And nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East.
I want to be very clear.
The blame for the murder of our people in Libya and the attacks on our embassies in so many other countries.
Lies solely with those who carried them out no one else.
But it is our responsibility.
And the responsibility the president to use America's greatest power to shape history.
Not to lead from behind.
Leaving our density at the mercy of events.
That's exactly where we find ourselves in the Middle East and a President Obama.
The relationship between the presidents of the United States and the prime minister -- -- for example our closest ally in the region.
Has suffered great strains.
The president explicitly stated that his goal was to put daylight.
Between the United States and Israel.
This is a dangerous situation.
That is set back the hope of peace in the Middle East and embolden our mutual adversaries.
Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability.
It is never posed a greater danger to our friends our allies and us.
And is never acted less deterred by America.
As has made clear last year when a -- agents plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in our nation's capital.
And yet when millions of Iranians.
Took to the streets in June 2009.
When they demanded freedom from a cruel regime that threatens the world when they cried out are you with us or are -- with them.
The American president was silent.
Across the greater Middle East.
As -- joy born from the downfall of dictators has given way to the painstaking work of building capable security forces and growing economies and developing effective democratic institutions.
The president has failed to offer the tangible support that our partners want.
-- costly gains made by our troops are being eroded.
By rising violence.
A resurgent al-Qaeda.
The weakening of democracy in Baghdad.
And the rising influence of Iran.
And -- America's ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence.
The president's trial.
But he also failed.
To secure a responsible and gradual drawdown.
The would have better secured our games.
The president has also failed the lead in Syria.
Where Meredith more than 30000.
Men and women and children.
Have been -- secured by the Asad regime over the past twenty months.
Violent extremists are flowing into the fight our ally Turkey has been attacked.
And the conflict threatens stability.
In the region.
America can't take pride in the blows -- our military.
And intelligence professionals.
And -- have inflicted on al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan including the killing of Osama bin Laden.
These are real achievements one at a high cost.
-- Qaeda remains a strong force however in Yemen and Somalia.
In Libya and other parts of North Africa in Iraq and now in Syria.
And other extremists have gained ground across the region.
Drones in modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight.
But they are no substitute for a national security strategy.
For the Middle East.
The president is fond of saying that the tide of war is receding.
And I want to believe them this -- -- that it what else.
The -- we look at the Middle East today.
With Iran closer than -- nuclear weapons capability.
With the conflict in Syria threatening to destabilize the region.
With a violent extremists on the march.
And with an American ambassador and three others dead lightly at the hands of al-Qaeda affiliates.
It's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now -- when the president took office.
I know the president -- for a safer freer and more prosperous Middle East allied with us.
I share this -- But hope is not a strategy.
We can't support our friends and defeat our enemies of the Middle East -- our words are not backed up by deeds.
When our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut.
Well we have no trade agenda to speak -- and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership.
But a passive -- The greater tragedy of it all is that we're missing an historic opportunity.
To win new friends who share our values of the Middle East.
Friends were fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists.
And evil tyrants and angry mobs who seek to harm us.
Unfortunately so many of these people who could be our friends.
Feel that our president is -- different to their quest for freedom.
As one Syrian woman put it we will not forget that you forgot about us.
It's time to change course in the Middle East.
That course should be organized around these bedrock principles.
America must have confidence.
In our costs.
Clarity in our purpose.
And resolve -- our minds.
No friend of America will question our commitment to support them.
No enemy that attacks America we'll question our resolve to defeat them.
And no one anywhere friend or foe would doubt America's capability.
To back up our words.
Up with the leaders of Iran on notion on notice.
That the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran and we'll -- and -- tighten the sanctions we currently have.
I'll restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the eastern Mediterranean.
And the -- And I worked with Israel to increase our military assistance in coordination.
For the sake of peace.
We must make clear to Iran through actions not just words that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.
-- reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and are abiding commitment to its security.
The world must never see any daylight.
Between our two nations.
-- -- -- are critical cooperation with our partners in the gulf.
And I'll roll back president Obama's deep and Harbour -- cuts to our national defense.
That would devastate our military.
I'll make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure.
The decisions we make today will determine our ability.
To protect America tomorrow.
The first purpose of a strong military.
Is to prevent war.
The size of our navy is at levels not seen since 1916.
I'll restore our navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building fifteen ships -- year including three submarines.
-- implement effective missile defenses.
To protect against threats.
And on this.
They'll be no flexibility.
With Vladimir Putin.
A -- caught our NATO allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong.
By honoring their commitment to each devote 2% of the GDP to security spending.
Today only three of the 28 NATO nations meet this benchmark.
I'll make further reforms -- our foreign assistance.
To create incentives for good governance.
For free enterprise.
And for greater trade in -- Middle East and beyond.
-- organize all assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official.
To prioritize efforts and to produce results.
-- rally our friends and our allies to match our generosity with -- -- make it clear to the recipients of our -- That -- -- for our material support.
They must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government.
To respect the rights of all their citizens including women and minorities.
To -- space for civil society.
A free media political parties.
And independent judiciary.
And to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats.
And our property.
-- championed free trade.
And restore -- as a critical element of our strategy.
Both in the Middle East and across the world.
The president has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years.
Are reversed that failure.
I'll work -- nations around the world that are committed to principles of free enterprise.
Expanding existing relationships.
And establishing new ones.
I'll support friends across the Middle East to share our values.
The need help defending them and their sovereignty against -- common enemies.
I'll support the Libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them.
And -- vigorously pursue the terrorists.
Who attacked -- consulate -- bank Gaza and killed our fellow Americans.
In Egypt I'll use our influence including clear conditions on our aid.
To urge the new government to represented all egyptians.
To build -- democratic institutions.
And to maintain its peace treaty with Israel.
And we must persuade our friends and allies.
To play similar stipulations.
On their -- In Syria.
A work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition.
Who share our values.
And then ensure that they obtain the arms they need to defeat -- tanks and helicopters.
And fighter jets.
Iran is sending arms -- -- because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them.
We should be working no less vigorously through our Internet international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran.
-- that sitting on the sidelines.
It's essential that we develop influence.
With those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
-- pursue a -- successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.
President Obama would have you believe that -- -- -- disagrees with his decisions and Afghanistan.
Is arguing for endless war.
But the route to war.
And a potential attacks here at home.
Is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists.
Who ravaged their country and use it to launch the attacks of 9/11.
I'll evaluate conditions on the ground.
And -- the best advice of our military commanders.
And I will -- -- my duty is not to protect my political prospects.
But to protect the security.
Of the nation.
Finally -- -- commit America to the goal of a democratic.
Prosperous Palestinian state.
Living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish State of Israel.
On this vital issue the president has failed.
And what should be a negotiation process.
Has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the UN.
In this old conflict.
As -- every challenge we face in the Middle East.
Only a new president will bring the chance to begin a new.
There's a longing.
For American leadership in the Middle East.
And it's not unique to that region.
It's broadly felt by America's friends and allies in other parts of the world as well.
In Europe where Putin's Russia casts a long shadow over young democracies.
And where our oldest allies have been told we're -- Away from.
And across the Pacific where China's recent assertiveness is sending chills throughout that region.
And -- our own hemisphere.
Where our neighbors and Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro Brothers.
And deepen ties with United States on trade and energy.
But in all of these places justice in the Middle East the question is asked.
Where does America stand.
I know many Americans are asking a different question why us.
I know many Americans are asking whether our country today with our ailing economy.
-- massive debt and after eleven years of war.
Is still capable of leading.
I believe that if America doesn't -- Others will.
Others who don't share interests and our values.
And the world would grow darker for our friends.
And for us.
America's security in the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years.
Running for president because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty.
To our citizens.
And to our friends everywhere.
To use America's great influence.
Without false pride.
But also firmly and actively to shape events in ways to secure our interests.
Further our values.
And make the world better not perfect.
Our friends and allies across the globe don't want less American leadership.
They want more.
More of our moral support more of our security cooperation more of our trade.
More of our assistance in building free societies and thriving economies.
So many people across the world still look to America.
As the best hope of humankind.
So many people still have faith in America we must show them that we still have faith in ourselves.
Do we have the will and the wisdom to revive our stagnant economy.
To roll back our unsustainable debt.
To reform our government.
To reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense.
To a -- the sources of our great power.
And the lead the course of human events.
Sir Winston Churchill once said of George Marshall.
He always fought victorious -- against defeatism.
That's the role our -- friends want America to play again.
And is the role.
We must play.
The 21 century can and must be an American centric.
It began with terror.
And economic calamity.
It's our duty to steer -- -- the path of freedom.
The torch America carries.
Is one of decency.
It's not America's torch alone.
But it is America's duty and honor.
To hold -- high enough that all the world can see -- life.
Thank you so much for your participation this great charge.
God bless you and god bless the United States of America thank you very much.
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