Sunday, December 07, 2008

Best wishes for General Shinseki

President-elect Obama has appointed retired General Eric Shinseki to head up Veterans Affairs. As I said of the Grand Tufti's "the process has not yet begun," "Oh, snap!"

This is a great slap in the face to the Donald Rumsfelds and Paul Wolfowitzes of this world.

It is also a good choice.

If General Shinseki had been heeded back when, hundreds of thousands of lives may have been saved.

Juan Cole has a great post up today about what went down between Shinseki, who spoke the obvious truth, and Rumsfeld and Company who tried to ignore and/or mask reality.

A portion:
Note that Shinseki was aware of how big Iraq is (168,753 square miles or about the size of California); he was aware that there would be "ethnic tensions" after the fall of the Baath; and he cared about preventing looting ("safe and secure environment") and about people having food and potable water. Some of the military duties he mentioned are required of occupying militaries by international law. Rumsfeld either did not know or did not care about any of these considerations.

Tim Russert later suggested that Shinseki was talking about 200,000 troops, the number in theater in February when he spoke. But I do know English, and "several hundred thousand" does not mean "two hundred thousand."

Shinseki was retired in summer of 2003. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz pointedly did not attend his retirement ceremony.

He wrote an 8 page letter to Rumsfeld that has never been published, explaining to him that the military is made up of people, not high concept buzz words.

You can catch it all here.

My very best wishes to this honorable man who was willing to speak inconvenient truths back during the rush to war. And my hopes and prayers that all our vets will be better taken care of than they have been of late.
--the BB

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