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Sunday, March 16, 2008

President John. F. Kennedy - Remarks at West Point to the Graduating Class of the U.S. Military Academy, 6 June 1962

Listen to President Kennedy explain the Iraq intervention to West Point graduates in 1962. It's captivating, a must-listen. The transcript of Kennedy's speech is here. Kennedy's copy of his prepared speech is here. (h/t)

Kennedy was only President from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. His main accomplishment in that short time was to set a firm direction for the young liberal superpower with eloquently and powerfully stated ideals and ideas.

Where his 1961 inaugural speech laid a foundation of American ideals, President Kennedy's Special Message to Congress on Urgent National Needs on May 25, 1961 built upon that foundation a set of clear goals and ideas. Most striking is Kennedy's grasp of the evolving nature of geo-politics and warfare, the kind of military we need, the challenges they face, and the kind of missions they need to perform. His speech to West Point's Class of 1962 was formed in the context of his 1961 inaugural speech and special message to Congress on urgent national needs.

Since we are in the midst of the type of war for which President Kennedy sought to prepare our nation, pay special attention to that part of his speech. I won't excerpt from it because the entire speech is worth listening to and reading, especially for any American politician who fancies himself or herself a successor of JFK and a champion of his legacy. Anytime you forget what it means to be a liberal, go back to President Kennedy's inaugural speech, special message to Congress on urgent national needs, and his remarks to the West Point class of 1962, and refresh yourself.

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