SECDEF Tells Academy Grads to Respect Congress, Press

Defense Secretary Robert Gates had an interesting message for the Navy’s newest crop of ensigns: respect Congress and the press.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates encouraged the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 2007 yesterday “to remember the importance of two pillars of our freedom under the Constitution: the Congress and the press.”

“Both surely try our patience from time to time, but they are the surest guarantees of the liberty of the American people,” Gates told 1,028 graduates during a sunny ceremony at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

Gates told the freshly minted Navy and Marine officers that they will have the responsibility to inform people below them that the military “must be nonpolitical” and to recognize the obligation to truthfully report to Congress, “especially when it involves admitting mistakes or problems.”

“The same is true with the press, in my view a critically important guarantor of our freedom,” Gates said.

It’s important for officers to remember that, while the president is the commander-in-chief, they take their oath to the Constitution and work for the citizens of the country, not a single man.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Media, Military Affairs, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates encouraged the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 2007 yesterday “to remember the importance of two pillars of our freedom under the Constitution: the Congress and the press.”

    What a load of crap coming from Gates. This is the same guy who has continued the boycott of McClatchy reporters for their critical reporting of the war.

    It is interesting that his “defense” of the press comes the day after Editor and Publisher published a story on the McClatchy boycott.

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Triumph, McClatchy isn’t critical. They edit the news to reflect their political agenda. It is no longer news it is propaganda. I live in the home of McClatchy Newpapers. The Bee is like reading Isvestia or Pravda during the 60’s. If the right of a free press can be abused, the Bee and McClatchy has abused it.

  3. Triumph says:

    If the right of a free press can be abused, the Bee and McClatchy has abused it.

    How in the world has McClatchy “abused” the right of a free press? What is their “political agenda”?

  4. Michael says:

    Would it be too much to ask for him to tell the President? This seems like information he should know.

  5. LaurenceB says:

    My opinion of Gates just went up a notch.

  6. Andy says:

    What a contrast Gates is with Cheney, who despises Constitutional rights and the Geneva Conventions.