Obama rails against al Qaeda`s `small men`
President Barack Obama dismissed terror tactics of al Qaeda`s "small men" in a rallying cry to military cadets to help shape an "international order".
New York: President Barack Obama dismissed terror tactics of al Qaeda`s "small men" in a rallying cry to military cadets Saturday to help shape an "international order" to resolve global problems.
"The threat will not go away soon, but let`s be clear: al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history," Obama told graduates of the prestigious US Military Academy at West Point.
"They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us."
With the commencement address, Obama returned to the site of his landmark December speech announcing a dramatic rise in the number of US troops in Afghanistan in a bid to bring an "end-game" to the bloody war with US forces now nearing its ninth year.
"We must... shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation," Obama urged the graduates as he vowed to strengthen alliances with global partners in Afghanistan and beyond.
"The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times -- countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials."
While the United States is poised to end the combat mission in Iraq in the coming months, he noted that US forces still "face a tough fight" in Afghanistan to counter an emboldened insurgency.
In December, the president set a goal of starting to pull out combat forces in mid-2011 and hand over security to Afghan forces.
As part of the strategy, Obama ordered a surge of 30,000 troops in a final bid to turn the tide in the nine-year war, stepping up the battle against the Taliban in their southern strongholds.
"We have brought hope to the Afghan people," he told graduates. "Now we must see that their country does not fall prey to our common enemies. There will be difficult days ahead. But we will adapt, we will persist."
Obama warned troops that "there will be no simple moment of surrender to mark the journey`s end -- no armistice or banner headline."
"Though we have had more success in eliminating al Qaeda leaders in recent months than in recent years, they will continue to recruit, plot and exploit our open society," he said.
Success in keeping the pressure on the militant network has resulted in failed attacks on the United States, he said, in a reference to a Nigerian youth`s botched attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, and last month`s failed Times Square bomb plot.
Both plots have been linked to major militant groups.