Friday, May 16, 2008

Secretary Gates at VMI


The SecDef gave the commencement address to the VMI class of 2008 the other day, and for some reason the event was carried on TV out here. We were excited to watch because Secretary Gates made specific mention of COL Ives, my boss here in Afghanistan with Task Force Cincinnatus. COL Ives is a graduate from the VMI class of 1980, and Gates talked about Ives for a few paragraphs in the address. Money quote:

"Afghanistan is a desperately poor place. Part of a NATO commander’s job is assisting the birth of a new generation of Afghan leadership – one that will withstand the urge to abuse power or put a hand in the till. Governors of the northeastern provinces sit down with Colonel Ives, and there, again, he often brings forth Cincinnatus, the Roman consul who, over two thousand years before George Washington, voluntarily left a high position rather than milk it for all it was worth."

As my Duke and Cal posts would suggest, I didn't go to VMI, but it's a school that's fairly well interwoven into the fabric of my mom's side of the family (i.e. the Smiths). My grandfather and uncle/godfather are grads, and my mom's whole family lived on campus while my grandfather was commandant of cadets at VMI in the early 60's.

So, all told, pretty cool stuff.

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