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Thread: Gen. Shinseki tagged to be new Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  1. #1

    Gen. Shinseki tagged to be new Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    From Candy Crowley
    CNN Senior Political Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama will nominate retired Gen. Eric Shinseki to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, two Democratic sources said Saturday.


    Gen. Eric Shinseki retired as Army chief of staff in June 2003.

    Obama was expected to make the formal announcement Sunday -- Pearl Harbor Day -- at a news conference in Chicago. Veterans groups appeared to support the selection.
    "I am excited. I don't know him personally but this is a huge move," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

    For years, Shinseki, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, has been the patron saint of Pentagon critics who say the former Army chief's sage advice was ignored in 2003, resulting in too few U.S. troops being sent to Iraq after the invasion.

    Shinseki testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2003 that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers would be required" to pacify the country. The comment infuriated some Bush administration officials, and he retired just a few months later.
    Shinseki has never spoken publicly about his testimony, which has often been cited by critics as evidence that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ignored the advice of one of his key generals.

    But as Army chief of staff, Shinseki was not in the chain of command, and played no direct role in drawing up the war plans.

    Pentagon sources say that, in fact, Shinseki never advocated higher troop levels for Iraq, in part because it was not his job to do so. And sources say that just before the invasion, when asked by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers if he agreed with the war plans, Shinseki voiced no objections.

    Still, Rieckhoff said, "Shinseki is a guy who had a career putting patriotism above politics. He is a wounded veteran so he understands the plight of veterans."

    He said Shinseki would have to make key connections with the veterans community, adding, "This is a big name and it shows that he (Obama) is not going to treat the Veterans Affairs secretary as a low priority."
    John Rowan, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, called the reported pick an "interesting choice."

    "I am satisfied with it," Rowan told CNN on Saturday, adding that the choice seems to be in the Obama transition team's pattern of "bringing in strong personalities into all the positions who aren't going to 'yes' him to death."

    "When Shinseki had his disagreements with the administration, he wasn't afraid to speak up," Rowan said.

    Veterans for Common Sense also weighed in, but without specifically naming Shinseki.

    "We are highly confident that whomever is nominated will have the leadership experience needed to reform VA and implement President-elect Obama's agenda," Executive Director Paul Sullivan said. "We believe whomever is nominated will also need many experts in the fields of healthcare and disability benefits who can quickly identify VA's many challenges and then implement responsible solutions that take into consideration veterans' needs and concerns."

    Like Obama, Shinseki was born in Hawaii. He was the first Asian-American to reach the top spot in the U.S. Army.

    When a gallery to honor Shinseki was opened at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii in 2006, Shinseki was humble while addressing the audience.
    "I asked my Grandma Shinseki what I should say before I came here," he said at the time. "She told me, 'tell them you come from a good family ... and tell them you're a good American soldier.' "

    Before he took over the Army's top post in November 1998, Shinseki spent his career with U.S. armored forces. He served two combat tours in Vietnam and commanded the Army's 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He also served as commander of Army forces in Europe and as chief of NATO's SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.


    CNN's Adam Levine contributed to this report

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Not a bad pick but a Sargeant Major would be nice for a change.. Anyone know how how he was injured?
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  3. #3
    He retired because of political reasons from the article above. I don't believe he has any disability. It is actually pretty rare for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to be former flag officer.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    He retired because of political reasons from the article above. I don't believe he has any disability. It is actually pretty rare for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to be former flag officer.

    (KLD)
    He has two Purple Heart awards---for one he lost part of a foot stepping on a land mine in 'Nam. He should serve us well as VA Secretary...he's an honest, no-nonsense guy who cares about vets and service members.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veteran Advisor View Post
    He has two Purple Heart awards---for one he lost part of a foot stepping on a land mine in 'Nam. He should serve us well as VA Secretary...he's an honest, no-nonsense guy who cares about vets and service members.
    We're going to need him coming up then. Too many in Congress seem to believe each time a WW2 vet dies they can slash more off the VA budget.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  6. #6
    Political baggage and the black beret thing aside, he seems like a good pick. I hope they give him the ammo he needs to make an impact.

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