r. Secretary: Here are the talking points you requested for your May 30 commencement address to the 2004 graduates of the United States Military Academy:
Warm up audience by thanking Superintendent Lennox for gracious invitation and quipping that West Point may be only campus where students likely to let you complete a speech.
Congratulate graduates on becoming the newest second lieutenants in most powerful Army the world has ever seen--one that has lost only twice (2.5 times if you count the Civil War). Suggested aside: "Golly, that's a darned good batting average."
Talk about your life-long interest in military history--how as child you were thrilled by heroic tales of Galapoli and the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Congratulate graduates on completing rigorous course of study and becoming the best-educated young military officers ever. Recount conversation in mess hall with cadet who informed you that the Geneva Convention is not a trade show where they serve cheese fondue.
Announce that Pentagon is stepping up efforts to find international partners for operations in Iraq.
Announce that media relations office has been tasked with coming up with talking points on why any country would want to do this.
Go through script distributed by the White House for Administration officials booked on Memorial Day Weekend talk shows.
Return to occasion at hand and lament fact that upstanding image of U.S. Army has recently been tarnished by the actions of a few bad apples in the State Department. Assure graduates that you will get to "core" of this scandal. (Use body language to show that you intend this as a bit of levity. If no one laughs, explain, "That was a joke.")
Announce new ruling by White House counsel that cadets at West Point are no longer bound by Honor Code. Former cadets who ran afoul of this "quaint but outdated" custom will be reinstated with full back pay and assigned to policy making in the Pentagon.
Denounce pending inquiry by Senate Armed Services Committee of Rumsfeld Doctrine of U.S. military presence that is Underwhelming But On God's Side (U-BOGS).
Praise West Point emphasis on educating not just the mind but the body and spirit. Point out that hazing of plebes has prepared some graduates for tasks they will be carrying out as intelligence officers.
Close by telling Class of 2004 that commencement is a beginning rather than an end. Add that, as result of U-BOGS doctrine, for some it may represent the beginning of the end.
God bless America!
President Bush bless God!