Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shinseki Appointed as Sec'y of Veterans Affairs

Former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki will be appointed as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The announcement will come during an interview Tom Brokaw conducted with President-elect Obama which will air Sunday morning on Meet the Press.

Shinseki is best known for his testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee prior to the commencement of the War in Iraq in February 2003. When asked how many troops would be required for a post-war Iraq, General Shinseki said "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers." Shinseki was publicly rebuked by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz who said Shinseki's estimates were "far off the mark."

Well, we know in hindsight that Shinseki was correct. If Shinseki's estimates had been followed the surge would not have been necessary. Of course, there's a world of difference between arguing that we should have had more troops in Iraq than no troops there at all.

Some say Shinseki's comments cost him his job. It was certainly true that Shinseki and Rumsfeld didn't see eye to eye. But Shinseki had long been scheduled to retire when he testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Still, his appointment could be viewed as a poke in the eye of the Bush Administration.

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