WASHINGTON – America will never waver in its task of defeating radical Islamic terrorism, Vice President Richard B. Cheney told a gathering of Virginia Military Institute cadets and alumni during his Nov. 8 visit to the military college in Lexington, Va.

“In the great struggle of the early 21st century, we will never give in to the jihadists,” Cheney, whose visit coincided with the institute’s Military Appreciation Day, vowed to the school’s Corps of Cadets.

The terrorists constitute a strategic threat to the United States, and they represent “a movement with global ambitions and a yearning to seize and use the deadliest technologies against us.

“We will oppose and confront them until we defeat them,” Cheney pledged.

Over the years, the United States confronted and defeated numerous dangerous enemies such as Nazis, communists, dictators and militarists, Cheney pointed out. The same fate, he said, awaits the al-Qaida terrorists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

America “remains resolute” in combating global terrorists, Cheney said, noting that President Bush and he are pledged to a “smooth and graceful transition of power” to President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

VMI –- which was founded in 1839 — provides military training for future U.S. commissioned officers. Confederate Army Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson taught there, and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall Jr., who later served as secretary of state and defense secretary; and retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, a former chief of U.S. Central Command who has served as VMI’s president since 2003, are graduates.

Army Gen. George S. Patton, who, like Marshall, distinguished himself during World War II, attended VMI for one year before enrolling at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Today, VMI remains “truly one of America’s finest institutions,” Cheney said, citing the school and its graduates for making “immense contributions to the defense of this nation.”

More than 1,200 VMI graduates have been deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq, and 11 school alumni have been killed in action during the war against global terrorism, according to the institute’s Web site.

“This war has already extracted a cost from VMI,” Cheney said. “You’ve lost men in the attacks of 9/11 and on the field of honor in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

VMI’s fallen warriors “will never be forgotten,” Cheney vowed.

“And, for those fighting today, and in the future, we pray they will be strong and victorious, and returned safely home,” the vice president said.

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