I was just forwarded an email that’s making the rounds at Texas A&M where Robert Gates is currently the President. First is Gates’ letter to staff and students regarding the SecDef announcement :
By the time you read this, the President of the United States will have announced that he will nominate me to be the next Secretary of Defense. I am deeply honored, but also deeply saddened.
As most of you know, almost two years ago I declined an opportunity to become the first Director of National Intelligence. I did so principally because of my love for Texas A&M and because much of the program we had initiated to take A&M to a new level of excellence had only just started.
. . .
I apologize for surprising you with this momentous decision and announcement, and for leaving as president before fulfilling my commitment to serve Texas A&M for at least five years. I hope you will understand the circumstances that made this necessary and that this appointment comes nearly as much a surprise to me as to you.
I will have more to say to you before I leave (if I am confirmed by the Senate). But I must tell you that while I chose Texas A&M over returning to government almost two years ago, much has happened both here and around the world since then. I love Texas A&M deeply, but I love our country more and, like the many Aggies in uniform, I am obligated to do my duty. And so I must go. I hope you have some idea of how painful that is for me and how much I will miss you and this unique American institution.
At this point, I expect to remain as President of Texas A&M until completion of the confirmation process and a Senate vote. I assure you, you will hear more from me before my departure.
More interesting, however, is the note that accompanied the forwarded letter. (Personal information redacted)
Dear Fellow Aggies (and some who aren’t Aggies but will find this interesting),
By now, you’ve probably heard that Donald Rumsfeld has resigned as Secretary of Defense. (Thank God!) Also, you may have heard that Bush has nominated Robert Gates to be Rumsfeld’s replacement. Gates is a former head of the CIA and, for the past two years, has been president of Texas A&M.
Below is an email forwarded to me by _________, ______ professor at A&M. Those of you who went to A&M might remember ________ as a highly intelligent, fiercely liberal prof who loved to stir things up and encourage his students to challenge the status quo and stand up for what is right.
About a year ago, I was in College Station and visited _____ for a few drinks. He told me then of his admiration of Gates, despite some initial apprehension due to Gates’ background, and for what Gates was doing for A&M. He also said that at a recent faculty party, Gates told him that he thought that Bush was the worst president we’d ever had.
If ______ speaks highly of Gates, he must have something going for him. I hope that Gates will use his new position to try to extract us from the quagmire of Iraq and won’t become just another Bush yes man.
I’ve got an email out to the professor in question to confirm this, so until I do, take this with a grain of salt.
UPDATE : I knew this was too good to be true. I emailed the professor in question about this incident and he responded “In fact, this is NOT TRUE at all. I’ve never been at a party with President Gates, never had a private conversation with him”. The person who relayed this anectdote, when confronted with this information, responded “I think it is possible that I am mistaken. As I said, there were a few drinks involved.” In vino veritas? I guess not…