Commencement Speeches: Iraq Is Backdrop for Many Graduation Speakers
New York Times, June 10
Some speakers offered a critical view of the war and its consequences. Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst College, spoke at Amherst’s commencement of the lessons of the Roman empire, which he said declined when leaders turned away from civic action toward private pursuits, abdicating civil authority to the military.
“Always, our political reach, our cultural persuasion, our economic integration and our military might are bounded,” Dr. Marx said, drawing analogies between Rome’s decline and the present. “At those boundaries, smugness is challenged. If we fail to heed that challenge, if we do not learn from the limits of our victories, we risk the fate of Rome.”