Nov 162008

The following is a hilarious segment of one of former Secretary of Defense William Perry’s lectures in my Stanford MS&E 293 class on national security:

“The Washington Post responded to the announcement by running an article observing that I was soft-spoken and humble, and questioning whether those were the right personality traits for the job of Secretary of Defense. They were simply reflecting the well-known fact that those in Washington that traveled the high road of humility are never bothered by heavy traffic. As a result of the Post article, my confirmation hearing was a surreal experience. Senator Byrd, instead of asking me questions about my views on defense issues, took off on the Washington Post article. He observed that George Washington was humble. Robert E. Lee was humble. And yes, that Jesus was humble. This is true. So he concluded that my humility ought to be an asset. He did concede, however, that in his 40 years in the Senate, he had never before seen humility in a Cabinet officer. After that ringing endorsement, the other Senators fell in line and confirmed me as Secretary by a vote of 98 to 0. After all, they did not want to get on the wrong sides of any of their constituents, who might be admirers of Washington, Lee, or Jesus. That experience was the highlight of my experience with Congress. It was all downhill from there.”

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.