"I have always that there ought to be some kind of mandatory national service, not necessarily in the military but to show everybody that freedom isn't free, that everybody has an obligation to the nation as a community."
"Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged."Robert M. Gates on Ronald Reagan
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."Robert M. Gates on Nelson Mandela
"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom."Robert M. Gates on Dwight D. Eisenhower
"I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."Robert M. Gates on Robert A. Heinlein
"Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err."Robert M. Gates on Mahatma Gandhi
"If there's ever an example that military power alone cannot be successful in Afghanistan, I think it was the Soviet experience."
"Health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive."
"When I was the director of Central Intelligence in the early '90s, I tried to get the Air Force to partner with us in building drones. And they didn't want to, because they had no pilots."
"There is no international problem that can be addressed or solved without the engagement and leadership of the United States and everybody in the world knows that, its just fact of life. So sometimes I think we could conduct ourselves with a little more humility."
"Well, I've ruffled a few feathers at all the institutions I've led. But I think that's part of leadership."