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Integrity Quote of the Day

Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State, United States of America

Colin Powell: Well, Washington is a battlefield in and all its own. As you become more senior in the military, you really do have to have an understanding - to be successful - of how the political process works and how to deal with public relations, and how to convey the story of the armed forces to the American people. The political process and the media are two things you really do have to master. Not because you want to be a spinmeister, but because the political process is how the country runs, that's how democracies run. So you have to know how to go up and testify on Capitol Hill and satisfy members of the House and Senate as to how you're planning to spend the money which the Constitution gives them the authority to appropriate every year. You've got to do it every year, whether you like it or not. You have to expect to be punched around a little bit, challenged. You have to expect people will want to spend less money than you want. And you have to expect to hear parochial constituent interest from individual congressman, because that's why they were elected, to represent parochial constituent interests. And that's all part of the process. You have to understand that the media is out to find anything about you that you don't want them to know. That's their role in the democracy. They are the fourth estate. And your responsibility is to tell the American people as much as you can about what you're doing with their sons and daughters and their money. But you're also supposed to protect their sons and daughters, and so there may be things you don't want to tell the media. And so there's this great contest that takes place, but it's a healthy contest. Any senior general or admiral who doesn't understand that you have to do this isn't going to be very successful. You can't just rant and rave at the political process, or be mad because The Washington Post or The New York Times said something unpleasant about you that day. You've just got to keep doing your job to the best of your ability. To some extent, it's war in a different way. Politics is war, without bullets and shells -- usually.
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