posted on May, 28 2007 @ 11:23 PM
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was the speaker at the graduation of this year's Naval Academy class. Honestly, I thought it was a superb speech
and it certainly stands in direct constrast to the angry, fascism-draped rambling of Dick Cheney at the Military Academy graduation. It certainly says
a lot about the good in this country and where we need to be going.
Two things in particular stood out in the speech:
As officers, you will have a responsibility to communicate to those below you that the American military must be non-political and recognize the
obligation we owe the Congress to be honest and true in our reporting to them. Especially when it involves admitting mistakes or problems.
This is definitely a change from the "Protect our own" mentality that has permeated in the military for so long. A civilian-controlled
employment-by-choice military should be transparent to that civilian populace and held accountable for whatever it does. We are not a militaristic
society and thus we should exhibit qualities consistent with a non-militaristic society. The SecDef certainly showed this when he got rid of key
military leaders after the Walter Reed scandal. More importantly, we must note that matters of war and the military are not issues that exist on a
political spectrum. It affects everyone and everything equally.
The same is true with the press, in my view a critically important guarantor of our freedom. When it identifies a problem, as at Walter Reed, the
response of senior leaders should be to find out if the allegations are true – as they were at Walter Reed – and if so, say so, and then act to
remedy the problem. If untrue, then be able to document that fact. The press is not the enemy, and to treat it as such is self-defeating.
I have waited so long for someone to say this. For too long, certain members of the military and the many fascists of this country have made the media
into something it isn't. Many blame the loss in Vietnam on the media, who did nothing but do their job: report the truth. Even more today have some
fantastic delusion that the media is somehow out to get American soldiers and ensure a loss in the war. Nothing could be further from the truth. If
anything, the media has ensured that the war will continue, unabated. The medis is not the enemy, as the Secretary of Defense says. We are our own
enemies. We fear the media because the media is the mirror that reflects and transmits all that we do. We fear and hate the very things that hold us
accountable. Perhaps this is a sign that we must make a change in the way we fight wars, in the way we live our lives. Its the way of the world.
Anyway, take a look at the rest of the speech if you get a chance. It was certainly one of the better speeches I've seen in recent years and its a
nice refreshing change from a lot of the rhetoric we've seen in the past seven years or so.
United States Naval Academy Commencement
Personally, I think very highly of the Secretary of Defense. I think he was the right man for the job. Hopefully he can put the U.S. military back on