West Point a symbolic venue for president
WEST POINT — On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will do something familiar and unique as he stands at the U.S. Military Academy to announce his new policy in Afghanistan. In choosing West Point as the backdrop for his 8 p.m. policy speech, Obama repeats past presidents' practices but also aims attention at Americans doubtful about increasing the country's investment in war, said Chester Pach, a presidential historian and Ohio University professor.
West Point has been a setting where presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush have talked military methodology.
In 2002, George W. Bush laid out for graduates what became known as the "Bush Doctrine." He asserted that modern terrorism requires the United States to employ pre-emptive strikes against other nations.
But Bush's commencement speech was a continuation in spelling out his strategy, said Pach. Obama and his advisers, however, are using the venue differently.
"They want to call attention to the new steps that they're taking in Afghanistan, but also to point out the costs of doing so by speaking to people who will be serving," Pach said.