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Excerpt from Commencement Address at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina

November 13, 2007

"Your service is based on the idea that you are men and women that see victory in a world that gains realistic peace through the strength of the best prepared, the best trained, the most inspired and the most talented military, not just in the world but in the history of the world. You've channeled your emotions into constructive action and there are few causes more noble, in fact none, or more enduring than the defense of liberty for the United States of America.

"But you, you can't do it alone. We need to all do this. You need our support and we need your support. It will take more troops and more training to meet the great challenges of our time to win this war of the terrorists on us. As I said before, America loves peace and we hate war. That honorable instinct has meant that sometimes in our history we wait too long to mobilize our armed forces to face the world's dangers. Sometimes we often demobilize too rapidly once we think we've achieved victory and the danger is gone.

"After the First World War, the size of the Army after we had the war to end wars, the size of our army was cut by 90 percent. It meant that we weren't able to face Nazism at an early enough stage and then we had to play catch up in the first years of the Second World War to our disadvantage.

"After we won the Second World War we did it again. An army of seven million soldiers were reduced to 500,000 by 1948. But when the Cold War turned out hot with the invasion of South Korea, Harry Truman, a Democratic president, and a Republican Congress, working together for the good of our country had to commit our country to maintain the largest peace time military for the first time in our history. They had to rebuild what had been deconstructed.

"And then at the end of the Cold War, after we won the Cold War, the end of the Soviet Union, the breakdown of the Berlin Wall, freedom for Eastern Europe, the pattern repeated itself again. Washington was full of talk about a peace dividend. The peace dividend became government policy. I opposed the peace dividend then and I oppose it now. The damage that it has done to our military and intelligence services has yet to be completely undone. History has already shown that the peace dividend was one of our country's worst mistakes. We were slashing our military and intelligence budgets as the Islamic radical terrorists were committing acts of war against us, but we didn't see it.

"The first World Trade Center bombing was not, or attack, was not on September 11, 2001. The first World Trade Center bombing was in 1993. Then there was Khobar Towers in 1996, the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 that killed seventeen of our sailors. Bin Laden even declared war on us in 1996, we didn't hear it. And all through this time of acts of war against America, of coming here and killing Americans, of killing Americans overseas, all through this time we ignored the wise advice of Ronald Reagan who reminded us that the surest way to achieve peace is by maintaining strength.

"And what did we do? We cut and we cut and we cut and we cut some more. An army of eighteen divisions was slashed to ten as the terrorists were declaring war on us and attacking us. Total man power was reduced from 775,000 in the early 1980's to 470,000 on the eve of September 11th. Refueling tankers so crucial to long range operations that are vital to dealing with the terrorists who make war on us, these are now modified 707's, a plane that last flew commercially in the United States in 1983, before most of you were born or I think any of you were born. And Marine Corps pilots still fly the same planes, or helicopters rather, that their fathers were flying in Vietnam.

"The idea of a peace dividend was always intellectually flawed, it was also strategically flawed. In fact, the pace of our armed forces operations have only quickened since the Cold War. You are asked to do much more in many different places and in much more complex situations. If we are going to ask our military to do more, we need to give them the resources and the support to get the job done. That's our responsibility.

"At one time there was the romantic thought that America could be isolated. Isolation is no longer an option in the age of globalization. Isolation is no longer an option when there are people in various parts of the world planning to come to harm you. Conditions for our fighting men and women have improved in recent years. President Bush has increased our military strength and further increases are planned. But we need to do more, much more. We need a force that can both deter aggression and meet many challenges that might come our way. America must increase the size of our armed forces, in particular we have to start with the Army which has been cut the most and is under the greatest stress.

"I believe America needs at least ten new combat brigades above the additions that are already proposed by President Bush and are already in the budget. This commitment would offer reinforcements where they are needed most, deter others from calculating that America may be stretched too thing. It would be a terrible mistake for anyone to calculate that but let's make sure they don't by increasing the size of our force and allowing the United States greater flexibility to win the wider war of the terrorists against us.

"In the past when America's population was tens of millions smaller than we are now, we easily maintained a larger Army and a larger armed forces than we have right now. A volunteer professional army of citizens is our greatest source of strength and I believe that the 9/11 generation, just like you have, will step forward to meet this challenge.

"We must also look at the level of expansion that's necessary for our Navy, for our Marines, for our Coast Guard and for our Air Force. They have to have the support and they have to be at the levels necessary to deal with the challenges that we have today and they need to be modernized and they need training to accept our new responsibilities."

Rudy Giuliani, Excerpt from Commencement Address at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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